Stopping traffic during a Think Thank shoot at Brighton. photo: T. Bird

Nial Romanek is one of those underrated guys. He possesses a low-key, Midwest demeanor and his riding has a fluid, easy style, a combination that often belies the tech and difficulty of tricks he lands. For the ever-growing audience that has been paying attention to this Hibbing, Minnesota-raised rail assassin, his video parts with Think Thank have showcased a consistent style filled with proper presses and and slick switchstance execution. While Nial generally lets his boarding do the talking, his at times shy demeanor becomes more boisterous the more you hang out with this Boreal local, though his humble outlook on his riding never waivers. Because we appreciate his discerning on snow style, we tapped Nial to unstrap and weigh in on the subjects that matter, from eating insects in Cambodia, to difficult tricks, to the most promising rising rookies in the current Midwestern snow community. This fall, when Think Thank Methods of Prediction premieres, we eagerly anticipate the flash of this switch king’s name across the screen because we can’t wait to see what he’s bringing to the table in his 2015 video part. As long it’s not a plate of bugs.

Three bugs you've eaten:
– Water bug.
– Tarantula.
– Scorpion.

Three sketchiest spots you've ever filmed at:
– This year in Flint, Michigan, at a park. I don't know what the park is called, but it was just really sketchy. All the poles had missing people signs on them, as high as you could reach, all the way around, and they were all of different people.
– A couple of years ago in Boston while filming for the Flow movie, this flat closeout, drop-to-down ledge was super sketchy.
– A spot I hit this year in Montana. I went out onto a highway, that was the ride-out.

Three warm up tricks:
– Front nosepress.
– Switch nosepress.
– Cab five.

Three things to do on vacation in Thailand:
– Eat bugs.
– Go to an elephant sanctuary.
– Go scuba-diving.

Three Midwest riders you looked up to when you were growing up:
Holy cow. Can I just say everyone? That one's too hard for me.

Three up and coming Midwesterners that you are currently stoked on:
– Benny Milam.
– Tommy [Gesme].
– Kyle Kennedy.

Three things a tourist should do the first time they visit Hibbing, Minnesota:
– Go to the mine view and see the open mine pit. It might still be the biggest open mine pit in the world, but I don't think so anymore. It might be number two now. There's not really anything else to do in Hibbing.
– Go check out Bob Dylan's house. It's on Bob Dylan Drive.
– Get a four-wheeler and rip around the mine dumps and get covered in iron ore.

photo: Aaron Blatt

photo: Aaron Blatt

Three things to do order to prepare for an apocalypse:
– Get a gun.
– Water purification thing.
– A shit ton of weed.

Three favorite video parts ever:
– Chris Engelsman in Lame, the one where he does all four 270s at Windells.
– Kevin Jones, Stand and Deliver.
– Louif Paradis, These Days.

Three tricks you can't do:
– All double corks.
– Switch noseslide pretzels. It's just stupid. It's like the easiest move and I can't do it. Everyone else can do it and I just can't.
– Switch frontflips. I always eat shit.

Three tricks that you can do, but are always hard to land:
– Switch back 180 to 5-0, back one out.
– Switch back 5-0 back 180 out.
– Any trick can be really hard depending on what you're trying to do it on.

Three things to bring with you on a rail mission other than your snowboard:
– Epsom salt.
– Hippie Ibuprofen.
– Extra contact lenses.

Three challenges of filming in the streets:
– Getting kicked out, obviously.
– Snowmelting.
– It's just harder!

Three ways to avoid getting busted at spots:
– Being really nice.
– Do it at times when the business isn't open, or when there isn't a janitor there.
– Not being insanely loud.

Three people to take resort laps with:
– John Murphy.
– Dylan Bonnie.
– Matt Rabow.

Three things that happened while filming for Think Thank this year:
– Didn't get kicked out of any spots in Salt Lake City. That was a feat.
– Flying somewhere that had six feet of snow to somewhere that had three inches. I went to Boston, which had six feet of snow and it was still snowing, then, I left and went to Milwaukee because everyone was in Boston!
– The new Taylor Swift album got played way too much. We memorized the whole fucking thing.

Three leaks from your upcoming part:
I don't know, I haven't seen it!

Hiking toward the snow at Mt. Shasta in the spring. photo: Christine Savage

Hiking toward the snow at Mt. Shasta in the spring. photo: Christine Savage

Three things about splitboarding at Mt. Shasta:
– When I went it rained, but we still went up. We pretty much pond-boarded and river-boarded the whole time.
– It's taller than you think it is. It goes forever.
– We went up to go build this jump. We brought the camera up and we forgot the extra battery down in the car. So we had to hike down an hour and a half, get the battery, and then hike all the way back up, which took like two more hours. Then as soon as we started filming, it started thundering and lightning everywhere. It was the worst. That was the dumbest day ever.

Three favorite backlips:
– Steven Duke, Everyday Something.
– Jake Kuzyk. I can’t remember the film, but he like catches air off the flat.
– Colin Langlois, he does a backlip on a down rail with a donkey. I'm pretty sure he backlipped it. Somebody backlipped it…

Three things to do when there's no snow in Tahoe:
– Skateboarding.
– Hanging out at the lake.
– Go surfing on the lake.

Three switch tricks you like to do:
– Switch back nosepress.
– Switch backlip.
– Switch back 5-0.

Three best parts about filming on the East Coast:
– It's not as blown out, so not every rail is knobbed, and people aren't pissed off all the time about everything. The people are nicer—well, actually no. There are a lot of assholes there.
– Great food.
– I always have a place to stay.