Where Did Team USA Get That Space Helmet?
When discussing the NASA-inspired Burton 2018 U.S. Snowboard Team uniforms, there is one piece rising to internet fame that is not part of the official kit. That, of course, is the space helmet worn by the rotating U.S. coaches at the start of the slopestyle and halfpipe courses. Most frequently donned by Coach Mike Ramirez, Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson have both put on the helmet after taking gold in their respective slopestyle finals.
The helmet goes a bit farther back into snowboarding history though. Current Olympic Judge and former competitive rider, Connor Manning, first donned the exact model worn by the U.S. Coaches at X Games three or four years ago. We caught up with him over a beer at the base of the Olympic venue to discuss. “I showed up without a helmet and you needed a helmet to be on course. So I went to the thrift shop with Giom, right across from Gucci in Aspen and they had a space helmet there! It was only $13 bucks, so of course I had to buy it. Went back to the top of the slope and they let me drop in with a space helmet. It just became a thing after that. I was the guy that rode in a space helmet at X Games,” laughed Manning.
From there, it traveled with Connor to multiple X Games, the Red Bull Double Pipe, Mt. Hood, the Burton U.S. Open, Dew Tour and a plethora of pistes around the world. “It went so many places with me. It was the hardest thing to pack. It never fit in a board bag or carry on luggage so I actually had to wear it sometimes for takeoff and just look like an astronaut.” Need proof? Look no further than Connor’s Instagram (@condog86).
Although the Burton designers never contacted Connor while designing the uniforms, U.S. Coach Mike Ramirez called up Manning to ask which model he used and if he could borrow the original helmet for the 2018 Winter Olympic run. Willing to share, Ramirez ended up finding the exact same model first, and the rest is history.
Smiling as he ordered another beer “It’s cool! I back it. I feel like I took the first step for the U.S. Snowboard team and then they took it from there.”