interview by Jeff Schmuck
photos by Josh Anderson
We’re sitting here in Vegas at the SIA tradeshow in the Joystick booth with Mr. Anthony Boronowski. You’ve been here the last couple of years kind of incognito with your poles in the back of the Armada booth, and this the first time you’ve had your own booth right?
Yeah, first time.
What year is this for Joystick now?
So how’s the overall vibe been at the show?
Well definitely when you have your own booth it brings a lot more attention to your brand and the reality of the business is you have to sell the product to shops. And when they have the visual recognition of a brand at the show with their own booth it really helps a lot. They see that you’re at the show and that you’re spending money to be here and on a booth and it makes you more of a player in the game, and it’s not a side brand or something. Especially with the way Joystick’s been, because a lot of the shops have started to carry it and now they can see that it’s growing.
When you started this out, did you think it would eventually come to this, with a lot of shops carrying it and you sitting here selling it? Has it met your expectations?
To be honest when I started I didn’t really have any expectations. There was no preconceived notion of what it should be or will be. There was no business plan or some big constructive thing, it was just something that I wanted to do. But it’s grown into this and that’s been a big step so I suppose my expectations have changed.
So a couple of big things are happening with Joystick this year…
Yeah, the gloves. We’ve been working on them since June and I put in a lot of time to make them good and to really develop them right and release a product that I’m really proud of that I can use as a rider. It’s really important for me to have product that I can stand behind and use every day and be comfortable using.
There seems to be this sudden influx of companies making gloves with Empire and Armada’s making gloves now, and I know you’ve been working on these for quite a while. Does it kind of a bum you out that other people are doing it?
No, because that’s the way it works. There’s always going to competition, and whether it’s competition from Scott or Da Kine or Burton or Armada or Empire, it’s all just part of the game. All I can worry about it my program and what I’m doing for my company.
How about you talk about the gloves for a bit and what’s going on with them.
Well basically with my glove line I just wanted make something simple and something that looks good and functions well at the same time. I also wanted to make something that’s affordable and at the same time has an identity, so you’re not just buying some generic brand glove because you got it for cheap. You can spend the same amount of money and have something that you’re proud to wear.
So this price points are relatively reasonable?
Yeah the pricing is bang on. What you’ll spend on a Joystick glove vs a generic company is going to be the same or less.
And in addition to the gloves there’s another big announcement…
Yeah, the Joystick team is going to do a road trip movie this spring. We’re going to release it in webisodes and I’m not sure at this point but I’m hoping it’s going to end up being a 12-part series. We’re going to do a road trip from Vancouver and head south and just see where we end up and document the trip.
Who’s in it?
It all depends on scheduling because everyone’s super busy but right now it’s Max Hill, Blake Nyman, myself, a couple of other non-Joystick riders are going to come, and I’m sure we’re going to meet up with Bentchetler. To be honest I’m not totally sure who’s all going to come but that’s sort of the nature of it, it’s just going to be a road trip where we see what happens, and we’re just going to try to create something different and fun.
What’s it going to be called?
So what’s it like sitting here as a business man running a company while still maintaining a successful career as an athlete?
It’s tough. It doesn’t necessarily taking away from my ability to ski but it definitely puts more on my plate and changes things for me.
Do you enjoy it?
I really do. I love doing brand development like with the gloves. It was one of the funnest things I’ve done all year. Like with everything there’s going to be frustration and things that you’re stoked on but when I look at the gloves now I’m just really proud that Joystick made them and I really stand behind them, and that’s the really satisfying and cool part of the development process.
What else are you up this year ski-wise? Obviously you’ve got your movie on the go but who else are you shooting with? TGR?
No I’m actually shooting with MSP full-time. I’m going to spend the whole winter filming with them and I’ve been sledding a bunch with Abma and Chris Ruebens.
Nice. So a lot of people might not be aware of this, but you recently got dropped by Oakley for apparel right?
Yeah, for outerwear but I’m still on their eyewear.
That’a bit of a shocker.
Yeah, it was. It’s interesting because I thought I had a pretty good year. I got a bunch of editorial coverage and I’m not going to claim that I had huge segments in the movies but I feel I definitely had a presence in both movies and thought I had some pretty decent shots. So to get dropped by a long-time sponsor, eight years, it always catches you off guard.
So what are you doing now for outerwear?
Right now I don’t have a sponsor, I’m just riding. I’m riding on White Out stuff and some stuff from Holden and a down jacket that Armada is making. I’m just sort of riding whatever I’m into.
Will this turn of events possibly open up the door to Joystick making outerwear in the future?
I’m not really going to speculate on that right now.
So what’s been on your mind lately with how things are going in skiing overall?
Overall I think skiing is fine. It seems like a lot of people are getting all worked up lately over backcountry vs competition and the gangster thing or whatever, but I think skiing is just great. It’s diverse now and there’s lots of people doing lots of different things and I think everything that’s happening is natural And I think that’s cool because it’s going to create room in the industry for people who want to do different things and there’ll be room for people to do different things. Three of four years ago you had to compete otherwise there was no place for you but now there’s a lot more recognition for people who are doing different types of riding and different projects. It allows for more expression rather than just doing a switch 1260. I think the change that’s happening now is going to be really cool for the future of skiing because there’s going to be so many different and creative people now. There’s going to be room for the guys like Blake and the guys like Max and the guys like Paco. Now there’s going to be avenues for these guys as opposed to them thinking they have to compete, and I just don’t think you can look at what’s happening right now as a negative in any way.
Speaking of the future, how many years do you think you’ve got left as athlete?
You know, honestly I don’t know. I just want to ski as long as I feel like I can continue to push skiing in the direction that I like and in the venue that I’m doing. As long as I feel like I’m riding in my A-game I’m going to keep riding. Especially this year because I feel like I’m riding better than I ever have. To be honest, getting dropped by Oakley outerwear really lit under a fire under my ass and I’ve been busting my ass every day to make it happen and just show what I can do.
After you’re done is it your goal to just be running Joystick for the rest of your life?
I don’t know. Ideally I’d love to work for myself and to do that, as long as the company is being successful and I’m enjoying doing it.