By: T. Bird
T. Bird: It’s no secret that you’re one of snowboarding’s most outspoken contest critics. That said, do you think that–given the economic climate–snowboarding could benefit from the mainstream media exposure that the Vancouver Games is sure to manufacture?
Bryan Fox: Shaun White will sell more video games. Snowboarding isn’t some secret, underground activity. People know about it already. If it seems cool to them, then they have already tried it. I don’t personally like the way they’re portraying it, they (TV producers) make it seem like everything else in the Olympics. They don’t have to try too hard. Vert snowboarding looks exactly like figure skating and gymnastics. The Olympics wouldn’t have sold me on snowboarding, it would have deterred me from it altogether. People say, “Oh well, that kid will see it on the Olympics, try snowboarding and eventually learn what’s cool, blah blah blah.” I don’t agree. The way they’re portraying it isn’t appealing. For kids who have seen snowboarding–maybe have done it a couple of times–they won’t be affected by the Olympics. It’s the kids who have no idea what it is and that’s their first impression of snowboarding; bad first impression. I’m not this all out contest critic, just a critic of the ones that portray snowboarding incorrectly. There are good ones out there. Look at the [Baker] Banked Slalom. There are guys there from all sides of the snowboard community enjoying themselves right alongside each other. Temple [Cummins] and some jock boardercrosser both going for it, loving it.
Without scratching at the wound too much, how–if at all–has snowboarding profited from recognition by “the mainstream?”
It brings the money in, people look at that as a good thing. The whole mainstream thing is hard to figure out. There could be more good to come from it if there was a more broad view of snowboarding being given to the masses. They tried with First Descent and it was terrible. Maybe it’s time for someone to try again.
Where is your snowboarding headed? Meaning, in what direction would you like to take your riding and what roads down the line will you travel?
Try to get good at riding my snowboard; go explore. You see this shit “The Real Mountain Jeremy Jones” is doing? Hiking around like a fucking billygoat…amazing. I’m not trying to take my snowboarding in any certain direction, just snowboarding.
Describe life in the woods of Oregon…
It’s the simple life. I don’t have any reason to live in the concrete jungle. We live on a dead end dirt road with no streetlights. It’s super quiet and when it gets dark out, it’s actually dark. I can walk into the forest from my house and get away from everything. I have all I need here, friends and family, year-round snowboarding, lakes and rivers all over the place, and good skateboarding right down the road.
Why are heroes important in snowboarding, and why is it imperative for kids out there to look back and realize where we came from?
That is a difficult one. It’s a really thin line. I don’t like the idea of snowboard heroes at all. I’ve met some of my childhood snowboard heroes and they ended up being total fucking kooks. Kids should look up to people they personally know are good people. Just because some guy can do cool tricks on a piece of wood doesn’t mean he deserves adoration. Don’t look up to people you don’t know. It’s ok to appreciate someone’s skill, but that’s as far as it needs to go. Having the knowledge is good, but it’s when it turns to idolatry that shit gets weird. It is important to know who helped bring it to where it is. I know pros today who don’t know who Jamie Lynn or Chris Roach are. I remember being a kid and reading some Peter Line thing about who influenced him. He said Roach. I figured if he influenced Peter, then I need to know what this guy is all about. Maybe at the snowboard schools they should have a history class instead of doing the afternoon trampoline training.
Who are your heroes?
Rusty Russo. My grandpa. A man of morals and ethics.
What is your focus for this winter and what are your plans?
Travel and have a good time; that’s my job. I’m never asked to do contests or really anything I don’t want to do. Quiksilver and VBS are doing something together so I’ll be involved with that.
Top five snowboarders of all-time, in your opinion and why…
1. Kevin Jones: Ability. Best all-around rider ever.
2. Peter Line: Amazing style and perfect trick selection.
3. Jamie Lynn: Cool.
4. Terje Haakonsen: Subjekt.
5. Temple Cummins: No frills. True badass.
It’s funny to look at this list and not one of these guys owns or runs their own company. Peter did Forum, which was the shit, but Burton bought it and made it the Un…inc or something. I really think snowboarding would benefit from every one of these guys making decisions on where it will go. Think how different magazines, contests, and movies would look. Beyond this list, [Mike] Ranquet, [Chris] Roach, [Scotty] Wittlake, [Noah] Salasnek, [Andrew] Crawford, [Lukas] Huffman. Guys who brought something more than just tricks. People who either left or were pushed out. Obviously people want to move on in life, do other things, which I totally respect. Just seems like it would be so different with these guys at the helm.