Photos: Jeremy Lavender, Ryan Cortes
What was your first day on a board like?
It was a Struggle! I took my first lesson with my old man and almost quit when he beat me to the top of the rope tow. I learned the kiddy fundamentals and was consistent for about 40-feet up the platter pull. My frustration was about at its peak. I was about to throw in the towel when my dad caught a nice hard heal side edge, which served him up an nasty slammer–According to him he cracked a rib. Being a snotty young adolescent at the time, that was the helpful push I needed to persevere through those crucial first few lessons, thinking to myself, "at least I didn't break anything." Little did I know, this sport was going to take over my heart and soul. inevitably, i've broken a lot more than a few ribs over all my years on a board.
Perfect AK shred day?
that's easy! Here we go, take notes: Super secret special spot in Haines AK, proper sled-to-bros ratio, solid\lapable cat road to the top (3,500-ish vert), thigh-deep blower at the summit, solid stable snow pack, knee-deep, slightly sun-affected snow in the lower angle, sun pops in the morning and turns to alpenglow at night.
Here's to party mountain! may we keep living the dream, spring after spring long after we all wake up.
All time favorite video part?
Matt Hammer's Ender in "White Balance." Or maybe Eero Ettala's Ender in "Follow Me Around."
Biggest pet peeve in snowboarding?
The excuse "That's not what Alaska boys do" and fogging goggles.
What’s great about snowboarding right now?
Well, it's kind of strange to think of it this way, but the Struggle of snowboarding right now has really pushed those who still want to partake to exercise some resourcefulness. ESPECIALLY IN PLACES LIKE JUNEAU. Whether it be traveling to places with snow, buying touring gear or picking up a snowmobile, The people who want it will still go find it, despite the highs and lows of snow pack or the snow industry, the shredders will find a way.
The last few years have showed me how lucky I am to have something that drives me like snowboarding. So, I guess, the perseverance it takes nowadays to continue to chase the dream is a great thing. I feel like the struggle has not only made myself and likeminded people stronger, but it's made every slash, stomp and slam that much sweeter.
Who do you think is the best rider in snowboarding, past or present?
Ohh Pshhh, it would be easy to just name drop some epic pro who I've always looked up to or idolized, but that's all preference-based. not to mention I haven't really had time lately to catch up on the current killers. Let's just say the guy or gal who is having the most fun, as well as pushing him or herself the hardest.
What are your goals for this season?
I really wanna play a little catch up with some of our park rat hoodlums and set down some landing gear on a nice dub10 in focus and well lit, going whichever direction the jump prefers. Perhaps more than that, I would like to do a heli-drop on a run called "Leg Burner 5000" with a trustworthy buddy, then use sleds to navigate back home. Oh yeah! and I want to kick flip my shark!