The Snowboard Project: Episode 1: About The Snowboard Project (2024)

Aug 23, 2018

The Snowboard Project: Episode 1: About The Snowboard Project (1) EPISODE 1: About The SnowboardProject

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:Man like Mark Sullivan warrior self, staytuned for the chilling episode.

:A positive mental attitude and clearly allobstacles which stand between you and your image your purpose inlife.

This is the Snowboard Project featuring Mark Sullivan and the Beav.The Snowboard Project. The Snowboard Project.

:Welcome to the snowboard project. MARKSULLIVAN I'm the Beav and this is the new snowboarding podcaststhat we're putting together.

:It's pretty exciting. This is this is shownumber one kind of talk to me what is The Snowboard Project?

:Well The Snowboard Project is is a littlebit of a different take than traditional media to snowboarding andthe goal is basically self-improvement through snowboarding likethe snowboard has been my vehicle to travel the world to meetdriven fascinating people and to have all these crazy lifeexperiences and it wasn't just the tricks that I was doing it wasthrough the people I met and the places I got to visit. And so youknow to me the some of the more fascinating stories in the sportare with the pro riders but with the people who've dedicated apiece of themselves to the sport of snowboarding so those could beyou know anything from the pro riders but also people who weresales reps people who are graphic designers people who who werethere for the beginning of the sport right and were part of thegenesis of snowboarding and so those are the stories that I findinteresting and I want to cover with the snowboard project now.

:There are a few other podcasts out there.There are some action sports podcast from snowboard podcasts.What's really going to set us apart what's really going to be thedifference.

:Well hopefully you know I can drill downinto some real useful advice that these people have some of thelessons they've learned some of the mistakes they made and howthey've learned from them and and really you know maybe take apiece of that to your own life beyond snowboarding.

:So who are some of the people that we'regoing to be kind of like covering through this through this seasonof the summer project.

:Well there's all sorts of people I meanI've I've talked to some of the legends like Mike Chantry and BobKlein guys like Dave Seoane guys like Mike Basich and Ricky Bowerthe coach or the halfpipe team for the United States. So all sortsof different people Pat Bridges Aaron Draplin. I mean the list goeson and on.

:Let me ask you this personally what do youhope to kind of extract from these interviews that can not only beshared with your audience but do you feel like you might actuallybe gaining some some great advice just for your own self that youdidn't actually know about beforehand.

:Yeah you know the funny thing is I kind ofwalked into this thinking that I knew a lot about snowboarding youknow I was like I got this figured out just do a podcast I've beenan announcer and been involved with media. That's a natural fit.And what I realized is that like every single interview I'veactually learned something about the snowboarding by just listeningto different people's perspectives and how they approach the sportdifferently than I did.

:And so with every interview I actuallylearned something about the sport and it has driven me to want todo more and more and more podcasts. We're going to start out withthree shows a week. We're going to go to five shows a week in abouta month. You know right now I'm actually just building shows on theside doing interviews with different fascinating people. But I willstart with three shows a week and then go to five shows a weekbecause snowboarding is such a rich sport. There's so manydifferent characters and people involved with it. I think that itdeserves to have a different kind of in-depth media than just likehere the pros here the tricks or the edits. Right. And so this issupposed to give you something more to listen to.

:Yeah kind of talk me just a little bitabout that. Why. Why do you feel like there's a need for this kindof media in our current state of snowboarding.

:Well you know the media has kind of taken ashift recently with with social media kind of becoming a dominantform of as a media outlet. And so you know when you look at whatyou get from the media now it's been boiled down to a single imageor a single video clip and you really don't get those in-depthinterviews you don't get those in-depth stories and you don'treally you know have access to kind of the stories behind thestories and so that's really what I'd like to share.

:How do you feel like this is really good.It's like differentiate from kind of our current snowboard media Iguess.

:Well I'd say this is going to be acompletely different number one it's audio. So there's I meannormally like snowboarding is you know very visual in terms of themedia portrayal of the sport. And so that's videos that's pages andmagazines traditionally maybe not as much anymore but you know thisis definitely not a visual medium so I'll try to tell stories thathopefully paint a picture in your head. And the interesting thingis that like when you're listening to this you have to actually useyour mind to create kind of the image of your head of what washappening and so I think that's kind of a little bit different thanactually being kind of force fed visuals the entire time.

:Now there's kind of been this like I guessclassic structure on how like you know the media or magazines ormovies would make would make money. Just tell me just a little bitabout how you plan to fund something like that.

:Ok well this is pretty interesting and forthe first time ever in my career this is going to be an advertisingfree model. Maybe I'll accept advertising from your company I'm notsure but that's a different story right that's totally different.But note no endemic advertisers is going to be no Bourton ads it'sgoing to be no never summer ads. This is not to play favorites thisis actually just to tell the real truth behind snowboarding as Isee it. Right. And this is my own impression of the sport based onmy 30 years experience with it. So anyhow I'm using what's calledpatriae on and you go to patriae on dot com slash the snowboardproject and you can donate money to this podcast and so you knowyou can donate two dollars you can donate you know up to a hundreddollars to become an associate producer and have a monthly consultconsultation with with us and we'll tell you about you know if youwant to win a gold medal or where to go in January we'll talk toyou every month. You know about snowboarding or over the phone. Soanyhow there's different levels. Go to patriae on dot com slash thesnowboard project and donate because this is actually the firsttime ever in my experience that this is a media outlet that is notreliant on advertising and not beholden to those advertisers totell those stories so we can just tell the real truth.

:Don't forget to support advertising freesnowboarding media and possiblyslow boat projects.

:Let's just rewind just a little bit let'sgo let's go into kind of the history of you and media and why youknow why you feel like you're someone that it has the I guessability to tell these stories just tell me just a little about yourhistory of snowboarding.

:Ok well I started snowboarding when I was14 years old and I was like one of the fairly early adopters. Let'ssay I was on a ski vacation in Jackson Hole first time out west andI broke my skis and I was like do I Telemark or do I snowboard. AndI walked into a shop and there was Chris Pappas and he rented me aboard and got me set up and and gave me a lesson. And so literallyfrom that very first day though I was like This is what I want todo with my life and I've never looked back actually like you know32 33 years later it's like I've never actually looked back and soyou know roll that forward I was a sponsored athlete for a numberof years and trying to follow the stream of professionalsnowboarding and then I got my hands on a Transworld media kit whenI was like 18 living in Breckenridge and it was like you know threeor four thousand dollars in ad breakdown and I added up all the adsand a copy of Transworld and I was like they're bringing in like ahalf million dollars in a shoe.


:Yeah that was just the advertising they hadsubscribers and newsstand sales I mean they were bringing in a lotof money. I was like you know what. If they can bring in this kindof money and yet the story of what we were doing we were likejibbing and doing night. We had a little bit different style thanwas portrayed in the magazine. So I was like you know this voicemaybe has a place in snowboarding media and so I started a Xeenbased on working. I lived in a two bedroom apartment with 11 dudesand two pitbulls paid about seventy five dollars a month in rentfor a bed. It was like a hostel.

:And and.

:And so of like I gathered together myroommate's big brother had just come out Big Brother Magazine Issue1 had just come out and to maybe had just come out they werelooking at issue one though. And that was kind of the inspirationwas to do something like Big Brother. And and so you know myroommates were all kind of sponsored athletes and we kind ofgathered round I was like myself. And T.J. Liese and Chad Schnackyand a guy named I believe Joe W. was involved as well. And PatAbramson and so those were the guys kind of contributing to. Wealso had you know I also live with like Rowan Rogers and DaleRehberg and that whole crew. Nate Cole and those guys were on theroad though they were already kind of famous and we were trying.We're knocking on their door basically trying to become pro riders.And so we decide we're all pretty much led the charge. But like theidea was like let's tell the story of what's going on here withthese kids in Breckenridge. That is a little bit less glossy andthan the traditional media that was out there.

:Sure. Now so that was the start of PlayerMagazine Player Magazine magazine. Tell me. OK so you took that andhe took that idea and model and you went out to like what.

:Yes. We made like a thousand copies. Andyou know I sold ads I was like the ad sales guy as well as kind ofone of the editors of one of the four editors and and we came upabout I don't know. Four hundred dollars short. So we had to kickin a hundred bucks to get the thing printed and we brought to Esaia thousand copies of the magazine. And you know we had it on thecover of the first mag was Stephanie Seymour she had just been inPlayboy she was like the hottest girl in the world. Totally bucknaked on the cover just naked girl on the cover of the magazine.And so literally I distributed like 1000 magazines in four hoursand everywhere you looked at this trade show there were peoplereading the magazine and it was like a hit and people were like Manyou got to do more of this and so that kind of like gave me mystart in the media and gave me this direction. And so I made asecond copy a player and like that. The thing is though I didn'tknow anything about graphic design didn't know anything aboutprinting. All I knew about was snowboarding and my raw desire tokind of like tell our story from from our perspective which wasdifferent than what was happening in the traditional media. And sothat was kind of the birth of my career in media and that was like90 to maybe something like 92 93. Yeah.

:How was it. How was it walking into. IntoSIA I did you have like where you were you scared about the outcomeor were you like hey this is what I'm doing and I'm gonna kick assand you know I don't know if we really had you know I think it wasprobably more like how we're going to sneak in.

:Right. So it's more like worried about likehow we're going to get into SIA like guess snowboarder.

:Yeah you know and like I mean we werepretty raw I had sponsors at the time still and and so you knowfigured out we all figured our individual path and then broughtboxes of magazines or at backpacks of magazines and to starthanding them out. And and you know from the first reaction I meaneveryone just loved the cover. What's not to love about a nakedgirl on the cover of a magazine when you are 18. Right. And so. Soyeah immediately like people were like the immediate reaction fromthe first person who saw it was like wow that's that's somethingdifferent. You know and that was kind of you know an unintentionalsuccess I guess. I mean I mean the print quality the typoseverything with I look back on that and it was so bad from like ayou know from a professional perspective. But yet it had this rawmessage that was different than what was out there real cool.

:So you took that experience and you thenwent back to college you decided hey this is going to be my my lifepath. Talking about college talking about the start of Eastinfection and what that was all about.

:Ok well I made a second issue a player andI decided to go all color because it was always about improvement.Like just like snowboarding you know you want to get better andbetter and better so I was like OK how do you go from a black andwhite Color you make a color one so I made a color one printed onan offset press I remember you know printing and the ideadistribution models and shops for free. Get them out there printed10000 of them. And and I go to pick up the magazine and the guywho's the rep from the printer is like here's the magazine man.

:Looks like you guys are having a wild timeup there in the mountains and I was like yeah yeah we aretotally.

:And he's like so how do you do your colorcorrection anyway. And I was like What's color correction.

:Right because everything like every photois just like super dark. It was like literally flat bed scanned ofprints basically and photos that we took of screengrab the foreheadVCR and we like pause the the VCR and take photos of the TV screento do video grabs. We were pretty ghetto. Right we just figured outhow to make it happen.

:But that's when I realized that like OKthere's more to this than than just like making it happen. It's notjust about the idea it's about doing it as professionally as youcan. And so then I was like OK well I should probably go back tocollege and learn more about this you know. And I was already Ialready done a couple of semesters in the fall in the summer at UVMand so I went back and and switched my major from environmentalstudies to marketing business and I figured I'd learn the businessside of magazines and I could find the people who knew about colorcorrection and about graphic design and all the while I was likegraphic designing and doing all these jobs I did basically everyjob at some point for the magazine. And so then I had a friend PatBridges who I grew up competing with. And so I talked to him abouthey I you know I'm back here and going to college full time I'mgoing to finish this thing out and I'm going to start a Xeen hereto represent East Coast snowboarding and so he came up with thename yeast infection which captured the infectious spirit ofsnowboarding on the East Coast at the time.

:Sounds like it. Yeah. Oh man.

:And so you know but I liked it because itwas kind of like you know little bit outsider and really and likesnowboarder and Transworld at that time there was no coverage ofthese cause you might get like four or five photos a year of likesomeone on the East Coast snowboarding and yet here's this vibrantscene going on every weekend every day that we could go to themountain we were doing it and and so that's kind of the birth ofEast infection and then so you know my strategy with the firstissue the first one was 24 pages and it was like I wanted to put asmany people in that first issue as I could so I put like 130different riders in that first issue.

:Yeah the photos were small then it was likehey you're in the magazine hey you're in the magazine hey you're inthe magazine. So all the sponsored riders kind of got a littlepiece of that.

:And so that kind of snowballed for threeyears got better and better and better for three years and Ilearned a world about publishing and about you know about howmagazines were made and also just from you know a DIY perspectiveas well. There was no one kind of helping us do it. We got to thepoint where where we had a house that we rented for the staff andso that was like Pat Bridges and Evan Rose who's like now thecreative director. Burn this guy Chaka. Michael Gardzina he'll beone of my interviews as well. And so all these guys all ended upsticking with snowboarding or skateboarding and like George CavalLAwas my first followed Twitter. He's at 686 today. And Herb Georgewith my ad sales guy and and he's OSiris shoes he like runs thoseCyrus. And so I see how all these people had just had this genuinepassion. It was our way of like going to college and learning butalso doing what we loved. And you know and really that's what thispodcast is about is like taking something you love and then pouringsomething of yourself into it. And so that's what these storiesreally in this podcast are about people who can can dedicatethemselves and their passion their time and their work towardstheir passion. So they get a little bit maybe more satisfaction outdoing something you love share.

:So you were able to snowball this thing tothe point where you guys had enough capital to go out and rent torent a space where you actually did this help put you throughcollege.

:No I mean basically they paid the rent andwe had a party every Tuesday night like a keg party every Tuesdaynight and there are some wild stories from those parties but so thekeg party funded like the magazine know the Keg Party is fundeditself. But we just wanted to have a good time we were snowboarderswe were still competing we were all kind of want to be sponsoredriders at the time but also had the drive to do something more withsnowboarding than just ride. And so it was just quite an adventureyou know to have a house and all your friends and just to be ableto dedicate yourself and your spare time and that's kind of when Istarted working these crazy hours shows going to school and gettingA's and B's in school full time and also making a magazine fulltime. And I was doing the sales I was doing the graphic design. Iwas writing a little bit of the stories. Bridges was really thewriter. It came naturally to him it did not come naturally to me atthat time. And so really and you know it was just this like trialby fire.

:So we would make mistakes we would make bigmistakes you know and then we learn from those mistakes and triednot to make them again. Right. And so then you know after Igraduated college it was kind of like OK I think I have done theEast Coast justice as far as like I've made three years ofmagazines Time to go out west because I knew that like myexperiences in Colorado that it's like softer snow bigger mountainsfor a variety of reasons I wanted to go out west. So I actually hadlike job offers from both snowboarder and from Transworld andsnowboarder was like Do you want to be in sales or do you want tobe an editorial. And I was like well what's the difference. Andthey were like well the sales people make a lot more money and theeditorial people get to travel everywhere. And I was like I'll bean editor. And so that's how I kind of landed in California. Youknow as associate editor you know packed up the the Nissan pickuptruck and dragged the U-Haul trailer across the country and showedup there just totally green.

:Now to me this kind of sounds a littlecrazy like you're like 24 25 26 right around there. Yeah kind ofjust keeps coming out of school. How was it that snowboarder andTrans World and all these magazines out West had this kind of beadon you basically and said look we want Mark Sullivan to come outhere. We want him to come.

:Well I mean the magazine that we are makewe were going to the trade show. Bridges and I would go to thetrade show and try to sell ads to potential advertisers.

:And you know we did print you know 10000copies of each issue so they were getting out there people saw andwe sent them to snowboard shops. We had a handful of subscribersyou know. And so it was kind of a known quantity. And I think thatmaybe they recognized the fact the desire to do this you know to bea part of this industry and to you know just be a part ofsnowboarding at a bigger level and so you know I remember it waskind of heartbreaking that like when I got out there like like onmy first day of work my boss was like Hey man you can't besponsored anymore that's a conflict of interest so I just drop allmy sponsors and I was like Oh man that's this is going to help mysponsorship opportunities and now I can become a pro somehow.

:Like I still had that dream kind of in theback of my head that I'd be a pro but it made me like really cometo that decision like no you're going to be working in the industryand not a writer right. Not that I ever gave up on writing orprogression and writing but like that that was going to be mypath.

:Basically from then on.

:Talk to me about day one. You walked inthere. Were you scared or did you walk in there with all theconfidence in the world that you were just going to change thismagazine.

:I was scared sh*tless. I mean this is likelet me paint a picture for you.

:This is like an old airplane hangar dividedup into cubicles with a few offices. It's the home of Surfermagazine which is like just a legendary publication that started in1964 basically to define surf culture. And there were like allthese old surfboards around and really was like a you know likewhere the culture of surfing live while snowboarding was just likea stepchild basically to Surfer magazine everything was a stepchildthe Surfer magazine. And so you know I got in there and you knowthe guys from Surfer magazine were really confident and I was a guywho just literally landed in California the week before. Couple ofdays before and was just out of my element in every sense of theword. But I was just like you know I'm just going to try to docollege try and give it my all. And so that's what I did and like.And I was an editor and I never found writing easy but I was likeI'll do it so like you know I was like this guy who would likewrite stories like four and five times from scratch I'd write atonce and then like rip it up and like you know write it fromscratch again and just do that over and over and over again untilthe point came seven or eight years later when I could actuallyjust pick up a pen or typewriter or whatever keyboard and write youknow. But it was hard fought really to do that but I knew that myvoice was legitimate as far as like I was a snowboarder and I wasone of the only people who defined them. I was the only person todefine themself as a snowboarder. Like at that time like that's whoI was I was a snowboarder just like the surfers that Surfermagazine they were surfers and then they got into media as abyproduct of that snow.

:So snow when it was kind of being run bypeople that snowboarding but not necessarily snowboarders.

:Yeah I mean they were competent. Theysnowboarded for sure. But it's like they didn't grow up likedefining themselves as snowboarders and so they you know. Good jobgreat people. But it's like they didn't just they didn't live anddie by snow. To me snowboarding mattered more than magazines right.For them it was like hey I got this great job being you knowworking at a magazine or whatever. And so you know and they weregreat people they did a good job they tried to tell these authenticstories of the pros and the people who were out there doing it.

:But it was like I came from this otherplace which was just like I define myself by this and if I do agood job it's a byproduct of that of that determination.

:Now you came in as an associate editorbasically how you kind of work your way up and how did you get tothe point where you were like You know I guess calling the shotssteering the ship.

:Well it's funny. You know I almost it wasalmost a really short term gig. I started at 24 grand a year whichis actually like so my 24 grand and like what ninety three this islike 97 when I was seven 97 I started a snowboarder. And so Neal mysix month review came and I was like Man this is like a dream job Iget to work with people I like could just focus on snowboarding andI kind of kind of carte blanche as far as like just going and youknow being a snowboarder I can go to all these different coolplaces I've always dreamed about going and. And so I go in for mysix month review and my boss is like OK you've done an awesome job.You know we want to promote you to senior editor and I'm likepatting myself on the back like I've made it right. And so then itcomes time to negotiate the salary that he offered me 26 grand.Like a two thousand dollar a year raise to take that new job titleI was like look here's all my bills I actually add them up ahead oftime and and actually it cost me 27 five to live here inCalifornia. It's just that cheap the rent isn't cheap.

:You know whatever. And he was like you knowhey look you can take this or leave it. There's a hundred peoplewaiting for this position. And so I literally I took a coupleminutes you know to think about it but finally I was like OK OKI'll do it I'll stay on you know and basically I had to call myparents to ask them to pay for my car insurance you know because Icouldn't afford car insurance. Sure. You know and so and so youknow and that kind of gave me the mettle to like to be like OK I'mhere for snowboarding this isn't about the money. This isn't aboutyou know about you know rising to the top or whatever this is aboutthe sport of snowboarding and doing a good job for it. So then thedot com boom came and. And so they're all of a sudden was like youknow a land rush for people who knew media. And so I was one ofthose people so we're like a lot of people and so actually thebosses at snowboarder ended up going and starting their own kind ofnew media company that was Internet. And I don't know whatever theyhad like a bunch of different facets to and they tried to get meyou know to go with them and I was like well wait a minute I'm thelast man standing here.

:That makes me by default I hope anyway theboss and so sure enough I stayed. Everyone else left and I had thisLeicht negotiation which was like based on my prior experience withnegotiation and wasn't going to get run over. Sure. And I becamethe editor in chief of snowboarder magazine at that point andreally had completely staffed the whole magazine. We didn't have anart director we didn't have a photo editor we didn't have amanaging editor. We didn't have any of the people that we had torely on. So really it was like I got to redefine the magazine. Atthat point and that's when Bridges kind of came out I tapped him onthe shoulder you know and he came out as a senior editor and andthen I hired Jeff Baker and then took a while but I found Aarongrappling because I really had this passion for design and beingauthentic to design and that into working out. In fact funny storyabout that is I actually put my job on the line to hire AaronDraplin right.

:It's like his first job he was in collegeand he was just about to graduate from MCAD in Minneapolis which islike a great design school. But you know the head sales guypublisher guy was like guy you know there's just no way that a guyfrom college can handle. So anyhow I'm just like look back and youcan fire me if this doesn't work because I was also driven like Iwas I saw like a piece of me in him which was like he was driven tosnowboard. He was driven to great design and that's something Ididn't have the great design or the background design but I knewthat he wouldn't let let us down you know because he lovessnowboarding enough where it's like he didn't owe it for the job heowed it for the sport and man that really that first year it kindof I would say kind of redefined magazines as far as like the lookthe feel the content all of it because we just had all the suddenwe went from having people who snowboarded to being exclusivelypeople who are snowboarders running the magazine. And I think thatwas like the first time that that really had happened as far as Iknow I could be wrong but as far as I know that was really like thefirst time that had happened and like within a couple months likewe were being copied by every other publication. Most notablyTransworld but it's like we made waves. You know we had a good timedoing it too by the way we got the snowboard all over theplace.

:Yeah really quickly just rewind a littlebit. Drapin when he has just just talk a little bit about who he isand how his what his influence has been one of those guys behindthe scenes that we wouldn't normally hear about but his influencehas been pretty huge I guess in snowboarding.

:I would say because you know snowboardingmedia and snowboarding in general such a visual thing that being agreat graphic designer. I mean Draplin could like literally renderdrawings like he could sit here and draw a picture of you thatlooked more or less photorealistic when he was like in fourthgrade. Right. Right. So he was a prodigy of art. I would say. Andthen he went kind of chased his snowboard dreams in Bend Oregon andthen he was like OK similar to me is like I got to get an educationget some Mike backbone behind all this passion that I have. And sohe went to one of the top design schools in the country. And soanyhow he became the art director of snowboarder and you know onthe side he would do stuff like design boards for it or otherstuff. Oh yeah. He designed the shirt and custom and I remember youknow we were really jealous because he got paid 13 grand to do asingle graphic.

:That's unfair. You know that's half mysalary I know that so. But anyhow. But he deserved it.

:You know the thing is it's like he had areal passion and like and a background in design that would allowhim to be authentic with his artwork and so he went on to dographics for basically most of the great companies of snowboarding.And you know he was actually the art director for snowboardmagazine when he started. And then he's gone on to like these greatthings he does speaking engagements all over the world now. Likewhere he talks about design he's just he's done work for Apple fromMicrosoft for Ford for you know Nike. I mean he's really like atthe absolute top of the game right now.

:You were able to hire all your friends hirethe people you wanted to excuse me hire all the people that youwanted to hire and then you know you have this crew of people justlike ready to kick ass for you talking about some of those dayssome of those days where you guys were kind of on top of the worldand on top of I guess the media world.

:Well the thing is it's like we never sawourselves on top of the world and really it was just like a hardfought battle we all had so much passion for snowboarding it wasabout the ideas and so we would get into like big arguments aboutlike what was it. Make a good cover. And we tried to take the frameof like OK this is what works on the news stand or whatever butthen we would have these you know arguments that would last intothe night basically about what would make good content who's a goodinterview and all these different kind of aspects of snowboardingand you know we put in really long hours we didn't really actuallyhave lives outside of you know showing up at that office and noneof us really wanted to I mean we were in so cal we weresnowboarders by definition which is like snowboarders at the beachright. And you know we all tried to learn to surf I would say butright with you know just so so results and so basically we pouredall of our effort and energy into making that magazine.

:And you're saying yeah. Ok rewind a littlebeg me gimme gimme like a great story one time with all those guys.You guys were you know. Give me some give me some meat.

:Ok. Something to something to think about.Let's see. Let's see. Maybe the buyer's guide that was aninteresting one. So we did. You know I'd I'd basically talk to ourbosses into being able to being able to go to Whistler for theseason we got Whistler to donate a house to us because I was likewell we got to go to the mountains right in the winter. You're notpublishing magazines. You finish in like December and then thatissue finished in December comes out in like February March at theend of the season. So I was like so we had like the whole winter todevelop content. So instead of traveling out of SoCal we went toWhistler and our whole crew our whole staff went to Whistler soundslike heaven.

:It was heavy actually. And so we had thesouth we had a bunch of pros staying there instead of telling youthe buyer's guide story I'll tell you. I actually made my firstsnowmobile story yeah. Tell me the first snowmobiles is actually amuch more interesting story. Maybe so anyhow. I also talked aYamaha into giving us some sleds to demo for the season and likethat was kind of like the beginning of like the snowboarding scene.And so I was like Yamaha we'll do like a feature in our BritishColumbia issue that we're going to do next year and we'll do afeature on snowboarding prominently featuring Yamaha snowmobilesand so they ended up giving us like the first two Yamaha Mountainmax 6 and 7 hundreds in the country of Canada. And so we go andpick them up and grapple ends up there and I'm up there. And BostonCastaic Justin Hostynek is staying with us. And you know so we'regoing to go out on our inaugural mission Hossan it's got his ownPolaris RMK 700 with a 136 track that was like State of the artback then. And so we go out to I forgot the name of the zone. Butanyhow we have to go up this thing called the S Shoot we ride outthrough this trail through the woods. Draplin. No problem. He'sfrom the Midwest. He's been on sleds from MI been on sleds likearound fields and stuff. We get to the bottom of this thing calledthe chute and friend. Yeah I mean literally it's like like athousand vertical foot or 5 700 foot vertical foot run and then adogleg turn in the middle of it.

:And at Hostynek it kind of looks at Me andis like you and sleds before right. And I'm like yeah totally. Andlike in my mind I'm like yeah I've been sleds in Vermont aroundfields or whatever area I've ridden snowmobiles go stop. Yeah. Sohe just takes off and I take off behind him maybe like 100 yardsback just to kind of gauge the speed and basically just wide openpinned straight up this thing right. And literally I make it to thetop my first try which is like probably miraculous in and ofitself. But then we get to the top and it's like and we turn aroundlike where's Draplin. Oh he didn't make it so Hostynek let go.Don't go get them. And I was like OK. And so I really don't knowwhat I'm doing. And so I basically you know I go to drop in backdown the chute the way I came up. And the thing like rolls away. Soyou're just looking at the Valley for you can't really see theissue until you're actually in. And so right when I see the slopethere's strapline capsized in the middle of the run. And so I endedup just basically grabbing a fistful of break the sled goessideways. I get pitched one way it goes the other and it just ragdolls. Bing bang bang bang bang like 700 800 vertical feet and overass over teakettle whatever. I mean just all the way down to justpieces of plastic flying everywhere and this is a brand new likesix miles on the sled slope.

:Oh yes although by the time I got down tothe speedometer it was brocaded like I picked up the speedometerwas pick it up. The plant didn't want to litter I had thisenvironmental studies background Yeah. So picking up all the piecesof plastic windshield hood all the way down. And you know I pick upthe speedometer or whatever and you know locked on the speedometer15 kilometers. So I had 15 kilometers on it before I total that.And how does it break in the news Yamaha about that one. We endedup paying for the sleds we had an insurance policy and we actuallyended up using them but scrapped together I think Dan Hudson likeartists who's going to be on the podcast. But he actually like towork or whatever. And those Yamaha's are bulletproof bulletproofthat. They were like bulletproof because after this like ass overteakettle ride just breaking off pieces of plastic in everydirection. You know it still worked. So interesting though that wasmy first snowmobile adventure and so that's like you know part ofeverything it's like OK learn from your mistakes don't do thatagain. You know and so I never threw a sled down a hill like thatever again. But I also kind of have never really lived that butI'll own it too. You know it's like you know it's like you learnfrom your mistakes. And so hopefully I won't be doing that too. Nowa fifteen thousand dollar sled that I actually have to pay for.Right. So that was in 2000 or 2001. We did.

:So now some of the things you were at thatsnowboarder those years there were some pretty fun things that kindof happened between like super parks and talk to me just about kindof some of those ideas some of those kind of innovative things thatyou guys ended up coming up with just as you know your crew or didyou come up with those are you know I came up with a bunch of theideas I was always a person who had to sell the ideas to themanagement we wanted to do something different it was up to me tobe like this is what we're doing and they'd be like No.

:That takes more work for me and then belike this is what we're doing this is what's right for snowboardingand I would just like fight tooth and nail to do what I thought waslike good reason why I probably wasn't an easy person to have as anemployee because I was like I was just really determined to do whatwas right in my mind for snowboarding based on my prior experienceand mistakes I had made prior to that. So you know we but we cameup with theme issues we had columns for guys like Peter line andTodd Richards and you know then those were just based on influencesfrom other magazines I was always a magazine person. So like RacerX was a motocross Mango's into motocross and they would have acolumn by a racer and I was like we should have columns by prosnowboarders. And so you know that was something that we did. Andyou know the buyer's guide as well it's like we used to go out andshoot the buyer's guide at the trade show. We'd like literally goten miles a day back and forth pulling boards and boots andbindings and photos shooting them in a photo studio and then wecame up with it well basically I came up with this idea tobasically take the influences like the Japanese buyers guides thatwere going on and apply it to America and so it turned and my bossonce again was like No you can't do that. That's like that's goingto take way more work for me and I was like we're going to do itthis way or you could find someone else to do it. And there's theyou know not being agreeable partner. So anyhow it turned likeeighty thousand dollar cost into a four hundred thousand dollar ayear gain in fact they still do that same buyers guide to this day.They've made millions of dollars on a single idea. I put my job onthe line to do.

:Hey how crazy is that. But if you are aproduct and in the buyer's guide you know that's the way it's donesell.

:Now you are a snowboarder living in so cowit's kind of weighing in on you a little bit right. Talk to me justa little bit about kind of the decision maybe too. I mean it had tohave been a hard decision. At the same time to just say like leavesnowboarder Magazine.

:Yeah I mean it was a couple of factorsreally in that. So bridges had a blown out knee and he wasn'tgetting it fixed. And so I basically put a carrot on a stick formwhich is like bridges you get your knee fixed and you can likestart really progressing your riding again gangs. We grew up ridingcompeting against each other and all this stuff and he wasn't. Hewas still riding but not really like progressing right. And so thatwas kind of in a holding pattern. And so I was like you knowBridges if you get your knee fixed I'll go find a job in themountains because I don't like so cow I don't want to be here andI'll go find a job in the Malon so it took about a year and he gothis knee fixed it was the right carrot on a stick I suppose. Andand so I found a job in Sun Valley Idaho or Ketchum Idaho as theinternational marketing director Prisca.

:And that was a great job for me because atleast the first because it's like blended my two passions whichwere motocross and snowboarding skiing I could tolerate. But youknow it just took my two passions and allowed me to kind ofprogress into a marketing role and I became like the internationalmarketing director and I go to Switzerland like once a month andyou know and then we started doing bikes and I wasn't like a bikeguy per se and so you know it was cool to have like a tour deFrance team riding your bikes or whatever as the marketing guy. Butit's like it just wasn't my thing. So. So you know at a certainpoint I decide to start snowboard magazine to get back into thesnowboarding media. Did you ever get to go to the Tour de Francereally quick. No no no. I had actually no interest in the bike atthat time. I smoke cigarettes right. And so like literally I go tothese bike events and like I get up at like six thirty in themorning for like an 8 call time let's say I go smoke like threecigarettes in a row behind the dumpster and then I jump in theshower clean up like not smell like smoke. Do that until like 9 or10 at night. Right over till like the company dinner wrapped up andthen go sneak out to the dumpster and smoke five more cigarettesand go to bed. Right. And like that was like that. I mean I wasaddicted to nicotine right. And so like that was something that waslike Man this is really interfering with my lifestyle you know andI don't want to be I wanted to be politically correct and smellinglike cigarettes at a big bike event. Actually it doesn't cut it.Sure. Right. And so. So that was kind of one of the things like theaddiction to cigarettes was more powerful than the addiction to myjob. OK that tells you house how you know how powerful they are youknow.

:And it's been hard to quit but I have sothat's a good thing.

:So in turn you decided then to OK I'm goingto go and start snowboarder or exceeding snowboard magazine and andtalk to me just about the idea behind that and maybe just thedifferent model of how that came about and how you structured it Iguess it was different than most everywhere else.

:Well you know being a marketing person itwas like I wanted to be like three different approaches inmarketing you can be the leader low cost provider aredifferentiated. And so for me it was like we're going to bedifferent on every level. And that doesn't mean just the content.That means that paper stock the distribution method the way we sellour ads will be different. Everything was to be different. Right.And so it also was like the first family friendly magazine as faras like we didn't print swear words you know and then we took adifferent focus on product and that was kind of the editorialvision was to integrate product a little bit more and I rememberthis phone call I had some of the best business advice I actuallyever got was from Ken Block when I was trying to sell him spreadsin every issue you know and it's just like I put together the teamdrap Blinn and Jeff Baker I had as the editor and and just puttogether a team of people who who were trustworthy in the industryknown quantities right. So we weren't just like like kids incollege making a zeen. And you know Ken Block who started D.C. Shewas like well what's the magazine. What's the mag about. And I gavehim this.

:You know it's going to be dead.

:And I like went on for like two minutesabout how radical and game changing it would be. And he was likeThat's great. Now say that in five words. And I was like oh sh*thog and let me get back to you. And he's like OK. So I call himback two weeks later and I was like snowboard magazine productsplaces and personalities he's like sold. And he bought spreads inevery issue from that. Yeah it was like a big contract and we gotgood advertising you know. I mean basically like went from likezero to one point three million dollars in sales in a single year.Wow. You know so it was like a runaway success because of that ideaof being differentiated in every way you know the distributionmodel. We sent the magazines to to shops right to support theirculture and the culture of snowboarding at the grassroots level soit was like I'm not going to deal with your traditional returnmodel where you have one person sitting there counting how manymagazines got returned every month instead. You keep the magazinesgive me away for free with someone who purchases something or orsell them for the cover price if someone wants to buy it. And youkeep all the money. Right. And so I figured you know I'd sent 40copies per magazine to every shop in the country and I figuredZumiez got actually more in way more. But but I figured hey youcan't make 40 sales in a month than than what are you doing inbusiness though right. So anyhow that was like the the distributionmodel and that was different you know and then drew aplan had likea really clean take on design we upgrade the paper stock. I meanlike a snowboarder it was always about like just getting away withthe cheapest dentist this paper that we could get away with. So Iwas like Let's go the opposite direction and make it on the nicestpaper we can afford. Sure. Right. So that was that was a prettycrazy time.

:I would say now you guys weren't justsitting in an abandoned aircraft hangar.

:No you guys were where were you guys whenyou were doing this. We were actually all over the countrybasically Draplin was in Portland. Baker was in Seattle I was inSun Valley or catch him still and and then we would come together.We'd all kind of do our separate parts.

:We had a sales guy in Southern CaliforniaGary and that was kind of the initial team and so then we do ourseparate things and be on the phone every single day with everybodyand then we came together to put that magazine together the firstissue it Dragonlance house. And so we all kind of our piecestogether and and then put together that first issue and then thatwas kind of our model is like we'd go our separate ways and thengather you know in the fall for a week a month or took a week tolay it out or whatever and then we'd all gather and put themagazine together.

:Now what was it what was the first issueabout what was the big thing you were I mean you were I guess thesplash into the back into into a magazine.

:You know I think it was just like the factthat it was differentiated at every level and I could look someonestraight in the eye and be like not only does it look better in hiseyes like this authentic voice or whatever but it covers productsproxy you have you know that you're trying to sell and so likebecause I was an editor and a salesperson you know it was likereally about kind of breaking down this thing of like church andstate which I was always going to be authentic to snowboarding butto idea that the editorial and the advertising weren't related itwas something I threw out the window at that point in time becauseit was like well we can do both. It's like in our photo galleryit's like we'd have captions that listed every product in the photoand the price of that product. So you can be like oh here's a shotof like Peter Line doing a jump and he's on the Division 23 PeterLine for ninety nine and he's got 32 boots.

:And so like it was just like this idea thatlike we could not it wasn't selling out to me at all to do it thatway. To me it was just being giving more information in a differentkind of information to the actual consumers you know.

:Now what was the reaction from from theconsumers what was the reaction I guess from shops that kind ofstuff maybe in comparison to other magazines that they had.

:Well based on those sales that we that Italked about it was a hit immediately right. You know and it wasjust different and it was quality and I just had a totally newvoice compared to like Trans World and snowboarded were so close interms of design terms of content in terms of direction. But thiswas something totally different you know. And so I think that itimmediately got a place and then you know because of ourdistribution model I was able to go sell ads at the trade show andbe like to any advertiser just like ask any shop in the world whattheir favorite magazine is. And it was always Armagh because I wasgiving them magazines for free and they were selling them keepingthe money right. And so I think we put it like about a milliondollars a year into retail. Like a million dollars a year directlyinto snowboard shops pockets of time. So yeah it was I felt prettygood about that

:Don't forget to support advertising forsnowboarding media ads thesnowboard project the solid gold project.

:Let me just shift a little bit let me askyou a little bit about your I guess career as an announcer assomeone that I always kind of did events. Talk to me just a littlebit about how you first got into it and maybe kind of some of thoseearly years doing events.

:Well I became an announcer kind of byaccident. I would say I was at a event. I think this was even priorto working at Snowboarder. I was at an event and the guy who wasannouncing the event was like the father of one of the kids and hewas like oh and Jimmy and Johnny they like going now on Saturdaynight.

:And he was just telling these personalstories had nothing to do with the the writing that was going on inthe contest. And so basically I snatched the mike out of his handwas like that's a five 40. That is a make twist twist. Right. And Ijust started calling Trex because they weren't you know calling thetricks and I was like sponsored snowboarder at that time. And youknow I was like that was what was important to me was just beingable to call the tricks. And so I did that and then and then Iguess that went well enough that I got tapped on the shoulder bythis guy Jeremy forester who was kind of coordinating the GrandPrix series and basically my second announcing gig was likeannouncing the grand prix series and I've done it ever since.

:So about 20 years of announcing Grand Prixjust based on just being pissed off at this announcer you know justnot calling trick or not knowing even what the tricks were youknow. And yeah. And so then I got to announce the Olympics. Thatwas quite a rush. And now I've also gotten into doing TV stuff I'vedone this past Olympics I worked for Euro Sport and interviewed allthe medalists right after they won their medals which was reallyrewarding at least as far as like I learned a lot.

:And I mean you're interviewing people thatrate at the pinnacle of their lives they're going to look back onthat 30 50 years from now and be like that was the best day ever.You know and there I am getting ready to ask them questions I didafter like 60 different people. I did for free skiing andsnowboarding and so you know I've learned that free skiing andsnowboarding are are they have the same blood sweat and tears thatgo into both pursuits and sort of win a gold medal and free skiingor snowboarding takes the same kind of dedication and effort. So Ihave an appreciation for that for sure. Did you get did you getEster Ledeka. Oh I did. Oh yeah I got it carried an interview withher. I'll actually posted behind our patriae on firewall. Yeah.Because I have like little behind the scenes stuff videos and stuffthat I post behind the scenes so people who actually donate to thepodcast make it happen will get unique content and things youwouldn't actually get as part of a free podcast. I'm also going togive away like I have a whole ton of snowboard historical itemsthat I'm sick of carting around just about through the rearviewmirror or out the window a while ago and I'm sick carding so I'llsay you're going to give away everything that's in your apartment.Just like slowly over time. Oh more than that to my apartment. I'mprobably about a hundred boards I'm going to give away and I'm justgoing to and I have like a trophy from the U.S. Open. And DannyCas's original avalanche beacon all sorts of weird random stuff.You know that I've collected over the years and then carted aroundfor 30 years and it's like you know what I don't need to live inthe past young and live in the future. And so you know with Alaskait's like I'm still progressing. I still have my Alaska thing goingon and so that to me is like the future. And so all I'll just lookforward instead of back.

:Sure. Let's take it back a little bit. Talkto me just about like a in the announcing side of things. You knowwhat is. What have you found have been the real keys to being Iguess a successful announcer.

:At first it was just getting over thenervousness like I mean the first time you pick up a mike andyou're sitting there and there's a crowd of people here and youhear your voice kind of squeak through the speakers or whateverpeople like on a crane their neck and turn around to see who'stalking right. It's really you feel like the spotlight reallyburning through you and that was always for years. That was likethe hardest thing was like the first minute of announcing everyevent I would kind of dread that first minute just like and then itjust got to the point where I was comfortable with it and I couldjust just pick up the mike and talk you know to an audience or acrowd or whatever and then speak with confidence you know. And thenbeyond that have insights and then beyond that not only have likeunique insights but also make those insights relatable to peoplewho didn't necessarily understand what was happening as far as thetricks go in trying to explain things that a more basic level youknow. And so you know it's always been this idea of progression notto SWID like magazines media or snowboarding but also withannouncing so I've tried to you know develop tonality and and theability to build a story to completion. And right now I'm doingwell I'm not going to tell you what I do now because I have thiswhole thing that that I can now create a storyline that tiestogether from the beginning to the end of an event. Sure. Right.And so that's got a beginning a middle and an end. Whether theyknow the writers are doing it or not like I can create thatbeginning middle and end just by announcing. Sure. So those aresome of the things that I'm always trying to push forward. Youknow.

:Yeah and you also do your homework. You goto that you go to the half pipe and you watch them all youknow.

:Yeah that's like one of the most importantthings is just studying and knowing what's going to happen beforeit happens or having a good idea you don't know exactly what'sgoing to happen if someone's going to crash or if someone's goingto land that trick or they're even going to try the track. Butthere's a narrative that you can build before the event evenbegins. And so now these days anyway I've gotten to the point whereI'm taking notes and studying and I'm writing intros for thebeginning of the show and stuff like that where it's like I'dreally try to make a genuine effort to to just make it a betterexperience for the people standing there watching and not justcalling tricks I mean I did that for years like 15 years or 10years of just calling Trick Trick Trick Trick Trick Trick.

:Wow great Ron Vrain you know. Or will thatbe enough. Will it be enough. You know it's like the story now ismuch deeper than that.

:Sure. Announcer Cher Yeah it's it's it'sdifficult being up there right and and like missing like a trick orannouncing the wrong thing.

:Yeah. And you know it's like I've done thatfor years I've announced wrong things and I've been called out onit and occasionally you can't really pay attention to everythingthat's going on at once. I mean you got one set of eyes you got tostart list and that's about it. And a microphone. And so you knowin your notes and so like if you look down and then you forget thewriter's regular goofy and then they're going backwards across theflat bottom not forwards to a different track and so you can callit wrong very easily just by like a simple lapse of concentrationas far as those tricks go. And so yeah you're not going to alwaysget it right and it's in Italian or you don't see something youknow. I'll just try to say something that gives people a generalappreciation for the effort that it takes to do something like thatlike I didn't see the trick. You'll see that I don't like try tocall it or make it up or whatever else I'll try to give some peoplean appreciation of like how they departed Dilip where the tail camedown at the landing and how they built their speed for the next hitor whatever you know and so when I get general it's because I'm notlike really focused on the detail of the trick.

:It's hard you know.

:Have you ever been just like lambasted atthe bottom of the hill by a bias no one had thought while you couldyou're calling of that track really cost them something not bywriters I mean the thing is when I first started announcing I waslike really raw and probably one of my best learning experiencesactually happened announcing a Grand Prix was probably my firstyear.

:I know it's probably my second yearannouncing grand prize I was working at snowboarder and so I wasjust like I feel like I pretty much was on top of the world orwhatever I knew what I was talking about anyway they validated itthrough giving me a job in the media and this girl drops and thiswas pretty early in the progression of women's writing not like itis today but this girl drops in and she double frontside hits likethat meaning that she goes up she isn't even clear lit by the wayshe goes up knows like a turn inside the transition that goes anddoes like a turn topside turn on the flat bottom. She doesn't evenattempt backside and that does another turn on the transition orwhatever and so I just tore her apart. I was like oh accosts yourdad like you know 150 dollars for the entry fee and 200 dollars forhotel rooms and the cost of gas to get here was 200 dollars and sowhat you're telling me is you just your dad just spent like 50dollars a second for you to compete in this event. And she brokedown crying. I just tore her apart and so my boss who probablyshould've fired me at the time but didn't then instead he goes youknow I always respect him for this he took me aside just like thatgirl over there.

:Yeah Yassir is like that's the girl youjust announced that like I know I know I saw our high announced itand he was like see what she's doing right now and I'm like take agood look oh she's crying he's like how does that make you feel.And I was like not very good actually right.

:And so then from then on I was able to kindof try to find positive and everyone's writing share right even ifthey were riding while I would find something positive to say aboutthem. And you know sometimes you could tell the superficiality ofthe positive Nasserite I mean if I give you some really dumbcompliment it's probably because it's not that impressive you know.But but now nowadays it's like at the Grand Prix level those ridersall rip. No one's really rain like doesn't deserve to be there butto me anyway that girl didn't deserve to be in a quote unquoteworld class competition. She should cut her teeth in like aregional event first instead of trying to make the Olympic teamwith a bottom turn share. You know so. So anyhow though it's like alearning experience all along the way I've had these learningexperiences through snowboarding and snowboarding has been thatvehicle I guess that's the purpose of this podcast really is liketo share some of the lessons learned through people's experiencesin the sport. And so I've had a lot of experience.

:I thought I knew a lot about snowboardingbut really interviewing the different people that I've beeninterviewing has really been an eye opening experience as far aslike they all have different perspectives and different experiencesand also you know talking to a sales manager or you know or like aguy who who is there in the beginning of the sport it's like theyhave different lessons they've taken different things away from thesport of snowboarding and yet it's all this one thing. And so youknow to me it's not just about what is marketable like if you buyan ad page you are worth talking about in the magazine or somethingalong those lines. To me those aren't the stories that are actuallythe most compelling ones in the sport. So hopefully this podcastcan can kind of illuminates some of that stuff and hopefully it'sgood enough that you're going to want to support it through ourpatriae on page patriarch Dom slash the snowboard project. Pleasesupport this effort. I'd love to continue doing this I'm learningso much and enjoying sharing it with everyone.

:Suli I just want to ask you like let's talkabout Alaska and why Alaska is why Alaska is important to you. Andthey may be kind of the early days of tailgate.

:Ok well Alaska is the most important thingto me in snowboarding today because when I first got there it'slike 1998 99. It was basically like from the very first run thebest run I had ever done by far hands down. Nothing even cameclose. And everyone got better and better from that very first run.And so it was like just mind melting right. The quality of thepowder or the open terrain you know and the challenge that you feltlike you know I was always built up in those TV movies like youcould die you know and so it's like you have this fear and then allof a sudden soon as you drop in you know it goes. It transforms toelation. You know the incredible powder and whatever and so thependulum swing from fear to elation happens in Alaska like nowhereelse for me. And so you know I went back to Alaska a number times Iwas the editor snowboarder at the time so I could assign myselfwhatever stories I wanted to so I happened to write the Alaskastories because I wanted to keep going back and you know and thenwhen I sold snowboard magazine built that up and then sold it.

:I wanted to do something nice I you know Ihad some money but it wasn't like you know the few money that somepeople get when they sell a company I just had like a little bit ofmoney to throw around. So was I going to go on the best snowboardvacation of my life and so I went on a weeklong healthy trip withmy buddy who was like the deejay of like all the snowboardingevents I was announcing like the U.S. Open.

:And I was sitting there at the U.S. Open islike hey I'm going to go to Alaska. I sold them and going to Alaskais like I'd go. Oh perfect that I will go by myself. And I didn'tthink he was going to do it but he ended up like call me up weeklyor like OK what's the deal with Alaska let's do this.

:So we ended up going to Alaska and we spentlike a week helli boarding at this place called a B.A. and it'sactually like where tailgate started and. And so it was basicallylike the whole scene in Alaska was about 20 people at that time.It's like away 070 and and it was just the Mack dog crew.

:A handful of French guys and then me and mybuddy and we were like the only ones there who were likevacationing the French guys were like making a movie. MacDawg crewis like DCP and Yussi Oksanen and Andreas Wiig and those guys werefilming the Mack dog movie. And so we would just hang out and allthe downtimes.

:Right. And so I'm driving back from fromthat trip. And on the drive between you know baldies in Anchorage Iwas like Man I got to figure out a way to share this with morepeople. And that's where tailgate Alaska was born. So really it wasjust this thing where it was like the idea of sharing Alaska withmore people and promoting that ultimate experience and you knowgetting people to slay their own personal dragons of fear to faceyour fear and overcome it. And I think everyone has that experiencewhether you're a pro or whether you're a guy from the east coastwho's never ridden too much powder. It's like you can have thatexperience where you will face your fear. You don't have a choice.You're going to be scared and you have to face and overcome that toride Alaska and so to me it's like this anybody can go there andride.

:First of all it's only so challenginghaving the perfect conditions. You know you're not challengingyourself with difficult conditions you're challenging yourself withperfect conditions and the terrain is the challenger and themountains are as big as challenging as you want to be and so youstart at one level and just every run you can step up a little bitmore and so that to me still happens I still challenge myself everyyear. And you know in the last decade it's kind of transformed fromhelicopter access to snowmobile access and that's just a naturalprogression with the technology of snowmobiles. Sure and but manevery single year I'm in my 40s now I get better every year as asnowboarder I never gave up on this dream of progression insnowboarding and in the rest of my life and so snowboarding as itwere are. Alaska is where that happens still you know.

:Yeah. So I was I was lucky enough to gowith you on year number one how when we just hopped in the van andwe went up there kind of what were the. You know like you weresaying like only Mac dog were there and a handful of small peopleand I remember excuse me a small handful of people and then theywere very like wealthy skiers. You know that's kind of what Iremember being there. Yeah.

:That was the first that was a year afteryear after year thing my dog thing right. And that was a year afterbut yeah I mean basically it would cost. You know I don't know likea more than a thousand dollars a day to go skiing and so really noteveryone can afford to go five or seven or 10 days the skiing youknow. And so the idea would tailgate was to make like this Aleccarte menu of options where people it could be affordable forpeople so you can sled you can skin you can you can take thehelicopter for a day. You can just try all these differentexperiences in the ultimate mountains in ultimate snow conditions.And that is kind of the idea.

:Who were the people that were and thatended up showing up at these things and were the people youintended to attract.

:Well you know I mean I didn't know who Iwas just trying to share it with more people and really my friendnetwork. It was like the idea was like to bring my friends andshare those experiences with them that I had you know at firstthere a lot of pros who would come and and also my personal friendsI grew up riding with people who had dedicated themselves to thesport.

:And then you know it evolved to this thingjust through marketing and putting it out there that it wasbasically a majority of recreational people just average Joes fromeverywhere around the world. I mean 25 countries we've had peoplefrom a tailgate.

:And so you know everything from fromCroatia you know the lot of Australians Japanese all over Europeyou know Scandinavia you know and like upstate New York New YorkCity you know we have people from the East Coast from the Midwestfrom the West Coast we got a guy from Chicago a couple of guys fromChicago come. And so it really you know the idea is is that anybodycan ride those mounds and it's like you see what they show in themovies is like the most challenging stuff like the stuff that'slike death defying. Right. But the thing is it's like 70 percent ofthe brain is intermediate. So anyone can write it it's just likeintermediate train with perfect conditions. I mean you wrote whatwas your experience riding in Alaska like.

:I mean I was scared to death on a number ofoccasions I think year one. I think I you know I'm the son of apastor. I probably hadn't been to church in like 10 years and I waslike praying every time I got on the snowmobile that I wasn't goingto die. But you know I didn't I didn't. You know. And there weredefinitely times where I was afraid when we were hiking up to thetop of kind of like saddles to shoot something or you know like anddifferent instances but mostly it was really fun like I you know Iwas perfectly fine. And I didn't think the actual terrain was allthat challenging. But then again I've been snowboarding like aslong as I could remember you know. And so it's like it wasn't itwasn't terribly hard but yes always always exciting always funbeing there. Yeah there is always this level of like I guess beingfearful of what might happen. And then I was always very happy whenI would leave and I wouldn't I shouldn't say I would. I was happywhen I left I was just happy to be in one piece when left becauseit kind of always held that like fear I guess for me you know butit was a great experience being a tailgate. I think the people thatyou met in the parking lot and the people that you ended up in thecar with are you know taking a Halle lap with doubling up with allbecame really fast friends and definitely people that I still keepin touch with. Yeah.

:To this day you know so you know and thething is it's like you're going to this like remote location you'reout there and basically because everyone has to look out foreveryone else's life hey if someone gets in an avalanche you're theone with the Beacon who's going to go find them right and probe andall that stuff. And so the idea is this is like basically youbecome instant friends because it's like hey I'm looking out foryour life you're looking out for my life so we might as well befriends you know. And so here's to that and so you know it's goingto continue. And luckily I made it through more than ten years oftailgates and it's going to continue I'm not going to run any morebecause it just like honestly it was probably a little bit too muchstress. I have 500 people who could all Tench them like the barrierto entry is like you have to be willing to die doing what you love.Right. And so to have 500 people on your watch every year or closeto that amount. And every year is different. But it's like it'sactually kind of stressful. And and so I feel like this whole newlease on life not having that stress. And you know and also I havea lot of respect for Dustin Dustin James who's running it now a guywho basically sat on my couch for a year to learn all the ins andouts of tailgate and you know forced mentorship but he's running itnow and it's in good hands and so it will continue until peoplewill still be able to have that experience in Alaska and really youknow the ultimate snowboarding experience for me.

:Sure. So sleeping on your couch basicallyleads to great things like bridges became the editor of snowboardersnowboarder and Justin took over tailgate. So can I come sleep onyour couch.

:I'm trying to live by myself.

:Try to get that figured out. Anyway OK so Itailgate that kind of thing. Now we're on it now we're onto this.You know. Yeah. And then it's kind of like this new this new thingfor a kind of what what where do you foresee this kind of going andwhy why and why this why now. You know.

:Well I mean I think that you know just thereally it's because the existing me isn't telling the story ofsnowboarding to me it's not connecting with me anymore I'm still asnowboarder still to find myself that way. It's just that theconventional media doesn't fill that need in me for knowledge aboutthe sport. And so I really got to the point where I was like OK I'mgoing to have to leave snowboarding and do something else and thenI came back across this idea of like you know using snowboarding asa vehicle to to improve your own life outside of snowboarding andto have these experiences and to really use it as a tool ofself-improvement. And then I was like OK that actually is somethingthat I could you know spend a lot of time doing because thereactually are some really interesting stories you know. And honestlythe more I dig into it the more people I have to talk to the morecuriosity I have about what I didn't know about snowboarding and.And so I think that there's basically an unlimited amount of peoplewho've really dedicated some of their passion to the sport. So it'sgoing to be told without advertising as an influence by the wayit's like that's one of the most important things to me. For thefirst time ever I've created a new kind of media in that I'm notgoing to be looking over my shoulder to see what the advertisersthought of my last product. It's like I don't care what you thinkthis is what I see snowboarding to be. You're welcome to make yourown podcast if you disagree. I'm going to do this and put the storyout there and hopefully people like it share.

:So we're going to hear things we're goingto we're going to just really dive deep into the dirt and hearabout you know all kinds of I guess things.

:Yeah. I mean nothing's off limits really.That's the thing. It's like there's I've already done a bunch ofinterviews for this and you know people talk about drug addictionwith snowboarders and they talk about the ups and downs and likeyou know and people who got passed over and then also people whohave had just like amazing success all the way across the boardswith snowboarding. And so it's kind of like this whole you know Imean snowboarding is like life. It's like there's upstairsdownstairs unexpected turns. There's cliffs we didn't expect toencounter below you you have to Landen. And so yeah I meansnowboarding to me is life and so I'm trying to connect thosedots.

:All right. So again just let us know howhow how do we support this kind of I guess open media the year thatyou are creating here.

Okso basically we're doing it through go there. There's like different levels that you can contributeto starting with I believe at the lowest level will be two dollarsa month. Right. And that will get you you know that will allow usto make 20 shows a month 20 shows this isn't like a once a weekthing I'm talking about five days a week. There's that manystories.

Sowe start out and there's like eight people like five shows on thecourse like 16 bucks.

Youknow it actually costs much more than investing in this stuff. Ithink it's a worthy endeavor you know and honestly it's like yeahI'm going into the hole to make this. But it's worth it becauseit's like I haven't heard these stories I'm progressing myself andyou know and the thing is like OK Michel right there there's thebarrier to entry to support it but then there's all differentlevels. You know and they'll also be a firewall so you docontribute that will be unique content behind this firewall andthen I'm going to be giving away a bunch of snowboarding historystuff as well to those people who support on patriarchy. you can find us also on Instagram.The snowboard project Twitter the snowboard project we're goinghave a Facebook page a snowboard project. It's all kind of slashthe snowboard project. We kind of got a corner on all that. It'sactually a domain I've owned for like 12 years. And and it's is theright time to turn the key.

:Well anything else we should leave the thelistening audience with I guess before we take off.

:Well we're going to start out with thethree shows a week right. That's just to build our initial audienceactually we could do five shows right out of the gate. But it'slike if there's five people listening to I want to spend all thismoney and all this effort on just cranking out these shows so therewill be five shows a week from Monday through Friday and this willbe all long form unedited more or less. You know just to try totell these these whole stories instead of having this really wellput together thing hopefully our audio is OK and it will improve.You'll you'll hear some bad audio and some of the interviews we'reworking on that. Trust me. You know there's always room forimprovement but the ideas is out. We're going to tell the storiesbehind the stories you know. So get ready. All right. Strap in andget ready. Drop the next. Announcer. All right. So anyhow this willbe a lot of fun though. We're going to and here's the thing that Ihope that everyone will learn something by this and maybe take alittle piece of it to their own lives outside of the snow.

:All right. Well I'm excited to hear what wehave next. And yeah. I do want to end these things. What do wedo

:Like take action. All right. Signing offfrom the snow wear project episode one said ever. Why are we goingto have a lot of episodes coming up here.

:On behalf of Mark and the Beav. Thanks forlistening to the snowboarder remember right fast take charge andtake action. And for God's sake don't forget to support advertisingfor snowboarding media at

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The Snowboard Project: Episode 1: About The Snowboard Project (2024)


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