Ryan Scardigli: Marketing and Media Relations, Low Pressure Studio – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Marketing and Media Relations, Low Pressure Studio and Freelance Videographer

It seems ‘industry veteran’ is the defacto term used to reference the subject of any press release regarding a Boardworld shake-up or hire. Ryan Scardigli might be the only person under the age of 30 that is, perhaps, worthy of this cliché descriptor. Diggles, as he’s more often referred to, grew up in Tahoe before it dried up for a bit. Pointing his camera at the region’s up-and-comers during that period parlayed into a marketing role with Bataleon. Now residing in Amsterdam, where Bataleon, Switchback, and Lobster are headquartered, Diggles has had his hand in more projects than many ‘vets’ ten years his senior, from his day-to-day with the aforementioned brands to his behind-the-scenes roles with just about every Helgasons-affiliated project. The man is an international move and shaker.

—Taylor Boyd

Capturing the action. PHOTO: Cyril Muller

What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.

I handle marketing and media relations at Low Pressure Studio, which is the parent company behind Bataleon, Lobster and Switchback, but I also freelance as a videographer and get the opportunity to shoot on different projects each season. It’s a great balance and keeps me in the snow most of the year which is awesome. When I’m in the office I work on marketing campaigns, produce content, schedule social media and maintain our relationships with all the snowboard media. I have to keep up on those tasks in season as well, but I do it mostly from the road. I’m really thankful that LPS gives me that freedom to travel and shoot.

Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I grew up in Tahoe City, California and currently live in Amsterdam. I was offered a video position at Method Mag in Barcelona back in 2011 and haven’t looked back. Living in Europe has been amazing and I can’t picture what my life would be like if I hadn’t taken that opportunity.

How did you start snowboarding?

I was lucky enough to grow up in Tahoe surrounded by mountains. I was around 10 the first time I went snowboarding, but I actually grew up ski racing at Squaw Valley and didn’t fully switch to snowboarding until the end of high school. I had already begun filming with some of my sponsored snowboard buddies and realized how much cooler snowboarding was and made the switch.

Diggles can bust a move. PHOTO: Sani Alibabic

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

Growing up, all I ever asked my parents for Christmas was snowboard and ski videos. I can remember getting TB6 Carpe Diem when I was 9 and watching it over and over. In high school I would enter these little film festivals and loved photography class. There’s so much history in Tahoe with Fall Line Films, Standard Films and countless pros coming from there so it always seemed within reach.

And how did you make that happen?

After high school I moved to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah but didn’t even finish the first semester. I wound up back in Tahoe working at a shop tuning skis and snowboards and felt pretty defeated. I worked at different shops and for my friend Chapin’s event company as a karaoke and wedding DJ, haha. Eric Messier and I got a place together in 2008 and I started filming with him and making little edits. I was able to contribute a lot of his footage to the first Videograss movie, which was rad. Eric introduced me to Corey Smith and I had the opportunity to work on three projects with COMUNE, including the first ‘Spring Break’ video that Kevin Castanheira directed. I was introduced to Thomaz Autran Garcia (TAG) at Method Mag after that and moved to Barcelona in the fall of 2011. It was an amazing time in my life and I met a lot of the people I work with now during that season. The next season I moved to Munich, Germany and began working freelance. I had met Kevin Backstrom and Tor Lundstrom the previous year and we wanted to work together. We came up with BYNDxMDLS together, which I produced with them for three years. I did my first job for Bataleon in 2012, shooting with their team at Superpark 16. A few years later they were looking for someone to take over their social media who was also a content producer. I did BYNDxMDLS and LPS social for a season and then transitioned into a more regular role with LPS and Bataleon. Looking back on it, there were a lot of steps involved, but everything happened very naturally and I’m stoked on the team and LPS and I love working with them.

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

I always looked up to the content producers and riders who I thought had their own style. Guys like Jake Price, Joe Carlino, Olav Stubberud, Cyril Müller, Eric Messier, Halldór Helgason. There are so many people who inspired me, but that’s how the industry is. It’s full of creative people out there doing what they love.

Squad deep! PHOTO: Viktor Hjartarson

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

Making this list, hahahaha. I’m really proud of what we did with BYNDxMDLS and where Kevin and Tor have taken it since, and I was so happy to get back out with them again this past season shooting for the upcoming TransWorld movie Arcadia. No matter where I end up, I will always think back on BYNDxMDLS and everything I learned from it. A lot goes into producing and I think we created something special.

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

I’m pretty happy with where I am in the industry. I just want to continue growing and creating more unique content and working with people I enjoy spending time with. This is a unique community we are part of I think it’s important to make the most of it while we can.

Anyone you’d like to thank?

First and foremost, I’d like to thank my parents for supporting me and allowing me to follow my dreams. They always had my back and it paid off. I want to thank Eric Messier for helping me get my start and Corey Smith for giving me an opportunity when I hadn’t done much to prove myself. All the guys at Method Mag: TAG, Chriso, and Alexis for helping me get established in Europe. Everyone at LPS: L’Arrogs, Danny, Dennis, Rubby, Ronald, Mel, Britt, Tine, Bernie, and Khadija for being great colleagues and pushing me to do better work. Kevin and Tor for everything, Halldór and Eiki for being badasses, Adam Dayson for all his guidance, Johannes Brenning, Cyril Muller, the Lobster Six Pack, the Bataleon team, Stan, Gray, Fletch, Sani, Weaver, Henry, Goodwin, any riders I’ve ever shot with and so many others I can’t think of right now. I couldn’t have done any of this without you.

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Lauren Burke: Public Relations and Social Media Manager, Mammoth Mountain – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Public Relations and Social Media Manager, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

Birthdate: 8/11/87

Lauren Burke has been a staple in the Mammoth Mountain community over half a decade and her abilities, insight, and poise, both professionally and personally, have already made her an indispensable individual, not only at Mammoth and in the California resort world in general, but within the greater snowboarding industry. Years ago, in order to placate her lifelong obsession with the mountains, Lauren packed up her Southern California-based bags and sent it up the 395 to the Eastern Sierra, where she proved her mettle working with the purveyors of Main Park’s infamous metal, the Unbound Crew. Her passion for standing sideways and her relentless work ethic quickly earned her the prestigious position managing the public relations and social media of one of snowboarding’s most influential resorts. Since she began, in the height of rapid change in both traditional media and social, she has helped to guide Mammoth’s presence in snowboarding and beyond, balancing a keen knowledge of both mainstream media and endemic culture and walking the line between both effortlessly. I have been lucky enough to collaborate with Lauren many times during her tenure at Mammoth and while we have (so far) always been too exhausted post-work to meet up for celebratory wine like we plan to, there are few individuals that I look forward to working with more—Lauren’s tenacity, drive, and talent are readily apparent even though she’s naturally humble about her accomplishments. Case in point, nowhere in the below 30 Under 30 questions does she highlight her own efficiency to make things happen, but she took no more than 24-hours to send back her responses—a testament to her ability to tackle anything thrown at her, anytime—even during the tail end of Mammoth’s second longest season. In an industry that has far too few ladies occupying influential roles, Lauren Burke is a testament to the integrity and amplitude that one woman can bring to the snowboarding world.

– Mary Walsh

Warm and ready to handle it!

What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.

I currently oversee all public relations for Mammoth as well as our social media channels and snow reporting. Every day is an adventure in resort PR. It’s all about telling stories that tap into people’s desire pack their bags and get to the mountain. Whether it is hyping up a massive storm on a live TV broadcast, managing a nude shoot at sunset in Main Park for ESPN, or fielding never-ending phone calls, office visitors [Hi Mary – you need a lift ticket?], interview requests and emails—this job always keeps me on my toes.

Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

Originally from Del Mar, CA, home has been Mammoth Lakes, CA for almost six years.

How did you start snowboarding?

Southern California boardsport culture has always been a huge part of my life. I was lucky enough to have parents who made the seven-hour drive from San Diego to Mammoth as much as possible. My dad finally relented to my endless begging to get on a snowboard when I was about twelve.

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

I moved to Boulder, Colorado for college and spent all my free time in the mountains riding Keystone and Breck, and really exploring the mountains on my own. Not exactly following my heart, I moved to LA after graduating and proceeded to spend the next two years desperately missing the mountains.

She couldn’t ignore her love for the mountains.

And how did you make that happen?

Mammoth has always felt like home to me and I was an avid consumer of every piece of social media and marketing they put out. I was glued to the webcams, constantly checked the weather, and was obsessed with planning my next weekend warrior trip for even just a day of riding. While sitting at my LA desk job, I saw a tweet from Mammoth looking for an Office Manager for the Unbound Terrain Parks – I applied and 30 minutes later, Michael Gregory, Terrain Park Director at the time, called me. Michael put me through the ringer with a three-month long interview process. He ultimately offered me the position and asked me to move to Mammoth in five days. I quit my job the next day, packed up my car with the help of my little sister and headed north. I worked for Unbound for about two-and-a-half years before transitioning into the world of PR.

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

There are so many badass women in this industry including my own boss, Joani Lynch, who truly embodies a passionate PR person and total mountain woman—she’s a VP of this company and manages to work harder than most while still raising two amazing girls and spending as much time as possible outdoors. Being able to work alongside female riders and businesswomen like Kelly Clark and Kimmy Fasani has taught me to see the big picture of this industry and to always lead with kindness and authenticity.

Not a bad place to call home. PHOTO: Peter Morning

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

Ultimately, snowboarding is all about having fun and I feel like what we’ve done at Mammoth is open the doors for more people to get up here and have more fun, whether that’s in the parks or taking your first run on the bunny slope.

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

Snowboarding and the mountains saved me and I can only hope to have some part in bringing more people into the sport in the future.

Anyone you’d like to thank?

Shout out to Michael Gregory for giving me a chance and continuing to support me throughout my career. Mark Brownlie for always having my back and teaching me more than he will ever know about putting in work. My family for their endless love. My boyfriend Cheyne for being my right-hand man. And of course, my Rottweiler, Buddy for being the cutest ever.

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Justin Leveille: Host, Last Resort – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Creator/Writer/Filmer/Editor/Host of Last Resort

Justin Leveille has a unique perspective. I mean on everything—on life, on Boardworld, on the dog walking down the street, on whatever it is he ate for lunch that day. It is this that makes Stan, as he’s more commonly known, who he is. This ability to observe and absorb details then dissect them is what comprises his distinct brand of humor. The fact that he’s eager to share these views through some creative outlet, and able to do so in a way that defies norms, is where his talent lies and his renown stems from. Stan is an artist. From his nights freestyling at Burlington house parties in college, to his days sketching snowboard-themed comic strips in Portland, to his work on Eiki Helgason’s Island Born project, and of course Hateline, The NewShow, and Last Resort, everything he touches has an uncommon but welcome flavor. What he does and the way he does it is different. I mean, the guy has two names.

— Taylor Boyd

A unique perspective. PHOTO: Diggles

 What is your current title, and what does a day in the life of Stan look like?

I think my title is Creator/Writer/Filmer/Editor/Host of Last Resort, or just “that guy that makes the Skateline bite.” As for a day in life:

— Watch every possible snowboard video on every snowboard site I can think of.

— Try to problem solve a way into making it look like I can fly.

— Save other people’s Instagram videos.

— Write jokes I suspect maybe 6,000 people in the entire world might understand.

— Drill a large green cloth into a wall.

— Focus the camera on a blank table, press the record button and walk to my seat.

— Haphazardly move clamp-lights with no real understanding of the proper way to light something.

— Talk to myself in an empty room.

— Intricately photoshop an image of Jeff Holce for 45 minutes, even though the clip is going to be on a small TV for three seconds, and probably being watched from a phone.

— Edit from 2pm-5am

— Wake up at 7am to go to my part-time job as a barista.

Where are you from, and where do you currently call home?

I am from Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and I currently call Burlington, Vermont, my home.

How did you start snowboarding?

Poorly! My parents started me skiing at two, and I made the switch to the board world when I was nine. I grew up two miles from a small mountain called Butternut, so I spent most days there as a kid. I also started snowboarding thanks to the hand-me-downs of the Homeyer family, who were a family of snowboarders in the late nineties that pretty much convinced me there was no other option.

Mountain man Stan. PHOTO: Diggles

At what point did you realize that you wanted to be involved in the snowboard industry?

From the day I understood the simple necessity of having a job, I wanted to be involved in the snowboard industry—mostly because my favorite thing in the world is literally going snowboarding. So from the time I got a job in high school at a local shop, all the way to graduating college and joining Yobeat, my question to myself was, “How can I get paid and still go snowboarding a lot?” I suppose when I saw December, by Jake Pricethe Airblaster movie where Travis Parker and Andrew Crawford travel through Eastern Europe and ride small resorts—my entire world changed. That project single-handedly made me decide it was possible to work in the snowboard industry making funny, original content.

And how did you make that happen? 

I moved out to Portland Oregon with no job or place to live when I was 22. Shortly after finding an apartment, I got in contact with Brooke Geery at Yobeat. I was friends with Brooke’s younger sister Jenna at UVM, which I mentioned in my initial e-mail. Jenna apparently told her, “He’s not an idiot, and he’s good at rapping.” So Brooke made me freestyle rap on the spot during my interview, which I did, and I got the job because little known fact, I’m nice on the mic. From there on I just started creating content for them and would eventually be promoted to be their managing editor, where I had the freedom to do pretty much whatever I could pull together with the limited budget I had.

I left Yobeat in 2015 and have since been doing freelance work for a number of snowboarding entities.  I helped make Island Born, the Eiki Helgason documentary, I’ve MC’ed a couple premiere tours in Europe and have done some webcast announcing in Sweden as well. Currently, thanks to the help of Lobster Snowboards, I am working on my seventh episode of Last Resort.

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration?

Preston Strout has always been someone that I look up to because he has this amazing way of producing things that are the exact right balance of funny and “core snowboarding.” He never messes up the balance and he never goes too far.  I can’t say I know him super well, but I am a fan of what he does. Beyond that, I’m inspired by all the peoples opinions that I respect, and that’s too long of a list. I try and just channel what other people are thinking in snowboarding so there are a whole mess of people that inspire me. I am also inspired in the same way by peoples opinions that I don’t agree with, because then I am compelled to produce a cohesive counter argument. In fact, these people usually inspire me more. So, in one way or another, I am inspired by every single person I’ve met in the industry.

Suited up for Last Resort, selfie style.

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

My video with the most views is a bad lip-reading of Shaun White dropping out of Olympic slopestyle, but the world at large does not associate me with that video because it’s just my voice. For that reason, I would say my biggest impact is making a mock news show about snowboarding that depicts what we do in a more entertaining way than most media outlets.

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

That list is infinite. There are one million things that I would like to do RIGHT THIS SECOND in snowboarding that I haven’t done yet. My best stab at an answer is to help direct a video with some of my favorite boarder friends. Also, as either a separate project, or a bonus feature to the aforementioned snowboard movie, I’d like to make a rock opera with Brandon Cocard.

Anyone you’d like to thank?

Everybody that watches the show, everybody who has been in the show, my parents, Chelsea, Diggles, Halldor, Kristopher Hansson, shout out to Catfish for doing what he does, TWSNOW for including me in this list. Also, I wouldn’t be here without Brooke Geery letting me have the freedom to create but also putting me into uncomfortable positions that I wouldn’t have put myself in. I could go off and thank a million people right now, but I have a gushing thank you section in the credits of every Last Resort, so just look there and your name is probably somewhere. For real, I am thankful for a lot of people.

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Andrew Kelly: Vice President of Sales, Crab Grab – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Vice President of Sales, Crab Grab

Listen here, kids. If you’re reading this and you happen to live in a relatively mountain-less part of the country where it doesn’t snow all too often and you want to work in the snowboard industry, pay attention, because Andrew Kelly (or “AK” as his close confidants call him), is your shining example. Born in Korea and adopted by an American family in Maryland, AK fell in love with snowboarding at a young age, and he fought tooth and nail to continue to ride a snowboard for as long as is humanly possible, and currently, he is playing an intricate role in how snowboarding is presented to those who love it as much as he does…and that’s what we need more of. AK is a genuine one-in-a-million type of guy, and that’s precisely why snowboard luminary/comic/marketing genius Preston Strout and his wonderful wife Dawn picked him up and made him the frontman to their traction and mitten company Crab Grab. AK knows that he lives the good life and does what he loves, and if you ever get the chance to talk to him you’ll see that firsthand, but he knows business too, and he’s helping Crab Grab grow faster than a hydroponic Redwood tree as I type this. Keep an eye out for AK, because the kid’s going places and fast, mainly because anything this kid gets his hands on (or in) is bound to succeed.

—T. Bird

Representing at SIA. PHOTO: Taylor Boyd

What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.

It sounds cliché, but two days are never the same really. Working for a small, family-owned company, it’s all hands on deck. In the winter time, I’ll wake up early and check my email and get back to anything urgent. If conditions at Mt. Bachelor look good, I will catch first chair and ride for an hour or two. Then I’ll drink some green tea. Currently, my job involves overseeing all channels of sales distribution for Crab Grab. I spend time managing and supporting our international distributors and domestic sales reps. I work with our retailers who sell our products, manage our online store, and respond to any customer service requests. In between, I assist the owners with other areas of the business, including marketing, invoicing, shipping and receiving, forecasting, and even taking out the trash. Then I’ll drink more green tea.

 Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I was born somewhere in South Korea. At 4 months old I was adopted by a great family and grew up around the Baltimore, Maryland area. Currently Bend, Oregon and Mt. Bachelor are home.

How did you start snowboarding?

Growing up, one of my best friends was my nextdoor neighbor Tim. We went to different schools and I would go on his school snowboard bus trips every Friday night to the local hill. Through Tim I met my other best friend Joe and the 3 of us would go night riding every chance we got. We were around 16 at the time. My dad even ditched his skis and picked up snowboarding. Seeing my dad out there riding was pure happiness. Tim, Joe and I then met a bunch of other guys around our age at the local hill and the crew was set. We rode the smallest mountains in southern Pennsylvania. Catching first chair or following the weather report never mattered because conditions always sucked. Having a good time, trying new tricks, pushing each other and just being out there together was all that really mattered to us.

Doubles!! PHOTO: Toby Royce

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

My friends and I loved watching edits of guys like Tim Eddy, Chris Beresford and Scott Stevens as they looked like they were having the best time. Quickly, I fell in love with the positivity, attitude and lifestyle of snowboarding. I was (and still am) snowboarding’s biggest fan. In my day to day I would see people working their 9 to 5 business suit & tie jobs and they looked absolutely miserable. I remember thinking “Shit, I better figure something out.” Then in January 2008 TransWorld Snowboarding Volume 21 arrived in the mail. I was freshman in college and Bryan Fox was one of my favorite snowboarders. There was an article called “The Dirty Dozen” where Bryan was featured in an interview. After reading his interview something just clicked and I had a moment of realization that snowboarding would be my career somehow, someway. I guess from that moment on there was no going back.

 And how did you make that happen?

In high school I worked at a seafood crab restaurant. In my free time I would stop by my local snowboard shop and bug the crap out of the store manager until one day he handed me an application. The next day I quit my job at the crab restaurant and started my journey selling snowboards at Princeton Sports. My second year at the shop our K2 Snowboarding rep pulled me aside and asked if I would be interested in helping him out with a tradeshow. His name was Charlie Kiesa and he would become my mentor and boss for the next 6 years as I began to transition from the shop and work for his sales agency SandboxMetroplis, representing K2 Snowboarding, Ride Snowboards, Fallen & Blackbox Distribution, New Balance Numeric, Wend Wax and Beats By Dre in the Mid-Atlantic territory. My other partner in the agency was Paulie Yaremko and we also worked with Tony & Cathy Lincoln, representing Volcom and Electric. Man, I really owe them the world as they taught me so much. That summer of my sophomore year of college I made my next move. My friend worked at a ski resort in Australia the previous year and said, “Email this guy and you’ll get to snowboard in the summer.” I was sold. That guy was Dave Boyd and he hired me to work at a snowboard shop called The Board Lounge located at Falls Creek Mountain Resort. I was 19 and that experience really opened my perspective and helped me grow up. To this day I still use the management style I learned from Boydy. The crew down there really took great care of me and through that experience my friend Jeremy Burns became our Crab Grab distributor for Australia and New Zealand! From the age of 19 to 22 I would split my time going to college, being in snowboard shops, working as a sales rep and traveling to Australia. At this time High Cascade Snowboard Camp was paramount and sat at the heart of the snowboard industry. I knew if I wanted to take the next step in snowboarding I would have to go through there. I applied, interviewed and didn’t get the job. Then, as luck would have it, fate intervened on my behalf and Tanner McCarty and Dave Marx came to my rescue. Tanner had just taken over as the manager of the Demo Center at HCSC and my friends Matty B. and Greg Furey who worked at camp passed along a recommendation. Tanner took a chance and gave me a job. The High Cascade Demo Center “Screw Crew” was assembled, and from that moment on things would never be the same for the three of us.

My first year at HCSC was the first summer Preston Strout was not working as Camp Director. However, Preston and his wife Dawn ended up living in Government Camp and lived right across the street from my house. This was during the infant stage of Crab Grab. I remember emailing Preston to introduce myself and he replied, “Come stop by our place tonight and let’s chat all things everything.” That night I remember being the most nervous I’ve ever been. I walked over to their house but my nerves got the best of me and I ran back to my place where I bumped into my roommate Ben Bogart. He sensed my nervousness and called over my other two roommates, High Cascade coaches Greg Frayo and Nick Poplawski. They barricaded the door and said I wouldn’t be allowed back in the house until I spoke to Preston and Dawn. With that, I summoned what little courage I had, walked through the door and like they say, the rest is history.

It’s all heart with AK. PHOTO: Preston Strout

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

From the sales side I really look up to Johan Malkoski (C3), Mark Wakeling (Burton), and Ryan Bachman (ThirtyTwo). These guys are true leaders and have always gone out of their way to look out for me, listen and give the best advice. From a marketing side I’m inspired most by my friends Tanner McCarty (Ride), Dave Marx (Mervin), Riley Goodwin (Union) and Tom Johnson (K2). They are all so talented, smart, hard workers and I’m grateful to call them friends. Then there are guys like Java Fernandez (Stance) & Tom Monterosso (SNOWBOARDER Mag). They are truly committed to the cause and everything they touch turns to gold. Chris Luzier and Mat Galina are two friends who work in the industry and still snowboard more than anyone I know. That inspires me to get out and ride every chance I have. I’m inspired by Chris Beresford (Dang Shades) and Sean Genovese and Jeff Keenan (Dinosaurs Will Die). They are independently creating something special and snowboarding needs more of it.

Our Crab Grab sales reps and distributors inspire me daily. They are best of the best, and I truly believe their involvement is a huge competitive advantage towards the success of Crab Grab. I’m privileged to work with them.

I am inspired most by Preston and Dawn Strout, my bosses at Crab Grab. Preston is an incredible leader, thinker, and creative genius. Dawn is my hero, and there is no one I aspire more to be like than her. Working with them is a dream come true.

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

I think my biggest impact is my position and ability to give back to snowboarding. I think I’m the luckiest person in the world to work for a brand like Crab Grab. As an accessory brand it allows me to genuinely support the efforts of my friends who work for hardgoods brands throughout the industry. If my friend’s brands are doing well, in some sense that means Crab Grab is doing well. Their customers are my customers. It’s a win-win. With Crab Grab I enjoy having the ability to impact and improve the experience of snowboarders of all ability levels. From someone humbly learning to get off a chairlift that wants to keep their foot from slipping, to the best professional snowboarders in the world looking to get the most grip out of their grabs.

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

With Crab Grab there is still so much opportunity. It’s been great to see this brand flourish into something special and we are only just getting started. We have some things in the works that I believe will really turn heads. Until then, stay tuned…

Then there is Soy Sauce Nation, my Asian snowboard family. I’ve been humbled to see what started out as a joke, has blossomed into a supportive community for Asian snowboarders and skateboarders all over the world. I want to continue to share our message and grow our community. To all the non-Asians out there eager to join, get eye surgery. Then we’ll talk…

Oh, and I still need to land a frontside invert on transition!

Tradeshow good times with a fellow Soy Sauce Nation member. PHOTO: Laura Oka

Anyone you’d like to thank?

Thank you Lauren Russell, Travis Tomczak, Brian Zager, Andrew Garthoff, Alan Davis and Princeton Sports. Thank you Dave Boyd & my Falls Creek family. Thank you Sandboxmetropolis team along with all the other amazing sales reps and retailers in the Mid-Atlantic who lent a supportive and guiding path. Special thank you to my retail friends John Denicola, Dave Grella, & Big Al. Thank you Tanner McCarty, Dave Marx, The Screw Crew, & the rest of my High Cascade Snowboard Camp family. I love you guys. Thank you who ever invented soy sauce and Old Bay Seasoning. Shout out to my friends at Vintage Sponsor. Love to my Soy Sauce Nation family. Thank you to my Crab Grab family. Preston and Dawn Strout and Peanut. Thank you to all my friends I grew up snowboarding with. Lot Lizards for life! Thank you to my Mom, sister Olivia and the rest of my family. Most of all thank you Dad. Thank you for being my biggest supporter and fan. Thank you for adopting me and choosing me to be your son. I miss you so much. This is for you.

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Alex Andrews: Regional Sales and Marketing, Burton Snowboards – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Regional Sales and Marketing, Burton Snowboards

Widely regarded as today’s Frothfather, Alex Andrews is a literal nucleus of kinetic energy that is released into the atmosphere every single time he straps in, drops in, pedals his mountain bike, pushes his skateboard or generally partakes in just about anything. I can honestly say that I have never in my life seen someone so infectiously positive about anything they do, let alone everything they do, and after a stint as a pro snowboarder, Alex’s job now consists of bottling all that energy up and releasing it upon retailers and the general snowboarding public in order to fire people up about Burton Snowboards. Together with Dave Downing, Alex quite literally spreads the stoke and his gig takes him all over the globe, from rail contests in Japan to snowmobiling and frothing out in the Tahoe backcountry and all shred-centric locales in between. But he’s not just gallivanting around having a blast. Alex is focused on broader topics in the snowboard world, like sustainability in an age of drastic climate change, retention and growth rates for the general snowboarding public and board design, and I can’t think of anyone else that I would rather have in a position of that power an influence than my friend Alex. Froth on, Alex, and know that you inspire me to.

—T. Bird

Flying!

What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.

I work with sales and marketing at Burton. Big tasks are helping with sell in and sell through for the seasons. I also work with retailers all around the country on a regular basis. I do a lot of product demos and clinics with shops and reps, as well as any and most events we put on, or are a part of. I’m sometimes involved with product, but mostly for spitballing ideas. I also try to relay what I’m seeing at shops and territories around the country, hopefully to make our brand better suited for each zone.

Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I was born and raised in Ogden, Utah, but have lived in Salt Lake City, Utah for the past 10 years.

How did you start snowboarding?

Both my parents were snowboarders, which was rare, and my uncle worked at Powder Mountain in the ski shop. I started at 6 years old, and my family would go a few times a season when I was young, but I mostly backyard shredded, setting up small rails and jumps with friends around the neighborhood. We would watch videos and try to mimic what the pros were doing. Eventually, I started to ride the local resorts more often as I got older.

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry? 

For me I realized that snowboarding, skateboarding, biking, etc. were going to be a part of my life forever at a young age, but you know when you are in school and they ask you what you want to be or do in life? My answer was a snowboarder. I remember telling the junior high counselor that and followed it with, “How do I graduate high school as a fast as possible so I can snowboard everyday?” She set me up and I graduated a half year early! Literally, my motivation to do well in school was to get the hell out of there so I can do what I actually care about.

The man sure can put down a proper method.

And how did you make that happen?

Growing up I was obsessed with snowboarding and skateboarding. I would hang out at my local shop, Blindside, pretty much every day. They had a mini ramp in the shop. I would skate and became close with everyone that worked there. One of my good homies, Zak Nichols—who at the time was riding for companies and working at the shop—took me under his wing. This led to me getting my first free snowboard from a company called Galleon. This lasted a season or two and I was working at my dad’s small engine shop fixing and selling yard equipment year round during high school until I graduated. A small shop opened up near my house called Decade Snow and Skate and I approached them about a job and I worked there for a couple years, snowboarding before or after work almost everyday. I eventually started to get flow from Atomic Snowboards and a few other companies from working at the shop. I stayed in Ogden for a couple seasons shredding and working, but eventually I wanted to make the move to Salt Lake so I could shred Brighton and be more involved with the local scene. I quit my job at the shop and started working at a sushi restaurant in Salt Lake making pretty good money and shredding everyday. I got connected with the local Burton rep Josh Fisher who put me on the Burton flow program, which at the time was called “NOW” (New World Order). I ended up meeting a group of friends who were from all around the country who moved to Salt Lake to snowboard and go to college. Eddie Grams being one of them, who was stoked to pick up a camera and push us for his movie projects. That led to Variety Pack, which was our film crew for a few epic seasons! All of us were driven and inspired by our peers to film video parts and chase the dream of being a pro snowboarder. The Burton gig turned into the Knowbuddy program, which I was on for a bit until one day while I was driving to a spot, I got a call from Jeremy Jones. I pulled over and was shaking, stumbling my words. I had never met or talked to him, but he was obviously one of my idols. He asked if I could go on a trip with Burton, and basically that was my chance to prove myself. He by far has been one of the biggest influences in my life. I rode professionally for 3-4 years with Burton and Analog. I filmed video parts and attempted to do some rail contests. It was by far some of the best years of my life. Dave Downing and I grew close over those years, He was heavily involved with both brands, but Analog was our baby and we both loved being a part of that family. So one nice summer day I’m working at my dad’s small engine shop and get a call from the Burton Team Manager, who tells me that Burton isn’t going to continue my contract as a professional snowboarder…but If I was interested, I had an opportunity to work with the brand under Dave and the sales team. It didn’t take me long to realize that having the opportunity to work with one of my childhood idols and all-around badass was a no brainer! It’s been about 5 years since then and I still continue to work with Burton and the sales team. I have grown and learned so much about the industry from Dave and the Burton team. The experience is something I’m very grateful for and plan to keep working hard for!

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

My inspiration and life decisions were basically because of Mack Dawg, Kingpin, F.O.D.T, Robot Food, and other videos. I would also obsess over the magazines. These productions shaped who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I looked up to so many riders, and was especially influenced by local Utah legends such as Jeremy Jones, Seth Huot, Marc Frank Montoya, etc. Currently, I look up to people like Dave, and JG from Burton Snowboards, who continually show me that age and passion for the shred is unstoppable! I also look up to Jake and Donna Carpenter who have fought and continued to stay true to snowboarding even in the toughest of times. I’m also inspired by others in the industry like the fine folks at Drink Water and P.O.W. I’m also inspired by all the riders who have taken the chance and risk to start their own companies. I think it’s important to have the right people for the right reasons running our sport.

The king of stoke leads the pack.

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

This is a tough question because I try to stay humble, but I just want to inspire people! I want people to get outside and snowboard, make something out of nothing, or take in and enjoy those times when it’s epic. When it comes down to it in my line of work, I always remind myself that we sell and promote snowboarding, surfing the earth! It’s not just fun, but something that can shape a person’s life. For me, I just hope to leave a positive impression when I shred and work with people that we are so fortunate to do what we do!

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

Personally with my snowboarding, I would like to educate myself and ride more backcountry. I’m addicted to learning the mountains and exploring! As far as the snowboard industry goes, I would like to help with a few changes that I personally think need attention; one being climate change. I personally would like to be more proactive about this and help others as well. Another is participation. In this day and age it’s ridiculous what it costs to go snowboarding with your friends or family. I’ve dabbled with some ideas on how we can make it more cost effective for people to get into or continue snowboarding. Another is local shops. I would like to help with the continuation of these amazing places and try to find ways from a brand standpoint on how we can support these shops and help get customers in their doors. It’s important for snowboarding to have local shops that can help shape the snowboard community around them. The last thing is I want to move into the mountains permanently!

Anyone you’d like to thank? 

Yes, first and foremost is my parents and fiancé for being such radical humans! I’d like to thank all my friends from the old Blindside days, Decade Snow and Skate, the Variety Pack crew, everyone from Burton Snowboards (shout out JG, Zach Nigro, Mark Wakeling), the old Analog crew, Videograss, Four Horsemen Agency, Josh Fisher, Trevor Brady, Bolts Action squad, Jeremy Jones, Seth Huot, Tonino, Jake Hobbs, Jared Winkler and the Brighton crew, everyone at Bonezone, Powder Mountain boys, Loren Brinton. But I really owe a lot to Dave Downing for his continued support and knowledge. He is a true legend. There are so many more people I would like to thank, but you know who you are and I’m so fortunate and grateful to have had your influence in my life! Cheers and froth on!

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Tom Johnson: Marketing Manager, K2 Snowboarding – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Marketing Manager, K2 Snowboarding

Tommy Johnson, aptly dubbed by his friends simply as Tommy J, is an old soul east coaster that prides himself on the heritage that is associated with being a New Englander. He’s worked damn hard to get where he is, taken advantage of every opportunity placed in front of him, and wholeheartedly appreciates everyone who has helped him along the way, and quite simply, he’s the type of guy that is perfect for the snowboard industry at this very moment in time. Growing up in New Hampshire and switching from skiing to snowboarding at a young age, Tommy J came up through the east coast sales rep scene, bounced around from gig to gig for a bit and finally landed smack dab on the front door of K2 Snowboards, where he was hired on as the Marketing Manager in May of this year. Tommy now oversees all marketing aspects for the brand and he’s set to make some serious moves in the coming months and years, and the choices he makes in the near future will surely affect snowboarding for years to come, and I personally couldn’t be happier to write that. Well done, Tommy. You earned it, man. But you know that already. And you appreciate it. That’s what makes you a significantly awesome dude.

—T. Bird

What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job. 

I’m still getting settled, so I don’t know if I’ve found out what a “typical” day looks like yet but the best part of my position here at K2 is that the role is a bit nebulous. In this position I get to work with the engineers on the product side, the design team on the graphics and aesthetic side, the sales team to make sure we’re hitting trends and getting quality product to market, and work with our team riders to get product feedback, drive innovation, create content, and make sure we’re helping push snowboarding in a good direction.

 Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I’m originally from southern New Hampshire but I currently live and work in beautiful Seattle, Washington.

How did you start snowboarding?

I started snowboarding the way that most New Englanders do I think, because I wasn’t into skiing. Skiing is such a tradition in the Northeast and I was super fortunate to grow up skiing with my parents. Around age 8 I really discovered skateboarding, and that made my switch to snowboarding a no-brainer. I believe that I made my first turns at Nashoba Valley, which was about 30 minutes from my folks’ house.

Crailsliding his way into snowboarding history books. PHOTO: Marco Malley

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

I think the tipping point for me was spending seemingly endless hours at Eastern Boarder, both on and off the clock. Through the shop I developed relationships with sales representatives for skateboarding’s and snowboarding’s top brands, met tons of pro riders, and learned how to help a customer through conversation. It was never about pushing product, it was about getting people into the gear that was right for them. In those years I made friendships with customers and shop rats that are still intact today.

I owe pretty much everything to Eastern Boarder. Earl, Fiske, Marty, Herb, Spike, Bub, Pat, Spada, Mac, Colin, Steve, Tabor, I owe all of you the world…and a couple drinks.

And how did you make that happen?

Apologies in advance on the length. Brian Fiske and Earl Verrier took me under their wing at Eastern Boarder in 2006. I worked at the shop (and hung out way too much, sorry guys) until the summer of 2011. From there I started working under Paul Danchak and his sales agency, Ubiquity, in the northeast. I got to meet some incredible people, work with some amazing brands, and spend my days with top-tier retailers. We worked ourselves to the bone because we wanted to. I loved every single minute of it. I can’t thank Paul and his wife Jackie enough for giving me guidance and freedom and making me feel like family. Love you, Danchak family. After departing from Ubiquity in the end of 2014 and moving to the Northwest, I landed at a role at We Are Camp (parent company for High Cascade Snowboard Camp and Windells Camp) where I oversaw Social Media and Digital Content for both brands. I then transitioned into a Marketing Director position, overseeing all aspects of snowboarding, skateboarding, and BMX marketing for both brands. There is really nothing more rewarding after all of that hard work than seeing 150+ young snowboarders and skateboarders having the time of their lives. I came on board at K2 in late May of 2017 and it’s super humbling to work in a building with such a talented group of people. I’ve always been a huge fan of what K2 has done as a brand and think that Hunter Waldron and the team here has done such an incredible job helping to evolve the brand in an ever-changing marketplace. From the approachable aesthetic, the quality of product, the ability to help drive traffic to retail, and to bring unique shapes to the market, I think K2 has done an incredible job and I couldn’t be more excited to come to work every day.

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

I feel so honored to say that the people I’ve looked up to most over the last ten years are my friends. Inspiration and stoke overlap pretty heavily for me and the list is more than extensive, so I won’t go too deep. I’ll give a special shout out to Earl Verrier, Paul Danchak, Matt Jagemann, Mark Wakeling, Rob Pontes, Preston Strout, and Tanner McCarty. On a personal level, I’ve always loved what the guys at Deluxe have done for skateboarding and love what Pontus Alv has done with Poler. Those brands create quality content, drive demand at retail, and pay homage to the past while always looking forward. Again, there are way too many retailers, people, and brands to mention, but we’re surrounded by inspiring things in the “action sports” world.

Skating since he was a young gun. PHOTO: Marco Malley

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

It goes without saying that the winter sports business is susceptible to ups and downs due to weather-related issues, but I do think that the largest impact on marketing has been social media. This has changed the way that customers get their information, take in their content, and interact with brands. Social media is no longer just photos on a screen. It’s part of a cohesive plan, it’s customer service, and it’s an arm out to an engaged audience.

 What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

This is a crazy one. I’m not fully sure how to answer this. I can just say that I’m very excited to work with such a talented group of people here at K2 and can’t wait to see what we can do with this brand in the years to come. The in-house team is so talented, and the list of team riders and athletes are some of the best in the game.

 Anyone you’d like to thank?

There are too many people to thank, so I will send out a couple of blanket, “Thank Yous.”

Thank you to everyone that has ever purchased a skateboard, snowboard, or surfboard from your local shop.

Thank you to every retailer that has supported this industry and stuck to your guns.

Thank you if we’ve shared a lap together on the hill or a couple of scratches when skating.

Thank you to everyone that’s given me a chance and believed in me enough to give me these incredible opportunities.

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Dylan Trewin: Sales Rep, DWD, Volcom, ThirtyTwo, Brixton – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Sales Rep, RCW Sales

Birthdate: July 1st, 1993

Growing up among the SnoCon family in Seattle laid the foundation for Dylan Trewin’s authentic vision of snowboarding. One of the most genuine people I know, this trait serves him well in his role as a sales rep for Volcom, ThirtyTwo, Brixton, Dinosaurs Will Die, Salmon Arms, and Dang Shades. His enthusiastic interactions with retailers and consumers are natural and legitimate, and his prioritization of authenticity carries through to the accounts and brands he works with, helping to ensure that the snowboard industry remains in the hands of snowboarders. It should come as no surprise then that Dyl is also quite talented on-hill, as his love for snowboarding is what got him into this industry to begin with and what will keep him around for the long haul.

— Taylor Boyd

Slob air at Hood. PHOTO: Sean Roley

What is your current title and what does your job entail?

I’m a sales rep for RCW Sales, LLC. We represent Volcom, ThirtyTwo, and Brixton in the Rockies territory, and I also independently represent Dinosaurs Will Die Snowboards, Salmon Arms Gloves and Dang Shades. My days are always changing, depending on the season. In the winter months I’m usually driving around the Rockies territory—Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Las Vegas and Wyoming—visiting shops and hanging with the staff and giving informational snow clinics talking about the new product. I also spend a lot of time at regional shows and on-hill demos. In the summertime I’m usually showing apparel or in the office and skateboarding in the evening.

Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

My roots are in Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle, Washington. Now I’ve set up shop in Salt Lake City.

How did you start snowboarding?

I started skateboarding when I was 11 years old, and in Seattle there are more rainy days than sunny days, so it just made sense to head to the mountains and snowboard. My dad was a ski bum in the 70’s and always wanted to take us up to the mountains and when I showed interest in snowboarding, he started taking me up to the Snoqualmie Pass and actually picked up snowboarding himself. In high school I met Jesse Gouveia, Garrett Read, Bo Valencia, Riley Goodwin, and Ben Maki, and that’s when we really got into snowboarding. We were on the mountain riding park or pow every weekend, just crashing at Bo’s house. It’s like we never made plans because we all knew what we were doing that weekend in the winter.

More than sales representation for Dinosaurs Will Die. PHOTO: Sean Genovese

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

Right after high school I started working at Snowboard Connection—RIP to the best shop—and I would always see sales reps, team riders, and other people involved with the brand coming into the store and doing events. Observing what these guys were doing just appealed to me, and the SnoCon crew was great about to introducing their employees to the industry. It became a natural transition from shop employee to another role in the industry.

And how did you make that happen?

After working at SnoCon, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but was already riding DWD boards and getting to know Sean [Genovese] and Jeff [Keenan] more. I knew they needed a rep in the Rockies, so I took a chance and packed up and moved to SLC. I soon meet Randy Walker—the Rockies’ principal rep for Volcom, Brixton, and ThirtyTwo—and his crew and found an awesome portfolio of companies to rep for.

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

Jeff and Sean at DWD are my biggest inspirations. When I started working with them at the ripe age of 21, part of me asked myself, “What the hell are you doing?” Then Sean explained that Jeff and him started DWD when they were that age and that despite how crazy it can be at times, they’ve made it work and couldn’t be happier with their path. As well, they’re some of the some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met.

Shacked in Jackson. PHOTO: Taylor Boyd

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

My roots are with working with shops similar to SnoCon—the core, brick and mortar, or whatever you want to call it. I want to support shops like these because they’re the lifeblood of our industry, but I also enjoy the challenge and excitement of working with big accounts.

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

It would be rad to work in-house with a brand. I have always considered being a team manager or in a position that would allow me to travel with brands and their teams. I think I have a good grasp on the struggles that riders feel with filming, injuries, etc. but I’d like to think I understand the business aspect as well.

 Anyone you’d like to thank?

John Logic and Adam Gerken at Snowboard Connection, Sean Genovese and Jeff Keenan at Dinosaurs Will Die, Randy Walker, Brent Lantz at Volcom, Mike Lawson, Aaron Alferos, Stevan Johnson at Brixton, Ryan Bachman and Brain Cook at Thirtytwo, and my family and friends.

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Colton Feldman: Filmer – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Filmer

Birth date: 6/17/91

Colton Von Feldman is part of the new guard of East Coast initiates for whom cold corduroy and cold beers were ingrained in their upbringing as much as the standard New England snowboarding heritage of shred films and shit talking. His path to becoming a well-respected filmmaker was never lined with networking and LinkedIn recommendations; it was crafted out of the things he liked to spend time doing and the people he liked to spend time doing them with. Ultimately, that led to a heralded residence behind the lens as one of the founders of Keep the Change, an inimitable band of (at the time) up and coming ams whose penchant for prolific street boarding and unflagging park chops caught the attention of the snowboarding community like a swift punch to the gut. At the time, Colton was living in New Hampshire, riding Waterville Valley and filming PSU cohorts like Mike Ravelson, Dylan Dragotta and Johnny O’Connor. His first full length, the homie movie, Dump Em, was a standout, loaded with really good snowboarding and an understated aesthetic. Shortly thereafter, Keep the Change was born, a collaborative effort between friends that eventually became linked with highly esteemed film crew, Videograss. In a volatile and shifting landscape of media, video, Instagram, etc., Colton is an individual who has remained true to the idea that proper snowboarding speaks for itself, unflagging in his commitment to the friends he rose through the ranks with and continuously putting out good videos, whether loaded park edits or full parts. As he continues to put his stamp on the snowboarding film canon, we will be sure to keep watching.

– Mary Walsh

Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I grew up in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and currently live in Portland, Oregon.

Working magic on em. PHOTO: Danny Kern

How did you start snowboarding?

I learned how to snowboard at Waterville Valley with my older brother.

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

I really just had fun filming with my friends. I never felt the need to be working in the industry, that just naturally happened.

And how did you make that happen?

My brother and I filmed each other growing up. We would film everything. We were very inspired by the Grenade films and CKY. I made a movie called Dump Em that I guess was the first “full” video to get recognized. I uploaded a lot of videos to a website called Reelcomp—it’s not around anymore, but it was crazy. I remember Roobs [Matt Roberge] was on there and would make cool videos. After Dump Em, I lived in Plymouth, NH. There was a big scene there with guys like Dylan Dragotta, Skylar Brent, Mike Rav, JOC, CSM and others. We all started Keep the Chang together, along with Rob Balding who lived in SLC at the time with Johnny Brady, and Mark Wilson who was living in Minnesota. Skylar made the Loonatics series based at Loon Mountain, while Rob and I went on the majority of the trips for the first KTC video. I Facebook messaged our full video to Joe Carlino. At the time he was working for Videograss. He was hyped and put us in contact with Justin Meyer. VG connected KTC with everyone and it blew up.

All smiles during a day in the office. PHOTO: Danny Kern

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

Last year I got the opportunity to work with Jake Durham on the Adidas project 3 AM. We put so much time into that one and I’m happy with how that turned out.

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

 Anyone you’d like to thank?

I wouldn’t have been to the places I’ve gone without my brother, my mom, Mark Wilson, Tommy Gesme, Derrek Lever, Justin Meyer, Dylan Dragotta, Mike Rav, Johnny O’Connor, Nick Doucette, Cole St. Martin, Taco, Parker Szumowski, Dave Steigerwald, Big Mike, Skylar Brent, Rob, Ben Bilodeau, Kyle Martin, Mocha Boys, Riley Nickerson, Johnny Brady, Raleigh Butler, Keeks, Tanktop, Craig Cameron, Zander Blackmon, Roobs. Idk, a bunch of others. A lot of people have helped and I am thankful for where I am today.

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Zach Nigro: Brand Manager, Burton Snowboards – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Brand Manager, Burton Snowboards

Birth date: 10.27.89

Zach Nigro has been a staple at 80 Industrial, the renowned HQ of Burton Snowboards in Burlington, Vermont, since he was in college. What began as an internship nearly a decade ago has evolved into a role as Brand Manager, in which Zach collaborates closely with coworkers, riders, media, and more to put plans into action. It’s an influential role that fits Zach perfectly, drawing heavily on his love of riding, his attention to detail, and his intimate knowledge of the ever-changing grassroots side of snowboarding. Nigro arrived in BVT after developing an inclination for going down inclines while growing up in Connecticut, migrating to the Green Mountains to attend college and setting his sights on fostering his love of snowboarding in a work environment surrounded by like-minded peers. Nigro’s analytical nature and fine-tuned collaborative ability are an asset professionally, but it’s also these traits, along with a sharp, dry wit that have made the VT local a well-respected constituent of the greater community. He has a knack for identifying talented individuals even before their names are internet mainstays and has put countless hours into both the Knowbuddy and Kilroy teams. With plenty of years left to continue to make an impact, Nigro has already established that he’s a natural at creating meaningful marketing programs that have snowboarding’s best interest in mind. He’s great to collaborate with on projects, but also an ideal companion to corroborate with over a drink after a long day on hill, because even after the work is done, Zach doesn’t hang up his snowboard gear; he’s always boots on the ground, ready for what’s next—the definition of a person well deserving of a spot on this 30-Under-30 list.

– Mary Walsh

Making those important phone calls. PHOTO: Gabe L’Heureux

Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I am originally from Simsbury, Connecticut, but now call Burlington, Vermont home.

How did you start snowboarding?

My first time snowboarding was with my Dad when I was twelve years old. We were both skiers and one day we decided to rent a few snowboards. After day one I never looked back.

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

During high school I became captivated with spending time in the mountains and my father was also representing Burton at the time. I had the opportunity to hang out and meet people who worked in the industry. Once I was exposed to the lifestyle they lived, I was hooked and wanted to follow my passion for snowboarding and to ride as much as possible. It allowed me to combine my interest in traveling with having the opportunity to make a positive impact on the snowboarding community.

The homies are pumped as Nigro gets some action. PHOTOL: Gabe L’Heureux

And how did you make that happen?

During high school I started looking at colleges in Burlington, Vermont. I knew I wanted to be within close proximity to the mountains and near a brand I could potentially work for in the future. I moved to Burlington in the fall of 2008 to pursue my undergraduate degree at Champlain College, with a goal to work for Burton and snowboard as much as possible. I ended up landing an internship a few months later with the bindings team at Burton and learned about the product side of the business including prototyping and product lifecycles.

From 2008 to 2011, I transitioned from working part time as a bindings intern to working in marketing as a brand assistant. It was a pivotal shift in my career because I was positioned to gain further experience and exposure by working cross-functionally with multiple departments. By the time I graduated college, I had invaluable experience with product and marketing and I was promoted to Brand Coordinator. In this role, I worked with the Brand Manager and Brand Director to facilitate the execution of all Go-To-Market initiatives. In 2015, I was promoted to Brand Manager.

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

I continue to look up to colleagues and leaders at Burton. My original inspirations were watching my favorite riders and the people who created iconic content and marketing programs that have stuck with me over the years.

Hey, Zach! PHOTO: Blotto

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

I feel fortunate to have been able to contribute to many projects over the years at Burton. Anything from the Knowbuddy program to formulating the company’s 40th year anniversary marketing campaign. Most recently working on the team that’s taking “Step On” to market this fall.

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

I want to continue to evolve as a person and work towards being in a position to help make decisions that promote the lifestyle of the sport that I truly love and know.

 Anyone you’d like to thank?

I’d like to thank my Mom, Dad, and brother Michael, my girlfriend Kaitlyn, and snowboarding.

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Theo Muse: Film Director, TransWorld SNOWboarding – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Film Director, TransWorld SNOWboarding

 Birthdate: 7/12/1991

Directing a feature-length snowboard film is a heavy undertaking. You’re responsible for everything—rider selection, visual direction, filming, managing other filmers, checking in with riders, organizing footage, editing, licensing music, finding premiere venues, and every minute detail in between. At 22, around the time most kids are graduating college and stumbling into the world trying to figure out what to do with their lives, Theo was three major projects deep with Rome and embarking on his first director role with TransWorld—a film called Origins. Following that, he directed last year’s full-length TW release, Insight—plus 30 webisodes to accompany it. Theo is sitting down the hall from me buried in the final editing stages of his third TransWorld film. He’s probably going to pop his head in soon proposing some sort of weekend party plan, ’cause the dude just turned 26 and can’t say no to a good time.

— Taylor Boyd

Filming majestically in a winter wonderland.

Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I’m originally from New Mexico, currently reside in sunny Southern California.

How did you start snowboarding?

I started skiing when I was quite young in New Mexico. I remember the mountain wouldn’t let you ride a snowboard until you were 10 years old, I think, so as soon as I turned 10 I switched over to snowboarding.

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

Honestly, at first I wanted to become a snowboarder—classic filmer sentence. It wasn’t until later that I got interested in video and working on that side of the lens.

And how did you make that happen?

I moved to Utah when I was 17 and started working as a snowboard instructor, trying to ride as much as possible on my off time, and my on time. It was funny because I had zero interest in filming snowboarding at that time; what led me down that path was a series of injuries. I broke my wrist one winter, and I remember I took all the painkillers and just chilled out on my couch for a month while it healed. When it was nearly ready to go I went back out snowboarding and on the first day I fell and re-broke my wrist. With another month of recovery on the horizon I decided that I wasn’t going to do nothing again so as soon as I got a new cast on I starting riding but holding my friends old GL2. It was almost more as insurance to prevent myself from getting too excited and hurting my wrist again. Since then I pretty much always have a camera in my hands when I’m riding—maybe still as insurance because I put the camera down and took a few laps this past March and broke my wrist again.

But as I was starting to film, my friend Ozzy Henning was getting super good at snowboarding, and I just starting following him around Park City. We made some funny, weird videos that I guess people liked. From there, he got sponsored by Rome Snowboards, and I kind of slid in and started doing video work for them. I did three projects for them and they were all incredible learning experiences. Those guys were the best. If we came up with some crazy concept for a video project they’d always be down. After that, Transworld reached out to me to direct their upcoming film and that’s that. Now I’m finishing up my third film with Transworld, called Arcadia.

Very chill and always ready to party, even when he’s working. PHOTO: Toni Kerkela

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

There were a lot of people. Isenseven films and anything Vincent Urban did were definitely huge inspirations.

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

I’m not sure; I like to take these things as they come. One thing that I would really like to happen is to never stop doing work within snowboarding. My path working with video is still just starting, and as I move forward and what I’m doing evolves I never want to forget that snowboarding got me here in the first place.

Anyone you’d like to thank?

Oh shit yeah—everyone that I’ve crossed paths with! Huge shoutout to the old Park City crew, everyone at Rome Snowboards, and everyone at Transworld Snowboarding. Thank you, really.

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Jenna Kuklinski: Marketing Promotions Manager, Nikita and Bonfire – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Marketing Promotions Manager, Nikita and Bonfire

Birthdate: 03/28/1989

Jenna Kuklinski stepped into a team manager role with Bonfire at an interesting time. The brand had recently undergone an ownership change and with it, the entire existing team had been let go. What she did was put together a group of dudes who represent snowboarding at its core level then rented an RV and took them all on a team bonding trip. Managing a group of sponsored snowboarders is tougher than one might imagine—and I hate to bring gender into this, but the reality is that being female doesn’t make it any easier. But there are a few things that help in a TM role—organizational skills, ability to be authoritative, and talent on a snowboard—and Jenna possesses all three. Beyond her role as a cat herder, Jenna is also responsible for a variety of brand marketing activities for both Bonfire and Nikita, and she wears those multiple hats well.

— Taylor Boyd

Bonfire team bonding! PHOTO: Shaun Daley

What is your current title and what does your job entail?

My current title is Marketing Promotions Manager at Nikita and Bonfire. I take care of the social media and content generation, manage the team and ambassadors we work with through the brands, conceptualize and carry out brand events and activations, and whatever loose ends that need tying up for marketing. It’s never the same, it’s never boring, and I’d say I only have to work at a desk about 70% of the time

Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I grew up in Western Massachusetts between two small towns, Charlemont and Shelburne Falls. After I graduated High School, I wanted to get as far away from home as possible. A friend of mine told me about this place called Portland, so I applied to a college out there and moved. I hated it at first but made myself stick through a year of living there, and after that I was hooked. I’d been living there just up until about a month ago when work asked me to move down to our office in Santa Ana. My only experience with Southern California was a layover I had one time in LAX, but my track record with moving to places I know nothing about has been pretty good so far, so I figured why not try it out. I haven’t regretted it yet.

How did you start snowboarding?

There was a hill ten minutes away from the house I grew up in called Berkshire East. My dad was an ex-ski bum of sorts and he got my sister and I into skiing when we really young, then when I was 14 I joined the ski racing team, and on my second race I blew my knee out. The next season I skipped the race team and decided to start teaching instead, but because I was the youngest instructor on the staff I never got sent any lessons. To kill time, my friend and I would take rental snowboards out and try to make it down the hill. Eventually I was able to link turns and I guess the mountain was super short-staffed on snowboard instructors, because as soon as I’d made it past falling leaf, they gave me a kid to teach how to snowboard. On that first snowboard lesson I ever taught I made the kid take the lift up in front of me because I still couldn’t get off the lift without falling and was afraid I’d fall getting off and crush him. I didn’t and the kid seemed to have a pretty fun day, so it all worked out.

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

I think I realized I wanted to work in the snowboard industry when I saw that it was a real possibility. I started snowboarding because it’s a fun thing to do, but the longer I did it, the more involved I got and the more people I met who actually had, “real” jobs working for snowboard companies. Seeing that gave me the drive to see how far I could make it myself.

Holding it down at Mt. Baker’s LBS. PHOTO: Shaun Daley

And how did you make that happen?

Wow. Ok. I’ve never been on one direct path with this, so here we go- I’ll do my best to break it down.

First off, I liked snowboarding, so I kept doing it. Like I mentioned before, I was a snowboard instructor when I was 16, then when I was in Portland I helped run the PSU Snowboard club for a year. From there I volunteered with the Greasebus for several years and got a job at Next Adventure for one season, then US Outdoor Store for a few years doing everything from selling climbing gear to goggles and gloves to working in shipping and receiving to starting an Instagram for the snowboard department. During that time, I got an internship with Salomon and Bonfire, and after that I got a job as a counselor at High Cascade; between there I had met Brooke Geery and told her I wanted to write for her and Yobeat, so she would let me pitch her pieces and tell me to write ones that she liked. I never got paid, but I didn’t care.

On top of this, my friend Jen Minor and I started making edits of the ridiculous trips we would go on, and then one winter we did a two-and-a-half month-long road trip, blogging and posting about the whole thing. That’s where I got more familiar with social media and realized how fun it was for me, but I still didn’t think of it as anything more than something fun I did with my friend. I remember I saw Pat Bridges some time after that trip and he was like, “You do social media.” I was like… “Yeah, I guess that’s what I’m doing.” Things seemed to be working, so I kept running with it.

Anyway, from there I kept trying to do more and more media and written pieces; I got to go to Ms. Superpark and write a piece for Mary about it, which was a dream come true for me. After that, another friend hit me up to go to Japan for a month and blog about it, so I did that too and we slept in the basement of this bed and breakfast trading random labor for the room. There was a propane heater in that room that ran all night, and we would wake up every morning feeling like shit. Pretty sure there’s some rule out there about not sleeping in a basement room with a propane heater running.

During that same winter, I wrote some pieces for High Cascade highlighting my favorite campers at the time (shout out to Chili Graves and Christian Sparks) and that summer worked in office doing all of the blog, email newsletters, Twitter and Facebook for camp. I resigned early because of unfortunate circumstances that summer, (story for another time) and suddenly didn’t know what to do. I moved back to Portland and got a job as a part-time after school art teacher with this non-profit. The kids were cool, but the job sucked and I was beyond broke. My friend Eva was a rep for Nikita during this time, and one day she hit me up to let me know Nikita was hiring a paid intern. It was only guaranteed for 30 days at a time, but it was full-time and I’d get minimum wage.

I jumped at the chance, interviewed for it, quit my art teaching job the next day and started the internship by the end of the week. Two months after I started, Nikita and Bonfire were bought by a new parent company and the owners offered me a full-time salaried position as marketing assistant. I called my dad immediately and may or may not have cried over the phone to him about it. I’ve had one promotion from there, but otherwise that puts me right to where I’m at now.

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

Mostly I look to my friends, because they’re the people I’ve gravitated towards anyway and want to learn from. The people who put passion first, but back it up with some strong take-down power and discipline to actually make their ideas come to life. Anyone who’s doing what they want to do and isn’t worried about the rest of the pack, that’s who I look to for inspiration.

A genuine love for snowboarding and people is what keeps Jenna going every day. PHOTO: Amanda Hankison

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

Honestly I think the biggest impact I’ve had so far is being a female in my position. I don’t like to call it out, but the reactions I’ve had when telling people I was the Bonfire team Manager—yes, for the guys—have been the biggest of any I’ve ever had. I’ve gotten more wide-eyed responses than I can count. It’s not just the team management aspect of the job, but the rest of my job too. There aren’t a lot of females working industry positions, and to be able to have worked up to where I am now with my peers is cool.

 What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

So much. I want to make sure that we stay true to who we are, that snowboarding is for snowboarding and the people who are out there pursuing their passions get noted. I still feel that there needs to be more balance brought to things between everyone in the industry, and I have to say that one of the main reasons I’ve stuck to this path is because I want to help make a difference in how females are represented in the industry. Before I go any further on this, let me say I’m not perfect. I’ve been shut down by higher-ups on things that centered around this topic, and I didn’t throw a huge fit. I like to think it’s because I’m trying to make sure I’m in this for the long haul, but I also have to say that it’s hard to fight against that every step of the way. I don’t have the perfect answer on how to solve the problem of girls having to be athlete models and also work with not getting travel budget or sponsorships, but I believe that the more representation we have of real females who love what they do, the more people will realize it’s the right direction. We need to change what the public wants and also make sure that the values start with us. I hope that’s not too preachy, I hate whenever I feel like someone’s telling me what to do. But it’s what I hope to do in my career, and it’s an uphill battle, so the more it gets talked about the better.

Anyone you’d like to thank?

Rian Rhoe, Amy Eichner, Kevin Stevenson, Nirvana Ortanez, Amanda Hankison, Kasey Sheldon, Brooke Geery, Mike Parziale, Chris and Eddie Barnhart, Eva Hume, Vicki Vasil, Fergus Coffey, Jen Minor, Taylor Boyd, Pat Bridges, Mary Walsh, my mom, my dad, my sister, Tim Swart and Robert Meyers, and anyone who’s ever said yes to me about an idea.

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Jake Black: School Program Manager, Protect Our Winters – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

School Program Manager, Protect Our Winters

Birthdate: 05/24/1988

Perhaps more than anyone else on the list of young go-getters, Jake Black is making an impact—not in the sense of signing riders or executing marketing campaigns, but affecting change that has the potential to influence our world, not just Boardworld. After phasing out of a competitive snowboard career, Jake has taken a job with Protect our Winters. Putting to use the degree in sustainable studies he earned while balancing a simultaneously rigorous contest schedule, he is doing much more than his part in working toward making snowboarding a thing people might actually be able to do in the latter part of this century. As he’s settled into this role, Jake hasn’t slipped on his board, spending more and more time on foot-powered backcountry missions outside of Aspen, the town he now calls home. If you see Black’s name on a banked slalom roster, know you’re competing for second. It’s been the Año de Negro for a few years now, with no sign of the Fastest Man in Colorado letting up.

— Taylor Boyd

What’s your title, and what do you do?

My title is School Program Manager for Protect Our Winters (POW). I coordinate school assemblies all over North America to middle and high school students to talk about climate change, the science behind it, and how we can all be a part of the solution in creating positive climate solutions at home and around the world. The program is called Hot Planet Cool Athletes, and we bring professional snowboarders, skiers, climbers, explorers, fishermen, etc. to schools to talk to the students about their firsthand experiences with climate change and real tangible solutions to not only reduce our carbon footprint, but to also improve the economy, create jobs and keep the powder days coming.

Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I grew up in Keystone, Colorado and now live in Aspen, Colorado.

How did you start snowboarding?

I started skiing when I was starting to walk you could say. Then I saw snowboarding; I was fascinated with it and had to give it a go. I was seven years old then, and my mom talked to Steve Link from Summit Snowboards, and he used some scraps from the shop to rig together his first kids’ snowboard. I later headed up to A-Basin, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Frontside air at Loveland Pass. PHOTO: Chad Otterstrom

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

Honestly, I never had an ‘aha moment’, but snowboarding taught me so much and gave me such appreciation for the outdoors, taking care of myself, setting goals, humility, freedom of expression, friendships and a lifelong passion, that I wanted to find a way to give back to the world that gave me my identity.

And how did you make that happen?

I was competing all over in halfpipe and slopestyle events—Dew Tour, Grand Prix, and US Open. I was enjoying the ride but craving a balance between physical and mental stimulation. So I started going to Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge to get my associate’s degree with the intention to transfer to University of Colorado Boulder. I would go to school in the fall and some summers, then travel and compete throughout the winter. I loved the atmosphere of the small classes and intimate education at CMC, so when the school started to offer a new Bachelor of Arts in Sustainable Studies, I jumped at the opportunity. My life in the mountains led me toward a conservationist mentality and a degree in sustainability aligned with that. To say the least, I was as fascinated with my schooling as I was with my snowboarding. I was exposed to some of the world’s greatest hardships, most creative problem solvers and solutions—some tangible, some moonshots—that not only protect the environment but also benefit the economy and the equity of people.

I was inspired and wanted to learn more—more questions, more ideas, more solutions. So I began freelance writing for magazines like TransWorld Business, Frequency, and Snowboard Mag, along with a few newspapers to spark the conversation of sustainability within the snow sports industry. Talk about killing two birds with one stone; I was finding ways to set up interviews with my idols in snowboarding, alongside interviews with my idols in sustainable studies. I was learning how Nicolas Müller defined sustainability within his environment, while learning from Auden Schendler, VP of Sustainability for Aspen Skiing Company, on how he was working to implement sustainability within an entire company and beyond.

Along the way, I began working with Protect Our Winters as an athlete on their Riders Alliance—a team of athletes using their voice to promote sustainable practices locally, nationally, and internationally. I was visiting schools as a guest speaker to share stories from the ground about climate change and to inspire students to question the status quo to help reduce our carbon footprint. Something engrained in the ideology of snowboarding, to paint your own path and to challenge that expression at the next given opportunity, no matter the terrain that lies ahead. Needless to say, I wanted to find a way to be a bigger part of the solution and a bigger part of POW, because POW represented something I truly believed in, in an industry that is dependent on how we care for our planet. So last fall, I ended up taking a bigger role in not only hosting school assemblies, but coordinating them all over the US and Canada. This last school year was POW’s biggest school year to date; we spoke with roughly eleven thousand students. This next year is only going to be bigger and better as we hit more schools, talk to more students and discover new ways to make the world a better place.

Educating younger generations about climate change.

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration?

There are so many that I looked up to as I grew up. I still look up to many for their continued dedication to their passion for snowboarding and now I look up to more than just some of the worlds best snowboarders and athletes. Nicholas Müller is one of my favorites. His film Fruition really helped tell his story of trials and tribulations, to still fuel the fire in the face of resistance and uncertainty is a position I find inspiration from.

Chad Otterstrom—I have never met someone so dedicated to anything the way Chad is to chasing snow. He truly eats, drinks, and sleeps snowboarding three hundred sixty five days a year. I am lucky to call him one of my best friends these days as I feed off of his energy and excitement to not only snowboard but bring the intensity and drive to anything in life.

Then there are characters like Auden Schendler. As I mentioned before, he is the VP of Sustainability for Aspen Skiing Company. He worked alongside geniuses like Amory Lovins at the Rocky Mountain Institute and sees the world through a different lens than most. His shift in perspective changes the way we perceive problems, not to mention his witty capability to work with others and find levers in order to create real solutions to reducing the impact of businesses around the world.

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

My biggest impact is that I get to talk with thousands of people from all sorts of different backgrounds, social statuses, and beliefs about a subject that will negatively affect every single person on the planet. Some days the task seems daunting and overwhelming. Sometimes I even ask myself if I can really make a difference. But the reality is that we know the problem, and we know the solutions; we just need to invest and create the right incentives now to protect the future for generations to come. There is no silver bullet solution here, and it will take a lot of creativity, teamwork and dedication, but we can truly change our society for the better, live longer healthier lives, make more money, and simultaneously reduce the negative side effects of climate change at the same time. Although it seems like a no-brainer to transition towards renewable energies and become more conscious consumers on a daily basis, change isn’t always easy—but it is the only constant. So I try to use this platform to share the knowledge of just how we fix this global issue and inspire the next generation to take actions on their own, change the way we see the world and become the leaders of tomorrow. Right now one of the best things we can do is to use our voices and talk about the problem at hand. It is much harder to turn the blind eye when your friends, neighbors, classmates, coworkers, and family members are talking about how we can make tomorrow a better place.

There’s so much snow here, Jake just wants to keep it around. PHOTO: Chad Otterstrom

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

There is so much I want to accomplish: I want to take Hot Planet Cool Athletes and speak with more students in states and districts that are questionable to the science of climate change to encourage students to speak up about the subject and do their own independent research. I want to find ways to have respectful conversations about the science of climate change and not create differences between others. I want to find more ways to show how the many of the proposed solutions can make our lives better. I want to take the program and create an international assembly, and I want to talk to college students about the importance in voting and keeping our representatives accountable when they are in the civic hot seat. The list goes on.

Anyone you’d like to thank?

First and foremost, my parents, Annie and Mark, for everything: raising me in the mountains, encouraging me to pursue my dreams and supporting me no matter what. My brothers, Hunter and Zack, for being my friends through it all. My snowboard coach growing up, Jim Smith, he was the biggest influence in my life outside my parents. There were so many teachers that made a difference in my life as well: Joyce Mosher for exposing me to great literature, Mark Palz for sharing with me the endless potential with writing and Jean Kramlich for the guidance in school and endless support. Of course, Chris Steinkamp and the POW team for taking me in and giving me the opportunity to share something meaningful with others. There has been, and continues to be, an astronomical amount of people that have helped me along the way, and I only hope I can repay the debt someday.

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Cole Taylor: Freelance Videographer – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Freelance Videographer/Cinematographer for SNOWBOARDER Magazine’s 2017 release Pepper

We’ll admit it. In today’s day and age of snowboard media, it’s all about video. Over the past few years, we’ve watched this shift and if tasked to come up with a list of up-and-coming filmers versus photographers or writers, the film list would look like a reel of 16mm while the photo and writer list would be slim pickins. That said, this shift in dynamic made it highly beneficial for a young kid from Salt Lake City, Utah named Cole Taylor to really make his presence felt in the video world, and he certainly has. Cole is not only endlessly talented, but he’s got the vision of a filmmaker ten years his senior and to top it all off, he’s one of the happiest, kindest and most genuine people that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in my tenure in snowboarding. I’ve worked closely with Cole on various projects for SNOWBOARDER over the past few years and not only does he put out polished edits with amazing music, he simply makes the process easy, and that’s exactly why he’s on this list, because Cole Taylor is one of the next great filmmakers of our generation and I personally couldn’t be more proud to call him my friend and co-worker.

—T. Bird

A natural born filmmaker with positive energy, Cole Taylor makes the process effortless. PHOTO: Itsuki

What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.

Recently, I have been spending my days in the editing dungeon, working on a web series titled Prefix in anticipation of Pepper. However, a more exciting example would entail traveling, filming snowboarding and everything that comes along with it. Last winter I shot for the Pepper video and got to experience new places while working with amazing people. Those days are generally spent shoveling, filming, shoveling and so on. But the best thing that accompanies this process is the unpredictable moments I get to document along the way.

 Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I am originally from Salt Lake City, Utah and now residing in Portland, Oregon.

How did you start snowboarding?

Somehow I ended up with a copy of Forum’s The Resistance when I was 12. That was the first thing that put it on the map for me. The following winter I wanted to give it a shot and I switched over from skiing. My dad and I took lessons together, so I suppose he’s responsible for facilitating my interest in getting up the hill and onto a board.

 At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

Seeing the first snowboard edits make their way on to TransWorld and other websites in 2008 or so fascinated me. That was the first moment that I decided I wanted to buy a camera, learn to use it and challenge myself to get my work posted on those same websites.

And how did you make that happen?

The first person to give me a chance to take my camera hobby and turn it in to a job was Jared Winkler at Brighton Resort. At that point the internet video fad was still somewhat new so I began making web videos between college classes. Following this I began spending my summers working at Camp of Champions until I graduated. After working a few different jobs, I worked on SNOWBOARDER’s Video Magazine for something like 18 episodes. I have pretty much worked for SNOWBOARDER on and off since, in addition to working with a few different brands on projects such as the L1 movie.

No matter the weather, Cole is stoked to be out there making it happen. PHOTO: Itsuki

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

I loved all of the usual videos in high school: KidsKnow, Kingpin, Robot Food, etc. However, to be honest I think it was the Team Thunder crew that really left the biggest impact on me. A couple of them went to my school and were a few grades above me. Seeing them bridge the gap between homie crews and full movies with support from sponsors was something I really admired. I figured that if they could do it, why couldn’t I? I played my Timid and Tame DVD over and over until it finally got too scratched up. As I got a little older, I took inspiration from Eddie Grams and the local Salt Lake snowboard kids. I loved seeing how they took a grassroots project and built it in to something bigger. Eddie taught me a lot over the years.

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

There are a lot of people out there offering different perspectives to the world of snowboarding in too many ways to count. This is especially true to those who do so with a video camera in hand. I suppose that if my work leaves people with something to take away that makes them want to go snowboarding then I’ve done something right.

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

I’ve still never learned to backflip on a snowboard. So maybe that? Or more traveling. That would be nice too.

Anyone you’d like to thank?

Mom, Dad, Hannah, Lizzy, everyone. You know who you are.

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Amanda Hankison: Content Creator – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Content Creator

Birthdate: June 8, 1989

Amanda Hankison is hands down one of the most inspiring people I’m lucky enough to call my friend. We met at a time when all we knew definitively about snowboarding was that it was our favorite thing to do. I think both of us wanted to make a go of it in some sort of career sense but didn’t really know how. Since then I’ve watched her follow a path guided by a compass I would describe as both moral and visionary. She follows her heart.

After graduating from the University of Utah with a finance degree, she did what no girl who just finished business school has done before—or likely entertained the idea of. She traded her little Subaru for a GMC truck, packing the bed with shovels, bungees, lights, and a generator, leaving room in the cab for an HVX, MacBook and some of the girls who represent the next generation of professional snowboarders, defying the gender stereotypes imposed both by our industry and society as a whole. What transpired is called Jetpack, and by this point it has provided opportunities for many.

Cursed with a perpetual lack of contentment and blessed with the talent to succeed at whatever she puts her mind to, she began to take an interest in backcountry snowboarding, and after discovering the doors that a splitboard can open, she’s been on a tear, bagging peaks throughout the Wasatch with her sights set on more, local and beyond. All the while, she’s added more tattoos to her sleeves, bought and sold some motorcycles, ran some marathons, ran some Instagram accounts, bought a sled and another truck, shot some photos, and dug parks at High Cascade each summer. At this point, I don’t know if she’s more a rider, photographer, videographer, or mountaineer, and those distinctions matter to me none. I certainly have no clue how she manages to do everything she does. What I do know is that I’ll continue to look to her as a reminder of how to get after it.

— Taylor Boyd

Badass master splitboarder. PHOTO: Sean Ryan

What do you do?

I freelance in all types of media—photo/video/writing/content/etc. and am the founder/brand manager/creative director for Jetpack, a media and clothing company. Editing, logistics, and various correspondence requires a lot of screen time that I balance with plenty of time spent outdoors using cameras and running all over different mountain ranges with a variety of interesting folks.

Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I’m from a suburb of Chicago called St. Charles, but have spent the last seven years split between Mt. Hood in the summer and Salt Lake City the rest of the year.

How did you start snowboarding?

My mom and I took a lesson together in 1994 at Steamboat in Colorado. I didn’t get to go very much over the next few years, but when my dad passed away in the fall of sixth grade she bought me a setup from the local shop, hoping the new activity could help take my mind off of the loss. Snowboarding has been there for me ever since.

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

As a kid in Illinois before the internet, I wasn’t really aware there was a snowboard industry; I just knew I wanted to snowboard forever. Once I moved west I was injured pretty often and ended up being behind a camera more than on a snowboard, trying to help film my friends. I wasn’t going to stop snowboarding or stop being around the people involved with it, so I had to make something work in the industry.

Blessed with the talent to succeed at whatever she puts her mind to. PHOTO: Desiree Melancon

And how did you make that happen?

Over the last seven years I have been a customer service representative, caption writer, SEO optimizer, traveling rail jam crew member, french fry and waffle maker, gardener, landscaper, dishwasher, prep cook, photo editor for a peewee baseball team, retail store manager, digger, banked slalom builder, photographer for various brands, writer, filmer at Brighton Resort, content curator, and probably a few other things. During this time I was working at High Cascade Snowboard camp every summer. There’s no better place for a kook from Illinois to gain access to the people that make snowboarding what it is.

After a few summers of rejected applications I sent it out to Govy for a summer with no idea what would happen. A couple days in to the first session that summer Darrah Reid-Mclean broke her arm and had to go back to Canada leaving an open dishwashing position for me (thank you, Darrah). That was it; I was in. Over the summers to come I became close with Desiree Melancon, and she introduced me into her world. I met Marie Hucal, Nirvana Ortanez, Isabella Borriello, and Danika Duffy, and together we started Jetpack. At camp I was able to lurk in the shadows and learn what good filming, editing, and photos looked like from Tanner Pendleton, Harry Hagan, Greg Furey, Cole Taco, Sean Lucey, Jon Stark, and Matt Roberge. As a fly on the wall I was lucky enough to study some of the best in the industry while they worked at camp as well as the litany of industry folks and riders funneling through Govy, taking notes the whole time. I also had the great fortune of learning what a real ass work ethic is from none other than Corey McDonald and the HCSC Diggers who also introduced me to Jeff Keenan and Sean Genovese at Dinosaurs Will Die, which I will forever be grateful for.

From producing the first year of Jetpack to my current focus on freelance photography and splitboard mountaineering, none of it would have been possible without learning what hard work and professional production really looks like.  Keeping my eyes and mind open to those around me gave strength to my vision and provides the confidence to keep going.

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

Jon Stark, Jake Durham, Pierre Wikberg, Think Thank (Jesse, Pika, Lucey), and VG

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

I believe that through what I have documented, created, and the way that I carry myself through everyday life, I have helped to facilitate a world in which women are seen more as equals to men in the industry. I don’t mean physically equal in terms of the exact stunts performed on a snowboard; I mean equal in the creative ideas, follow-through, motivation, professionalism, and overall potential we share as humans. I hope that through waving my camera all over the country at all types of people I have encouraged other girls and women to do the same. Cameras aren’t just for boys, they’re fun for everyone. And if I’m missing the mark on both of those I at least know that positivity breeds positivity and by spreading that to those around me I have been able to encourage growth and optimism in others.

Turnin’ and burnin’ her way to making snowboarding an everybody industry. PHOTO: Chris Wellhausen

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

I want to either make or see a snowboard movie made that has equal representation of the genders, snowboarding, and lifestyle documented in a way that depicts the experience we all share. My reality in snowboarding is made up of many men and many women, and it’s time for a snowboard movie to reflect that, not just to make a point that women can do it too, but to make a point that we are all in this together. I also want to climb a few mountains, but that’s for another time…

Anyone you’d like to thank?

Mom, Kevin McClelland, Tyler, Taylor Miller, Jake Malenick, Levi, Alexa McCarty, Mia Lambson, Parker Duke, and Taylor Boyd.

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Danny Kern: Freelance Content Creator – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Freelance Content Creator

Birthdate:  1/19/92

In a world of cliques and specialists, Danny Kern’s everyone’s pal and can do just about anything, and do it well. Depending on the time of year, he might be filming the Strange Brew boys, shooting photos in the backcountry, ripping mountain bikes with the Drink Water crew, or laying out his own zine. When he straps in, he can put down creative rail tricks, podium at banked slaloms, or send sevens into pow. I actually don’t remember when or where Danny and I were introduced. I think it’s because he’s so relatable that when you meet him it feels like you’ve been homies for years. Like so many of us in this industry, it’s a love of snowboarding that came first for Danny—before a desire to have a fun job—and with a camera in hand or a board beneath his feet, he represents this activity we love in the best way possible.

— Taylor Boyd 

Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I’m from Colfax, California. I call Tahoe home and have lived in Govy for the past three summers.

How did you start snowboarding?

I started snowboarding after skiing for a year or two. My parents put me on snow when I was six and my brother, who’s 4 years older than me, started boarding a couple years after I started skiing, so I followed in his footsteps and started boarding. He’s also the reason why I started skating early on. But now he doesn’t do much of either, and I’m the one who stuck with it.

Ripping through the summer stomping grounds of Mt. Hood. PHOTO: Darcy Bacha

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

I think it was during my sophomore year of college. My freshman year at Sierra Nevada College, I became friends with a bunch of people who were really good, and that’s when I really started to get into filming. I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing. I was such a kook. I met Keenan Cawley, Stinky Dale, Brady Lem, Tommy Gesme, and a bunch of other friends. That’s when the idea of possibly working in the industry sparked.

And how did you make that happen?

So at first it was all for fun. I really enjoyed boarding with the crew and doing follow-cams and making edits. Then my digital arts degree started to play a role, and I was told I should get an internship. This just so happened to be during the same time Woodward Tahoe was coming about and Paul Heran was in charge of media for Boreal and Woodward. I was fortunate enough to have him as a friend and a mentor and did an internship through Woodward Tahoe in the spring of 2013, I believe. I made the Strange Tapes series and shot a bunch of photos. I went to my first Super Park—17, the last one at Mt. Bachelor. Then I started working for Woodward Tahoe during the summer at their summer camp with Paul as my boss. After this I did some work for this Aussie brand, fyve. I made a series of video in Australia and worked at their adult camps in Japan for a couple years. Meanwhile, during the winter I was filming and shooting photos for the three years since I met all those guys at SNC. We’d go on a long van trip with all the homies during our winter break. I’ll never forget those trips and those edits and the movies we made. Other than that I’ve just been submitting photos for the last few years and doing freelance projects for brands.

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

Mike Basich. He did what he wanted and shot photos of himself while doing it. He’s a legend in my eyes—but honestly, a lot of people. The snowboard industry is pretty inspiring as a whole. There’s a ton of people who do just enough to get by and do what they love most and that’s inspiring in itself. Tim and Hannah Eddy, for example. DoRadical is an awesome concept and idea that’s sparked ideas and life-changing thoughts for myself. And then there’s people like Nial Romanek. This past winter I got to film and shoot with him for his Video Obscura project. His creativity and the way he looks at snowboarding and spots and tricks was really awesome to witness firsthand. Then after working his ass off to put this part together by December all he did was ride pow in the backcountry. Just seeing someone who’s mastered and filmed so much in the streets go from that to falling in love with the backcountry and being able to do what he wants without the worry of anything else deterring him from doing what he wants is really inspiring.

Other than that I guess there are a few others who really stand out that inspire me to come up with projects and do what I want. Austin Smith’s Bachelor project was really cool this past winter. Aaron Blatt and his freelance mastery has been really inspiring for me. Alex Andrews and Chris and whoever else is a part of the Freedom Frontier—I think that’s some of the coolest shit ever. Same with the Gremlins and their property. Taylor Carlton starting the Rally 4 Rocker and watching that grow of the last few years has been incredibly inspiring. I don’t know; like I said, the entire industry itself is inspiring and the more people I meet and the more involved I become the more inspired I get even in these difficult times.

http://snowboarding.transworld.net/videos/strange-brew-danny-kern-full-part/

Danny can do just about anything, and do it well. PHOTO: Taylor Boyd

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

I guess exposing people after stealing their souls.  Filming more so I think. Helping my friends get their names out there and having fun while doing it.

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

Ahhhh, so much! I really want to make a documentary. I’ve been dabbling on the idea for years, since I was taking classes at SNC in Tahoe. I want to get into a mobile living situation with a good rig and just cruise around all winter with my sled and splitboard and camping gear, riding as much pow as I possibly can. I love riding pow more than anything, and this past in Tahoe reassured that for me. Hopefully I can get something figured out this fall and be able to freelance for brands and board with friends all next winter. I wouldn’t mind doing a bit of filming and shooting in some foreign streets as well. Hopefully I’ll make it out to Bulgaria to help out with the Stinky Socks movie. More long term, I guess I really would like to land a job with a multi-category brand as a creative content creator or team manager perhaps. I love mountain biking. I used to race downhill in high school during the summers to stay in shape for boardercross for the winters. And after high school I fell in love with surfing. I’ve always felt like I’m good at planning and hosting and organizing trips and events, and I think with my media skillset I could be good at a position like that, but who knows. Part of me just wants to bail on reality and move to the woods. I think that snowboarding and everyone I know in the industry is one of a few things in my life that’s keeping me sane enough from doing that.

Anyone you’d like to thank? 

My brother for getting me on a board in the first place and always letting me tag along with him and his friends. Obviously, my mom and dad—I wouldn’t be anywhere without them. They pushed me to do what I love and follow my passion with snowboarding and photography when I was in high school. Paul Heran for teaching and mentoring me.

All of the Strange Brew boys—my best friends—I feel like I wouldn’t be anywhere in this industry if it wasn’t for meeting all them freshman year of college. Tommy J—probably the main reason I came back to High Cascade for my second summer. He’s the man.

Ian Daly for buying the first Strange Brew van and continuing to own the SB van.

Ristro at Stinky Socks. Nate Blomquist from Common Apparel. I know there are plenty of others to thank for how they’ve impacted and guided me to where I am today. You know who you are, and I thank you.

Follow Danny on Instagram: @dbo_photo

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Jake Durham: Videographer, RIDE Snowboards and Videograss – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Videographer, RIDE Snowboards and Videograss

Jake Durham is quiet, introspective, wildly imaginative and highly intelligent, attributes that many videographers and editors would want as their own, but Jake truly possesses all of these traits and the evidence lies in his rapidly-amassing body of work. Bursting out onto the scene via the makeshift homey crew Makefriendsordie, Jake’s edits started popping up, featuring a growing list of Minnesota-based up-and-comers, and since then, he’s graduated to become the videographer for RIDE Snowboards and Videograss, leaving his mark on many throughout the industry. The kid’s making moves, albeit quietly, and that’s exactly how Jake likes it because while he may be demure in his approach in person, his edits are pieces of art that resonate with his audience, and that’s set to make him one of the most successful snowboard filmmakers of this era.

—T. Bird

Behind the peace sign is a wild imagination and a lot of passion. PHOTO: T. Bird

What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.

For me, everyday is pretty different. In the winter, a typical day could be waking up and going to Hyland for an hour then trying to hit a spot with a crew. Or waking up in god knows where Connecticut and having to wait for Danimals to get ready while everyone waits in the van to go hit a spot, only to find him trying to learn acoustic guitar upstairs. Waking up at LAAX resort after a heavy night of raving in the basement to film pipe and drink beers to ease the headache. Sometimes it’s just working in my studio apartment on edits, scanning magazines, drawing, playing with my puppy. The worst is flying hungover.

Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I am from Minnesota, grew up in the suburbs, but now I live in Minneapolis.

How did you start snowboarding?

My neighbor Elliot and I grew up doing everything together. He introduced me to skateboarding and snowboarding. We used to ride those plastic tie-dyed snowboards in our backyard. The ones you slip your boot into the bindings. We would build little jumps, bomb the hill and eject. That was probably around 3rd or 4th grade. Then he got a snowboard with metal edges and took lessons. I joined him the next winter and took lessons at Hyland Hills. It was Thanksgiving and super, super cold. I remember on the last lesson I finally rode the chairlift and was so hyped. Soon after in 5th grade I went on a ski trip and met my good friend Matt Boudreaux (Boody). We have been friends ever since.

Getting the shot at Mission Ridge. PHOTO: T. Bird

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

Oh, it took a long time to understand that the industry was something I could be a part of. Fast-forward to my senior year of high school. I made a snowboarding video, DVDs, and had a premiere. At that point I felt capable of producing snowboard videos, but didn’t know how to fund it. It felt like a hobby. Then I went to college. My senior year I skipped some school to go to Japan with Signal Snowboards, did a trip with VG during my winter break, and kept doing my web series, Makefriendsordie. None of it felt like work and that’s when I realized I wanted to work with my friends, travel and work on cool projects. I will admit there was a little hesitation committing to working for snowboard companies because I had heard many stories of people not getting paid and I didn’t want to get taken advantage of.

A taste of makefriendsordie here.

And how did you make that happen?

Right out of school I was lucky enough to work for Videograss. Ever since VG started that was the company I wanted to work with. So I made it a point to hit up Justin Meyer every now and then. My friend Riley Erickson worked for them too and I would try and go out with them to get second angles and see how they worked. But all in all I think it was word of mouth. My personal project, Makefriendsordie, also got my name out there.

Here’s a messier work of art for Videograss.

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

At that time I was super hyped on Videograss, anything Skylar Brent was working on, the Team Vacation edits by Tanner Pendleton, the TransWorld videos Hayden Rensch and Joe Carlino made, Kevin Castanhiera, Colton Feldman and Keep The Change, Jonas Michilot’s photos, Pete Harvieux, Java Fernandez, Shelby Menzel, Corey Smith, Nick Lipton, Mikey LeBlanc, etc. etc. I was down for anything these guys were into.

This is what happens when adidas collaborates with Videograss, worth the watch.

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

Off the top of my head, the Makefriendsordie series seems like it had the biggest impact. That series was so fun to make. I would ride resorts with my friends and if they did anything cool I would grab the camera, film it, then continue riding. After the first couple the homies were so down and really made it happen. Thanks, brothers.

Always strapped with a camera and a smile. PHOTO: T. Bird

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

It would be cool to mix some of my other interests into the picture; design, photography, painting, drawing, fashion, music, marketing, etc. I think the position for that would be Art Director? I’m not sure. Right now, I’m working with RIDE Snowboards and they have used some of my photos and ideas for board graphics. I’m hyped on that, thank you 🙂

Anyone you’d like to thank?

All of my sponsors.

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Myles Soderstrom: Marketing Coordinator, Coal Headwear – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Marketing Coordinator, Coal Headwear

 Birthdate: July 20th, 1991

Myles Soderstrom started young, turning screws and popping E-Z Ups. And now at 26, he’s helping shape one of the few successful lifestyle brands with its roots in snowboarding, Coal Headwear. Behind those thick-rimmed glasses is a mind that puts authenticity and aesthetic over impressions and numbers alone—a valuable trait to have in his position. It is consideration of detail that has always driven Coal, and Myles pays attention. His no-bullshit approach and intellectual insight have proven valuable in all aspects of his job description, from the ambassadors he’s involved with Coal to the pieces he’s implemented in their line. Myles cares and it shows.

— Taylor Boyd

That is the smirk of a man who does his job well. PHOTO: Riley Goodwin

Where are you from and where do you currently call home? 

I’m from Chico, California, and now reside in Seattle, Washington.

How did you start snowboarding? 

My dad took me snowboarding at Boreal when I was 10 or 11. I had skated for a few years and had the itch to snowboard. We rode step in bindings and I could only ride on my toes but still loved it.

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry? 

I started thinking about working in snowboarding when I was in college at the University of Nevada, Reno. At the time I was working at Northstar at Tahoe. Seeing people making a living as a rep or resort admin seemed cool. All I wanted to do was snowboard so I made that a priority.

Having the most fun. PHOTO: Magnus Byrlev

And how did you make that happen? 

I worked as a sub rep and kind of ended up as a leverage piece as some brands changed sales hands in Northern California. Worked as a counselor at High Cascade for 2 summers then traveled with the Trans Am and helped camp with some marketing stuff. Then Demos Manager where I met everyone under the sun. Riley Goodwin at Union hit me up and said Coal needed a marketing guy. I applied and just crossed my fingers. Interviewed that same summer and when camp was over I got the job.

Who do you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

Preston and Dawn Strout of Crab Grab are amazing. Andrew Kelly (AK) of Crab Grab and Soy Sauce Nation is the consummate business man. Riley Goodwin, Tanner McCarty, and Tom Johnson all kill it here in Seattle at Union, Ride, and K2, respectively. Blue Montgomery is taking over the world with his green factory.

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

Getting to work with a storied brand like Coal has been a great opportunity. Getting to bring people like Desiree Melancon and Austen Sweetin more into the mix has been so cool. Giving input on certain hats in the line with our amazing designer, Jenn Nelson, then seeing those on shelves months later has been rewarding.

Gondola chillin. PHOTO: Jesse Gouveia

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

I just want to keep making cool stuff that people can read/watch/wear. Wherever that little mantra takes me should be fine.

Anyone you’d like to thank? 

Thanks to Brad Scheuffele for hiring me at Coal and Chris Wilmoth and Eric Wallis for those early sub rep days.

Dan Hartman: Territory Manager/Sales Rep, Oakley, Crab Grab – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Territory Manager/Sales Rep, Oakley, Crab Grab

 Birth date: 10.26.1987

Dan Hartman grew up in The Alley, one of the snowboarding’s most beloved park laps, situated finely on the line where the Eastern Seaboard begins to shift into the Midwest at 7 Springs Mountain Resort. It was here, as a shop kid in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that Midwest Dan began to ingrain himself into the East Coast snowboarding scene via plenty of chilly night runs and probably a few cold Iron Cities. It is Hartman’s passion for standing sideways and gregarious personality that make him a perfect candidate to stand on the front lines of the snowboarding industry as a sales rep, bridging the gap between brand, shop, and consumer. Since signing onto his first roll as sub-sub-rep while he was still in college, Hartman has dutifully applied his business savvy and work ethic while relentlessly logging miles across the Northeast going from shop-to-shop and demo-to-demo, becoming a staple member of snowboarding community while parlaying his brands’ resources into meaning at a grassroots level and beyond. Currently Hartman manages the New England territory for Oakley and Crab Grab, the youngest member in an area with a strong lineage of individuals who have risen through the ranks of snowboarding to make massive impacts behind the scenes. So far, Dan has deftly been following the lead of those who repped before him while also blazing his own path through the snowy trails of New Hampshire, Vermont, and the other areas along interstate 95. With a decade already invested in the game and still time before his thirtieth birthday, we’re confident that Hartman will be helping to steer the business side of snowboarding in the right direction for a long time to come.

– Mary Walsh

Loon Mountain local. PHOTO: Wythe Woods

What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.

A typical day honestly varies depending the time of year. During the fall/winter, it’s a day-to-day of visiting accounts; hyping up Oakley and Crab Grab with the retailers; doing clinics for the retail staff to keep them up on new technology and products in goggles, helmets, softgoods; merchandising and making sure both Oakley and CG are presented on the retail floors and on mountain; and finally, throw in a few preseason sales, early season snow events, tradeshows and on snow demos.

Once Spring/Summer hits, it’s onto a heavy event season for snow for us in New England. The month of March is madness on the weekends for the events I sponsor with Oakley and Crab Grab, done in partnership with great people and mountains. From there it’s on to sunglass season and hitting the road almost daily selling shades, doing clinics, merchandising again, events sponsored in partnership with my accounts, and again hyping everyone on Oakley, just with a shift to a to a summer vibe.

Being a rep has a great change up of daily tasks throughout the year; it keeps me on my toes. One day I am working on selling in product at accounts and helping ensure sell thru for those accounts. Another day, I am looking at it from a marketing perspective to create events and activations that help support the brands, our accounts that support us, and the grassroots of the industry and commuity. Being in sales, hitting your numbers is always priority number one, but there’s a bunch of other objectives that have to be handled. At Oakley, we have a few different sport categories we market to, so interacting with all the different people throughout the year makse for a great learning experience daily. The snowboard industry is what I grew up in, though. It’s what I love, and it’s where I call home. To work in it daily is something I never take for granted.

Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

From God’s Country of Pittsburgh, PA (7 Springs) and currently in Dover, NH (Loon Mountain).

How did you start snowboarding?

I started in a way lots of people do: friends and skateboarding. I started riding 7 Springs when I was 15 years old. Friends I grew up with were riding and we all were skating together. I decided to pick up a snowboard for 30 dollars, join them on hill, and see what happened. Next thing I knew, it had consumed my life and created a career path for me. For that, I will be forever grateful for what snowboarding has done for me.

Bluebird powder days remind us why this is the best industry. PHOTO: Josh Zerkel

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

I was 16 years old, working in the shop—a store called Willi’s that has multiple locations in Western Pennsylvania–and I realized that I could be around snowboarding every day, talking about product, riding new product—and I saw other industry folks making a living off it. I said to myself “Why not me?” From that point on, from my first sale on the floor and sitting through my first clinic, to every on hill activation, buying meeting, etc., I wanted to learn more and get more involved in the snow community. Oh, and I realized I would never be pro. Washed up since high school.

And how did you make that happen?

This was quite a journey, but one that I learned a lot during and understood the values of a foundation to a career. I started working Willi’s in Pittsburgh and I was there for about a year and a half when I had to become a contact to the reps, working with them to create support on the sales floor. When I was nineteen, I got a phone call from J Smith, the Midatlantic Rep for Rome Snowboards, Grenade, and Holden. He was looking for some help at sales, clinics, and tradeshows and asked if wanted to join his team, along with his sub-rep, Sean Larkin. Of course, that was an immediate yes. Something I knew I wanted from my first day working at the shop was coming to fruition. On top of it, Rome was a brand I truly supported and had helped get into the shop. I worked with J for another two years doing the “bitch work,” sacrificing ten-hour days on the road, and just learning a small part of what a rep does on the day-to-day, all while going to college and still putting in a few days at the shop.

After some shake ups, I decided to leave what I was doing as a sub-rep there and went to work with Junior Kantor, The Program* rep for the Midatlantic, when I was twenty-two and had just graduated college. This was an even bigger step to truly understanding the business and what it takes to put it out there. I worked with Junior for two years, sleeping on an air mattress in our office during my time with him, and the sacrifices made to help Junior grow the business made me want success and the next step that much more. We brought in a few brands, including Matix and DVS to diversify the agency and began learning more about the skate and surf industries, as well. Working with Junior and The Program* brands, it became a partnership, Yes, I was sleeping on an air mattress and logging thousands of miles across the Midatlantic, but the skills I was learning both in business and day-to-day life were priceless and have definitely helped make me who I am and what the territory I run is today. Junior left The Program* and I was looking at a few options for my next step, some were looking good for opportunity, some weren’t.

I was 24 and it was mid-July when I got word that a territory had opened with Oakley in Vermont/Upstate New York. I reached out to the previous rep in the zone, Stan Kosmider, and the Sales Manager, Buck Rowlee. I interviewed with Buck and the Oakley Sales Director, on the edge of my seat the entire time. I’ll never forget the Friday morning at the Roundabout Diner in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where I met Buck for a third meeting and he told me the job was mine. Something that I wanted since I was sixteen was happening. I had the opportunity to work for a brand I loved, run my own territory, and do my best to give back to snowboarding for what it had given to me in such a short time. I worked the VT/Upstate NY zone for two-and-a-half years then switched zones to Maine/New Hampshire/Eastern Massachusetts when Nelson Wormstead moved up to become the Regional Sales Manager and I took over his territory. Around that same time, I was approached by Andrew Kelly over at Crab Grab. He mentioned the New England territory was opening up and asked if I had interest. I think that was probably one of the easiest “yes” I have said in my life. Oakley and Crab Grab, two brands I love and want to help grow in business and on snow every chance I have.

Handling two zones in New England over the last five years has been amazing and allowed me to meet the most insanely amazing people in snowboarding and friends I’ll have for a lifetime. Ten years as a whole on the road, learning different territories, and meeting great people makes this the incredible job what it is. Snowboarding is amazing, and when you can make a career around it, the cliché is true: you feel like you haven’t worked a day in your life.

Getting it done. PHOTO: Wythe Woods

 Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

Jonathan “Junior” Kantor. This guy is my mentor, my weekly phone call, my sounding board, my dude, and one of my best friends. Junior is one of the smartest guys I know. J Smith, the guy who gave me the opportunity, the chance to get involved. Nelson Wormstead, the dude who has worked his ass off to get where he is and helped me along the way. Rep life to Sales Manager life. The relationship Nelson and I have, able to collaborate on work and keep that separate from our friendship is insane and Nelson’s balance with that is something to look up to with how this industry works. Mark Wakeling. He is the best. Everyone in snowboarding who has met him, loves him. He runs his business with nothing but success in mind, and he’s the oldest grom I know, looking to ride every chance he has. He fucking rules. Matt Jagemann, Vin Connolly, and Patrick Lawrence, as well.

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

Positivity and genuine relationships. The snow season, as we all know, can have the highest of highs and lowest of lows. We are all in control of our own energy and attitude, so why not be as positive as you can be on the day-to-day? When you’re around snowboarding and it’s part of your career, positivity is pretty easy. I never take what I do for granted and always try to appreciate that while sometimes the lows can be tough, the highs are most enjoyable when you know they don’t come around that often. When you’re positive, people feed off it and can help turn their point of view or mood when they need it most. Cruising into snow shops, talking shop, and making the crew feel good is what I love about this job.

The relationships I have built with my accounts, other reps and folks on the in house side of the brands has helped bring me to this point in my career. Without these relationships, the impact of what I want to contribute to snowboarding and build would not be possible. Building relationships–true genuine relationships–only helps what your business is and can do, but most importantly, it helps who you are as a person.

Knocking back some cold ones and working with your best friends ain’t bad.

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

The question I ask myself every day. I have a few things in the back pocket that hopefully we’ll see come to fruition in the future. There is so much that I haven’t done yet, but I know if I trust the process and continue to sacrifice for a better future, opportunities will be there–I just have to seize them.

Anyone you’d like to thank?

My family, my parents. Junior. Nelson. J. Wakeling. My fellow Oakley/Crab Grab reps, and shout out to the NE crew, Cunha, Scotty, Reid, Engler, Lebeau, Marino, and Wolfman. AK. Preston and Dawn Strout. 7 Springs. Joel Rerko. Josh Zerkel. Wythe Woods. Loon Parks. Brian Norton. Jay Scambio. Kevin Bell. Waterville Valley Parks. Jamie Cobbett. Luke Mathison. BTV Crew. NH crew. My team riders. Willi’s and the crew there. My accounts, previous and present. Without my accounts, none of this would be possible. Forum Forever.

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Jon Ray: Freelance Filmmaker – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Freelance Filmmaker

Hailing from a small town outside of San Francisco, Jon Ray was influenced by the early skate scene, and like many in our industry, that quickly transitioned into snowboarding, where he linked up with local legends of the Tahoe area like Johnny Brady and kicked off his career in snowboard filmmaking. It’s a pretty familiar story, really, except for the fact that Jon Ray is far from a familiar guy. He’s funny, insightful and unbelievably talented. When he’s not behind the lens or in the editing bay, he’s a ball of positive energy that blankets those he surrounds himself with, and that’s exactly why the crew at SNOWBOARDER called him off the bench a few years ago to help make their first two feature length films since 1999 in Foreword and SFD, and while we would’ve loved to have him help make our third release, Resolution, he was hand-selected by one of the greatest riders alive, Bode Merrill, to direct his signature film, Reckless Abandon, and that movie went on to become one of the most talked-about snowboard films in recent history. And this is just the beginning for Jon Ray, as he’s not even thirty years old yet and he has drive and vision beyond many peoples’ wildest imaginations. Jon Ray has already made a significant impact in snowboard filmmaking, but it’s far from over, and we’re really excited to see what he’s got in store for us next. Oh, and did we mention that he can dance like no one’s watching on a whim? Because he can. Cheers, Jon Ray!

—T. Bird

A lover of the arts and the earth. PHOTO: Scotty A

What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.

My current position in the snowboarding industry is a filmmaker, I guess. A typical day on the job is all over the place. It’s traveling to new cities, new mountains, sleeping in hotels, snow camping, staying up late because typically that’s when I usually edit my favorite things, hanging out with friends, making new friends, meeting people from all walks of life and being able to enjoy silence in the mountains. All of that while wearing an extremely heavy backpack most of the time.

 Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I grew up in a town called Cameron Park, California originally but have been living in Portland, Oregon for the last five years.

 How did you start snowboarding?

I started skateboarding a lot when I was 8 and growing up outside of San Francisco. My parents moved the family to Cameron Park when I was 11 and in the winter, all my friends at the skatepark there would go snowboard. So, I started borrowing old stuff from friends and cruising up with them on the weekends to Sierra at Tahoe. I guess it was sort of an easy transition to make the jump from skateboarding to snowboarding. It was also back when it used to snow a lot more and pretty much every weekend was a pow day so we would just huck ourselves and pretty much never land anything. I did land a frontflip when I was maybe 12. Haven’t done one since.

 At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

It wasn’t any particular time, really, it just happened kind of naturally I guess. When I was twelve I bought my first snowboard videos with money I had saved up from umpiring baseball games (I was super into baseball when I was a kid) and would watch those religiously. Of those videos Afterbang definitely was what did it for me. I was already filming stuff with my parents’ HI-8 camera they had before I started snowboarding. Filming my friends skating, trying to reenact shit we saw in the CKY videos obviously and just a bunch of random shit. Then when I started snowboarding, all of my friends were better than me so I naturally just started filming them and making sponsor videos for my friends and then started making little edits for my local shop. I guess the simple answer is I was just having fun filming and making random videos of my friends, which it still feels that way.

A master at work. PHOTO: Scotty A

 And how did you make that happen?

I don’t even know. I dropped out of high school to film snowboarding and skateboarding as much as I could and started working at a snowboard shop. They helped me out a lot by linking me up with people who rode for the shop like Johnny Brady, then we quickly became best friends and would hang out all winter long filming together. Then I had some unfortunate series of injuries where I couldn’t get my heart rate up for nine months, then blew my knee out pretty much immediately after that and so on and so on. I ended up bartending and saved up enough money to buy some camera equipment and started filming again with Johnny, when Rob Balding asked me if I wanted to help film with Keep The Change. That kind of changed everything for me. Johnny helped me out the whole way too. He had my back through it all and then got me hooked up with Trent Ludwig for a Quiksilver Superpark video and then he hired me to film for Quiksilver the following winter. Trent, Cole Taylor and I worked on Take It Easy together which was a dream come true. After that Trent and I went on to work for SNOWBOARDER, where I helped with Foreword and SFD, and then teamed up with Bode Merrill and did Reckless Abandon with him. That was the latest thing that has been released so far and was the most fun I had ever had working on a project. This year, I took a step back from making a movie and just helped out with some stuff that is going to be released this fall. I went to Japan twice with Adidas for a short film and then went and snow camped in Canada for a project with The North Face for ten days with Austin Smith, Blake Paul and Jake Blauvelt. That was a pretty special trip, having never been snow camping before or woken up with my eyelids frozen shut like that. I’m pretty excited for those two projects to come out.

 Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration? 

I looked up to pretty much everybody in snowboarding at that time and still do today. I definitely looked up to Pierre Wikberg and what he’s done for snowboarding. Pierre Minhondo, his editing has always been amazing. Jake Price and the artwork he incorporates into his movies. Hayden Rensch, Tanner Pendleton, Harry Hagan, Skylar Brent, Jake Durham, Jon Stark, Cole Taylor, the stuff that the Jetpack girls have done…there are so many people to list.

 What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

I guess that would have to be Reckless Abandon. That movie was really fun to work on with Bode Merrill and the rest of the crew. It all just kind of came together perfectly. It was the most fun I’ve ever had filming anything, traveling with my best friends and editing. But the honest answer would actually have to be a tie between that and starting the best dance party anyone has ever witnessed at T. Bird’s wedding. I would have to say I was nothing short of magical that night.

He doesn’t forget to have some fun while he’s on the job. PHOTO: Scotty A

 What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

The immediate is I really want to go to Iran to explore and film over there in the mountains. It seems like they have a cool little scene happening over there. That’s mainly what I want to do. Go to more regions where snowboarding is happening and nobody is looking, take a camera and try to have some fun.

 Anyone you’d like to thank?

Everyone who has helped me along the way especially Johnny Brady, Trent Ludwig, Bode Merrill, my wife Ruby and T. Bird! Hopefully somebody other than us can get married soon and I can have a dance off.

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Jared Dawoud: Day Crew Manager, Mammoth Mountain – Snowboarding’s 30 Under 30

Day Crew Manager, Mammoth Mountain

The first time I met Jared Dawoud was at SNOWBOARDER Magazine’s first-ever event that focused on the next generation of snowboarders, called The Launch at Northstar-at-Tahoe, California. At the time, he was one of the best jumpers in the entire field and I knew that he had a bright future in snowboarding. However, a handful of years and hundreds of laps later, and Jared is now the Day Crew Manager at Mammoth Mountain, California, overseeing grooming and park operations during daylight hours. His aptitude for freestyle snowboarding coupled with his innate ability to simply connect with people make him an incredible manager and a huge asset to Mammoth and now, when we put on events at Mammoth, I look on with pride as I sit back and watch Jared run the show. With some of the best terrain parks on earth set atop one of the biggest footprints any resort has in the world, to say that Jared has his hands full is an understatement, but the kid handles it with ease and grace, and he prides himself on producing one of the most picture-perfect finished products in the industry. Jared Dawoud is both literally and figuratively pushing his way to the top of the terrain park building world, and under the tutelage of his brother—the famed TJ Dawoud—there’s no telling what Jared’s limit is and how far he will go.

—T. Bird

What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.

Depends on the day. A mid-winter day in Mammoth goes something like this: Wake up around 5:45am to clear off my truck (chances are it snowed at least a foot overnight), rally up to work by 6:45. Check my email then get the crew out the door to dial in the parks. Shovel out my snowmobile (remember it snowed at least a foot last night), rake the park/shovel the park ’cause it snowed at least a foot overnight. After lunch or any random meetings I have, I try really hard to ride around, whether it’s in the park or just cruising around trying to find some fresh turns that all my friends left behind. At the end of the day the boys break the park down and we do it all over again the next day. There’s always so much more than just the normal day-to-day work. We’re constantly planning what we’re doing next. With 30-plus events and photo shoots throughout the season, it always feels like we have a new build going on.

Where are you from and where do you currently call home?

I’m originally from Connecticut. Now Mammoth Lakes, California is home.

How did you start snowboarding?

I actually started skiing when I was 2 on a little slope in Connecticut. My older brothers switched to snowboarding and naturally I followed when I was maybe 7 or 8.

He builds the parks then makes sure they’re up to par. PHOTO: Peter Morning

At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?

When I moved to Mammoth.

And how did you make that happen?

When I was 16 years old I moved across the country from Vermont to Mammoth. I went snowboarding every single day, riding as much as I possibly could. Years later I was given the opportunity to work on day crew at Mammoth (obviously so I could still ride everyday.) A handful of short years later I’m now running the crew.

Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration?

I’ve had so much inspiration over the years, from my friends, peers and my family. I have a lot of close friends that are incredible at snowboarding so some inspiration flows through these parts. Shout out to Greg, Jaeger and Worm! Guys like Oren Tanzer, Pat Bridges, Billy Anderson and my brother TJ are some guys in the industry I’ve looked up to, just to name a few.

Running the day crew. PHOTO: Mitch Rhode

What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?

Snow. It’s what makes our world go around. On a bad year we’re hungry. On a good year we feast!

What do you want to accomplish that you haven’t yet?

Travel the world.

Anyone you’d like to thank?

My mom, my brothers, my girlfriend, all my friends, everyone at Unbound and Mammoth Mountain. Thank you.

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