Interview & photos by Jeff Schmuck

So summer camp has wrapped up and you spent the summer coaching up at Momentum. What year coaching was this for you?

This was my second year coaching but I helped out a bit the year before that.

photo: Jeff Schmuck

How rewarding is it for you to be a coach?

Quite a bit. It's nice to see the kids improve and when they're super stoked I'm super stoked. It's probably the best job in the world actually because it's a laid back atmosphere and everyone all around you is having a great time, so it's impossible not to enjoy yourself.

photo: Jeff Schmuck

How'd things go this summer?

Really well. The diggers did a great job on the lane this year. The old High North lane was the best we've had it, and we had tons of sunshine and happy campers, so all in all it was a great summer.

photo: Jeff Schmuck

And how about your season? You had a pretty damn good one.

Yeah it was a fun year. I kind of diversified a bit this year and did some slopestyle contests which was nice because I was starting to get a little sick of just skiing pipe. So that went okay, I got to finals in Dew Tour a couple of times and I've been working on some new tricks this summer so hopefully I can be a contender in all the disciplines next year.

photo: Dan Brown

Yeah just like Peter was telling me you're hoping to do some big air contests as well this winter.

Yeah I really want to get into some of them, particularly the early season ones so I can ski through the fall. It's kind of tricky to get into them when you don't have results though, so you have to convince people that you're the man. (laughs)

photo: Jeff Schmuck

On the subject of the pipe, you've been a pretty big mainstay on the World Cup circuit over the last few years and it's just come out that they're not going to have one this winter because they just want to focus on the Olympic-only events. Are you disappointed by that?

It's a little disappointing for sure because I think it's a step in the wrong direction. Because if we want to get into the Olympics we have to have a World Cup circuit, and we had it, so why take it away? Especially if they're running the snowboard events, because the pipe is already there and the events are pretty much all the same. But at this point in time from what I've heard it's looking really good for it to happen in 2014, but it'd still be nice to have World Cups this year because more events means more opportunities for more people and it makes it more consistent. But on the flip side, one good thing about there being no World Cups for me means I can film more.

photo: John Vandervalk

And who do you plan on filming with next year?

Level 1, for sure. I did their spring shoot this year like I did last year. But now that I'll have more time it sounds like Berman is going to let me come on some more trips next year.

If the Olympics does happen in 2014 will you still go for it, or will you be an old man by then? (laughs)

(laughs) Yeah, an old man with a walker. Hopefully they'll let me bring in the pipe (laughs). But seriously, I'll be there.

photo: Jeff Schmuck

What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

I'm going to head down to San Francisco for a little vacation for a few days and then come home and do some wakeboarding on the lake, and then it's off to New Zealand for three weeks or so.

Speaking of home, you just bought a pretty swanky house with the man himself, your coach Trennon Paynter.

Yeah it's a nice little four-bedroom in Squamish and it's pimp. I love it.

Tell all the ladies reading this about the hot tub.

So we've got two decks off the back, one that's huge and has a barbeque on it, and then we've got a secondary deck off of which you take these stairs up to the top of a rock bluff, which is basically a mountain, and then on the top of it there's another little deck with a glass railing and a hot tub that has a great view of the mountains. So we've got a nice little elevated love grotto as I like to call it. (laughs)

photo: John Vandervalk

Nice. Moving onto something a little more serious, as we all sadly know now, Tanner unfortunately isn't going to be able to ski next year. And given that he's such a dominant force on the pipe circuit, without him there next year it's inevitably going to open up some opportunities for people to get on top of the podium. Is that something you've thought of?

Well it sucks to see Tanner get hurt, and I'd definitely rather see him out there, because I for one would prefer to beat him straight up. It's going to be a huge bummer not having him around, because he's always the nicest, happiest and most motivating guy out there. So I'm not going to look at it as an opportunity for me, because I'm just going to do what I want to do and hopefully that will be enough to win with or without him there.

photo: Trennon Paynter

It seems like a lot of kids out there are really focused on slopestyle right now, but I think it's fair to say that when halfpipe skiing gets into the Olympics a good portion of them may shift their focus to pipe, because the opportunity to ski in the Olympics will be a big allure to a lot of people. So that said, being the amazing pipe skier you are, what advice would you give to kids who are looking to get into pipe or who are already there and are trying to climb the ladder?

Practice as much as you can. And not just in pipe, in all aspects of skiing, because to be a good pipe skier you need to be a good skier. You need to be able to handle your edges and everything technical that you can do on your skis is going to help you become better at pipe. So do everything, jumps, rails, big mountain, powder. Be as well rounded as you can, because trust me, it will help.

photo: John Vandervalk

Any last things you'd like to say to everyone out there?

Big shout-out to my parents, because they're awesome, and to all my sponsors, and to Tanner. Get well soon buddy. We all want to see you back out there.