interview by Jeff Schmuck
photos by CKO
So you spent last winter filming with Poorboyz. How’d that come about?
I was hanging out in Breckenridge right before New Years and Spriggs called me up and said that there was a blizzard that was about to hit Denver and the PBP crew wanted to come film some urbans in the city but none of them knew where to go. They said I could tag along if I showed them some rails and in return I could hit whatever was setup. It was supposed to be Spriggs, Durtschi, and Kyler and I, with Pete Alport filming, but Kyler and Durtschi got delayed somewhere, so it ended up being just Spriggs and I for the first two days. We hit rails for three or four days around Denver and I ended up getting some shots and then got invited to the superpark in Schweitzer later on in the year. Ya, so a big thank you goes out to Spriggs, haha!
You’re starting to get a lot more play in this whole crazy ski world of ours lately. How are things treating you lately?
Very well. I am really stoked for this upcoming season. I resigned with almost all of my sponsors from last year and am really stoked on that front. Plus I am getting to do more sweet stuff like this interview, so I must be doing something right.
After you left Line for Salomon, their budget was pretty tight at the time and you didn’t end up getting the best deal. So you essentially took what you got and ran with it, had a killer season and in the end getting many a pictures published and of course your segment in Yeah Dude. Was accomplishing all of that a frustrating process without a ton of support?
I had enough support to get the job done, which is what matters. Even now, looking back, I don’t have any regret on my decision to switch. I thought I could get a better deal at Salomon at the beginning, but that turned out to not be the case. I knew it would eventually come around if I kept at it and I was fine with that. Plus, if I hadn’t had made that switch I probably would not have been able to film with Poorboyz and as it turned out, that helped me way more than any little financial support from a company could have done for me.
Based on that, what would you say to the kids out there that seem to think that a lot of things just get handed to pros now-a-days?
Although there is an ever-increasing amount of money in the ski industry, the way that money is being divided is becoming more and more imbalanced. The top 5% of the pros are making 90% of the money, and it’s really hard as an up-and-coming pro to make ends meet in the beginning of your career. Pros now a days have to really make an effort to have things come to them, they don’t just happen on their own. Also because the sport is growing so fast, companies realize that there are many more options for people to sponsor, so being personable and a good ambassador to not only your sponsor but your sport is just as, if not more important than being the best skier in your local park.
What’s your sponsor situation now, after all your hard work?
I didn’t really switch anything up this year, which I am stoked about. I am still riding the Salomon skis, bindings and booties, still looking through Scott’s as well as using their push sticks. Level gloves are still keeping my hands warm while I ski at Aspen and then go kick it at Jibij after. All of which is done while wearing various beanies by EC Headwear. I am looking for a closing sponsor right now, but it’s so late, so I don’t know what will happen.
You won the overall Young Gun Open title a few years ago and then Siver Cartel, the title sponsor of the event, went under so-to-speak. Describe how that affected you.
That definitely sucked. I had so much fun that year doing that competition and then everything that was set up for us by winning was gone. However, I feel so much worse for Mike Nick, when I went back east for the Stratton finals I got to stay and travel around with him. He is one of the coolest guys in the industry and had so many ridiculously sweet plans for Siver, and it’s so lame that it got taken away from him. I definitely think that if Siver was still around today, all of the young guns would be more well known and Siver would have taken dope ski clothing to a whole new level, but there isn’t much anybody can do about it now. RIP Siver Cartel.
Give us your thoughts on the 36 hours of Keystone event you attended last week.
Looking back on it now, it was such a fun event. For the first time in the last three years it wasn’t snowing and cold which made skiing at 4am so much better. Then after we got tired, we somehow managed to squeeze 13 people into a single bed hotel room which was ridiculous. But ya, I had a really fun time and it was definitely the best 36 hours event I have been to yet.
I hear you’re hanging your hat in those parts right now. What’s your living situation?
I have another week and a half left of school and then I am moving up to the Breck area. The plan right now is to get a house with Andrew Hathaway, Josh Bishop and my friend Teddy, we are looking really hard right now, but have not come upon anything, so if anybody knows any sweet places for cheap rent, hit me up!
And what’s in store for you this winter?
This winter is going to be so much fun, I cant wait. My plan is to film as much as I can with Poorboyz and try and make some sort of a segment, also I will be at all the major comps I can get to. I am stoked on this year. I am going around and doing a lot of the Salomon Jib Academies, which will be fun, I have never skied in North Carolina or the Midwest. Plus, my good friend Andrew Wickes started Tricktapes.com late last year and this year we are planning to make a lot of dope tapes. I am definitely stoked on having a busy and productive winter.
Let’s hear what you think are the best and worst things about our sport right now.
The best part is being covered head to toe in baggy, comfy clothes with tunes bumping, riding around amazing mountains with your best friends while doing tricks that are so much fun. The worst part would be injuries and hate.
You were a pretty active member on NS (and still are) who’s starting to become pretty successful in our sport. What advice can you give to all the kids frequenting the site who’d love nothing more than to follow in your footsteps?
I feel like NS is a powerful tool that can definitely be used to a young up-and-comer’s advantage, especially now that NS is getting huge. NS definitely helped me get my name out there a few years ago. If you are a talented kid from the Midwest or East where there are not a lot of chances to be seen, you can go out film with your friends, make an edit, put it on NS and if its good enough your name will get recognized, maybe even by somebody like Jon, and you could get an invite to the JOI or an event of that caliber, where you can literally start a pro career in one night. Lots of kids have done this, Cosco, Wallisch, Ahmet are a few and I guarantee there will be others in the upcoming years.
Lastly, the million-dollar question. As anyone who’s met you is aware, you’re pretty famous for your flowing mane of fire engine red hair. Because of that, I’m sure there’s a ton of ladies out there that’d like to know if the carpet matches the drapes?
Hahaha, nope I dyed em purple!