As a world-renowned pro at the forefront of backcountry progression, Jake is known for his fluid blend of soulful freeriding and innate technical trickery. In his quest for pure, all-mountain expression, the Vermont native turned Washington local has pursued a singular and relevant path in snowboarding. Jake’s formative years were spent on the east coast competing in icy halfpipes and rock hard slopestyle courses, until he turned pro after winning some of the biggest events in the world, including the U.S. Open. After establishing himself as a top competitor in both venues, Jake set his sights on the backcountry, where a string of progressive video parts followed suit and positioned him as one of snowboarding’s best all-terrain talents. Then, at the top of his game, Jake shifted from the jump-based freestyle standard to a more natural, freeride-focused approach. It was a shift that set Jake apart and signaled his ongoing evolution as one of the few riders truly flying snowboarding’s flag and leading the push off-piste. He’s currently based in Bellingham, Washington, close to both Mt. Baker and the British Columbia backcountry where he spent the last two years filming for his two-year film project, Naturally.


What were you working on this winter? Where’d you go?
We started off in Japan in January. We went to Hokkaido and then from there I went to BC, where I rode at Monashee, catboarding for a bit. I was there with Shayne Pospisil, Pizzle, good shit. Then from there we went to tradeshows, end of January, got both SIA and ISPO, and then right after ISPO it dumped a shitload of snow so we went to France. We got sick powder there, I was with E-Jack and then from there I went to Ultra Natural, then to Revelstoke, then to Pemberton, then up to Last Frontier Heli. After that we went to Saas Fee, Switzerland, hung out with Freddie Kalbermatten but it got really warm, so then we booked it, pulled the plug on Saas Fee and booked it up to Riksgransen and ended the season there.

That’s a heavy travel schedule. Are you pretty comfortable with how the movie is going to come out?
Yeah, for sure. Stoked. The first year was kind of a bit of a struggle. I hurt my shoulder in February and then again in March, so after that I had to get surgery on it. It kept popping out on me, so we turned the one-year project into a two-year project and we filmed most of the video the second year. I’d say eighty to eighty-five percent of the shots will be from the second year. This last winter went really quick, I stayed healthy, we hit the snow good at every location, and yeah, it was a blast all winter long. Stacked some good footy. Everyone feels really good on making the video.

Talk a little bit about your choice to divert your career path a few years back and making a cognitive decision to stray from the contest scene and step into the backcountry. Did you see that as a risk at all?
I guess my interest in snowboarding just kind of changed. I wasn’t having as much fun doing the contest circuit and I wanted to try something different, and it was a little bit of a risk I guess, but I kind of looked at it like there was no other way. I had to do it. I couldn’t just stay competing if I wasn’t having fun, because if I did that, it just wouldn’t have worked out. I knew that I had to go and ride powder because that’s what I wanted to do and that’s what was going to keep me happy, so I kind of just looked at it like that. You gotta do what you wanna do. You can’t just get too comfortable, especially if you’re not having fun because if you’re not having fun in the contest circuit, and you’re just getting through it, what’s the point? You gotta be winning, and there’s no longevity in that, you know? Anyway, I wanted to just stay happy and ride powder, so there was no other way.

What do you think growing up on the east coast and riding hardpack snow taught you, or added to your snowboarding skillset?
It kind of seems like kids on the east coast are a little hungrier, maybe because it’s so fickle back there with weather, and lots of ice and whatnot. It’s just not as easy and then when you move to the west coast everything seems a little bit easier. Growing up in Vermont, especially under the watchful eye of Bud Keene and Jenner Richard, you learn how to turn your snowboard. You really get the fundamentals dialed, like perfecting the turn before learning every which way to spin and how to do 720s and whatnot. It gives you a good foundation growing up on the east coast. I can remember when I was sixteen I moved out west and I didn’t even know how to spin cab, but I knew how to turn well. Good fundamentals. That’s how the east coast helped me.

Where do you see your riding going in the next five to ten years?
I’d like to get back up to Alaska and ride bigger lines. There’s always that obvious next step to freestyle snowboarding but I think with riding natural terrain and whatnot it’s kind of endless. It doesn’t really seem like I’m going to get too bored because every year I ride new terrain. I try not to hit the same stuff at the same spots. Every year we ride new terrain that stokes me out, so that’s what keeps it fresh. I think I’ll just try to keep progressing, trying to do harder tricks on harder terrain, but basically just keep it freestyle in a natural snowboard environment.

You’re no stranger to having your name associated with product and having pro model gear, but I have to ask, how sick is it to see your name on a boot? It’s gotta be so insane.
It’s so sick! Right next to the three stripes, it’s unbelievable. It’s such an honor to be with that company, and just all the innovation they have to choose from, all the technology. It’s crazy what is at your fingertips with adidas.

What do you look for in a boot, and what will your adidas pro model offer?
I like a supportive, responsive boot. Lightweight, too. That’s what we were going for, and we streamlined it as well. I’ve kind of taken a lot of inspiration from soccer boots, but there’s only so much you can do to make a snowboard boot look like a soccer boot, but yeah, that’s kind of where the inspiration came from.

I know soccer is a pretty big part of your life, isn’t it?
Yeah, for sure. I love playing soccer and I try to bring a soccer ball with me everywhere I go throughout the world. I just deflate it, tuck it in the snowboard bag, and bring a pump and pump it back up when we get there. It’s good for keeping your sanity on down days. I can remember we brought it to Last Frontier Heli and there were so many down days up there, but we were playing so much M.U.F.F*. You know M.U.F.F…

Oh yeah, I’ve been up against the wall many a time against Louif [-Felix Paradis].
Hahaha! Yeah, Louif! He’s a shark for sure. It’s just a good way to get loose and warm up, especially before you hop in a heli. It kind of helps keep your head cool and whatnot. Mainly, it’s to keep your sanity and have fun with everyone. Everyone just starts cracking up whenever you pull that ball out. It’s pretty funny.

Who is the biggest threat you have faced playing M.U.F.F.? I imagine Nicolas [Müller] is pretty good.
Yeah, Nicolas is really good, I haven’t played much M.U.F.F. with Nicolas, but he’s definitely good. Terje [Haakonsen] is really good, no doubt about that. Let’s see, Shayne Pospisil is actually getting really good. He’s super good at trick shooting. We were putting the ball up in these really weird spots, like we had an old shopping cart and we were trying to kick the ball in there, like, “Okay, two bounces and then into the shopping cart,” and Pospisil was killing it.

Have you met Lionel Messi?
No, I wish. I got some boots signed by him and that was unreal. Hopefully I’ll get to meet him someday. That’s definitely on the bucket list. That would be insane.

Lastly, where can kids see the movie and when’s it coming out?
September 17th, is going to be the date of the world premiere at the Oakley headquarters, and then we start a three week to month-long tour. About two weeks in North America and roughly two weeks in Europe, we got something like, I think, maybe twenty stops throughout and then there will be a free online release on on October 14th.

You’re gonna rack up those frequent flyer miles on that tour.
Dude, I know. It should be no problem getting 1K this year. That’ll be nice to have that!

*M.U.F.F.: A group soccer juggling game where the last person to touch it before it hits the ground is assigned a letter. Once a participant is assigned all four letters, or M-U-F-F, they must stand against a wall while the other players kick the soccer ball at them.


Eric Jackson is truly a product of his environment. Raised on the steeps of California’s Eastern Sierra range, E-Jack grew up riding the massive parks of Mammoth and exploring the surrounding backcountry as a hyperactive grom. Driven by his older brother John, Eric rode twice as hard and developed a deep bag of tricks and explosive style. This dedication quickly earned him professional status and a yearly spot on the Standard Films roster. In 2011, Eric joined a new crew and produced a mind-bending blower pow-filled part for People Films’ Good Look that earned him Men’s Video Part of The Year honors from TransWorld Snowboarding as well as a spot on SNOWBOARDER Magazine’s Top Ten Riders Of The Year list. In this wayward wanderer’s most recent adventure, Eric embarked on the mission of lifetime, road-tripping and riding from Alaska all the way down to the tip of South America with his brother and it was all documented in the award-winning web series, Brothers on the Run.


Where are you from E-Jack?
I’m from Crowley Lake, California.

Right near Mammoth Lakes…
Yeah, just outside Mammoth Lakes.

You started your career riding a lot of park and pipe…
I would always ride pow on pow days, ya know? But back then my main focus in snowboarding was more on the park and the pipe side of things. And I was doing a lot of contests and that helped build the foundation for where I am today, for sure.

That seems like the logical approach for any kid coming up. You don’t see many kids, who don’t come through the contest scene.
Yeah, exactly.

How big of an inspiration was your brother John?
John being four years older than me, he was definitely my biggest inspiration. Yeah, he was always really good, and of course I wanted to be too, so yeah, John’s inspiration on me was huge.

How was it getting to film Brothers on the Run with John? Did you feel like everything came full circle?
Dude, Brothers on the Run. That was a really special trip. There’s talks about doing it again but I just don’t know, there was just so much that went into it…that was definitely a special trip, man. That was something I’ll never forget. To be able to do it with my brother was really cool, and just to be able to do cool things with our jewelry company and make those pieces for that orphanage, you know the “Brothers for Hope” project.

How did Brothers on the Run come about?
John had this vision that he wanted to drive from Alaska to Chile and he’s on a level like Travis [Rice], where he wants to do something and he wants to do it really big. John came to me like, “We’re gonna do this road-trip,” and I’m like, “Really? That’s gonna be so heavy,” but it sounded awesome. He definitely had that vision, like, “Let’s do this,” and I was like, “Alright, let’s do this!”

What is it like riding with John and Rice when they’re in their element?
Yeah, it’s awesome riding with people who are better than you, because you learn so much. It’s the only way to learn. They’re the best. I learn a lot when I’m riding with them. It’s a pleasure to ride with those guys. It’s nice to ride with people who are really good at snowboarding, because they push you. Anything you do in life where people are going to push you, that’s going to make you better at it, whatever it is.

What’s going on with JAX, John and your jewelry company?
Dude, JAX is just chugging along man. We definitely have a foundation to do something really cool. Right now, I’ve been focusing some energy elsewhere because I just bought a house, so I’m really stoked on it, but JAX is there, it’s alive, just John and I running it. It’s good man, JAX is good. We raised a bunch of money for that orphanage, and I figure if we could just keep doing cool projects like that, it has the potential to be something really cool in the future. But occasionally I have to remind myself that I’m a professional snowboarder and I have to focus on that. If John and I weren’t snowboarders and we invested all our time into it, I could see that it really could take off, you know? So, it’s more just a side project for us. We have a solid foundation, we’re definitely building a following, it’s good, and we’re expecting even more.

How does it feel to be a part of adidas?
Dude, I feel super fortunate to be a part of Adidas. What they’ve done with skateboarding is really cool, and I hope we can live up to that. Snowboarding will never be skateboarding but I just think if we can stick to the same kind of formula that they did in skate, the snow program is going to be really, really cool, and its already getting there. Just to be on a team with Kazu, Jake, Keegan, Forest, and Helen, it’s sick, for sure.

Are you going to be running outerwear and boots?
I’m runnin’ outerwear and boots, yeah.

People haven’t seen much from the outerwear line. What can they expect?
I was so surprised in their first round. The first year, there are always hiccups here and there but their first run at outerwear is good. I’m stoked, and it’s only getting better, I was just in Portland at the adidas office yesterday and the gear is really rad.

When you were riding the new adidas gear were you consciously thinking certain aspects could be better?
Yeah, I’m constantly critiquing things. I feel like the design team hates me because I’m just like, “Put this pocket here,” hahahaha. You know, always just telling them how to do things. I was in the gear all season and it’s definitely good to go.

What’s on tap for you next winter? Do you have any projects that you’re going to be working on?
Next winter is still up in the air. I’m not sure, really. There are definitely two things that I’ve been talking about doing but nothing is set in stone right now. I’m kind of waiting for things to fall into place and I’m super excited to snowboard.

You think there will be an adidas team movie in the near future?
I would be so stoked! That would be awesome. We could have such a good movie, but I don’t know. I’m sure they’ll figure it out ’cause I would be down.

What’s next? Do you see yourself continuing to push your snowboarding in an out-of-bounds arena?
Yeah, for sure. I’m going to keep riding backcountry and start riding some bigger lines, you know and try to round out my own style of snowboarding. I’m definitely excited on snowboarding to say the least. Very stoked to keep riding, keep pushing myself. I’m feeling really confident on my board these days. I didn’t get to really ride much last year, I didn’t get to ride until the end of February so everything I kept doing was literally the first time I had done it all year. I just kind of felt like I never really took any time off. I just jumped right into filming, head first. But now I’m just feeling really good on my snowboard and I think I’m going to be able to keep that up next year. It’ll be fun.


Laguna Beach, California is not a place commonly associated with snowboarding talent. Then again, Keegan Valaika is an uncommon kid whose trajectory in pro snowboarding has been anything but predictable. As a grom he localized the SoCal park mecca that is Bear Mountain, where his natural ability quickly blossomed into a full-blown prodigy designation within snowboarding’s ranks. Soon swept up in sponsorship and competition, Keegan quite literally grew up in the industry. The influence of veteran pros and the freedom of filming inspired Keegan’s vision of his own career. In 2009 he put out well-rounded parts in movies like Burton’s It’s Always Snowing Somewhere, Absinthe’s Ready, and cult-classic BozWreck 2 easily earning him SNOWBOARDER Magazine’s coveted Jibber Of The Year award. In 2010 he nabbed the ender in TransWorld Snowboarding’s feature film In Color, and continued moving toward his goal of snowboarding on his own terms with a crew of friends in tow. Keegan has since taken yet another step in his career by founding his own clothing company Gnarly and is currently balancing brand ownership with producing rider-driven shred flicks featuring himself and the talents of snowboarding’s next generation of skate-inspired rulers.


How did a kid like you from Laguna Beach, California get into snowboarding?
I got into snowboarding because my family moved to Telluride, Colorado a couple different times when I was young. I started skiing when I was four and then eventually, I saw how fun snowboarding looked, so I strapped my ski boots into a snowboard and bindings that were way too big for me and just went for it. I think I was eight at the time.

You were kind of a child star in snowboarding for a while. What was it like having all that attention on you?
I don’t know, man. I never even felt like it was that much attention. It kind of just felt like I was getting lucky the whole time. It was good not going to school when all my friends were going to school, hahaha.

It must have been kind of a trip.
Exactly, yeah. Definitely just more of a trip than anything. When you’re that young you’re just so psyched to not be going to school, you’re just hyped on the fact that your getting to travel to all these crazy places that people twice your age aren’t and they were always like, “What? You went there? Someone else paid for it? How’s that?”

In more recent years, you just kind of branched off and did your own thing. What catalyzed that?
It wasn’t even something I wanted to do. It felt like something I had to do. I never really saw it as an option to not do that, you know? It was kind of just a natural thing.

You saw it as more of an evolution than a risk.
Exactly. Yeah, that’s exactly how I saw it.

And then you started Gnarly clothing. How is it balancing a professional snowboard career as well as all the back end stuff that comes with owning a snowboard company?
It was kind of a little bit hectic. I was doing a lot more stuff in the beginning, having to be involved with it all the time. Getting to this point was a little bit of a struggle, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I was actually just more psyched on being able to give my friends stuff and putting them on the team because I had control over things like that. We knew it wasn’t a brand that would turn into something shitty, and so often cool companies will all of a sudden turn to shit because you’re running it yourself and it’s too much to handle. Well, hopefully we don’t turn to shit, hahaha.

It seems like part of your ideology is that you do what you wanna do and you wanna involve your friends in those things.
I think what’s frustrated me more than anything in snowboarding is seeing some of the old guys feeling threatened and holding down some people in the younger generations because of that. I felt it myself. That older dude that’s scared for his job so he wants to do everything he can to make sure the kids coming up aren’t seen, or don’t make it or whatever. I’ve always just kinda thought the complete opposite of them. Like, why would you want snowboarding to suck more than it could? It could be way more awesome if you give these kids a chance, and if anybody has the eye for it, it’s somebody who has done it before, so why wouldn’t you want to help a fellow snowboarder out?

Was that part of your motivation for starting Gnarly? Was that kind of a driving point?
Yeah, definitely. I had so many friends that were so good but they weren’t getting hooked up. And not that we could hook them up or pay them or anything like that, but we could just kinda get their name out there so hopefully some other company would see them and maybe make their life a little easier and they could keep snowboarding.

It seems like adidas has a pretty good team vibe, similar to what you sought when you started Gnarly.
Yeah, it’s sick because I never felt like I had to get to know my teammates. I’ve known everybody on the team already for so long. We all ended up in the same boat and it couldn’t have worked out better.

How sick is it to get free adidas skate shoes?
Oh, it’s the best, man. Like, I stack them in my closet because I like skating shoes until my toes pop through them or something, because the feel is just more there. You get more feel on your board so I’ve been wearing the same pair of shoes for three months, if not more than that. So every time I get shoes I’m like, “Oh, these are sick but these ones I’m wearing are still doing pretty damn well, so I’m gonna keep running them ’til they die.”

That’s good product testing right there though.

Have you been playing a big role in developing your boot for next season?
Yeah. I have a custom colorway on a boot and Forest [Bailey] has a custom colorway on the same one. It looks really good. I haven’t seen the actual boot yet though, but all the drawings I’ve seen of it look sick.

Are you one of those guys that’s really meticulous about your stance or do you just slap on the bindings?
They’re usually just already on there and if I know it’s wrong but I don’t have a screwdriver or something I’ll just run it until I find a screwdriver. Then I’ll just move it in or out or whatever. I used to know the exact numbers but I don’t really use numbers anymore. I just stand on it and ride, and if it feels completely terrible then I’ll go move it to where I think it should be.

So you don’t know your exact stance width.
I could give you a gauge, but there’s a two or three inch margin of error.

That’s interesting.
I read some Peter Line interview and he said his stance was different for everything he does. He would change his stance depending on what he was hitting. Not like on a typical day just riding the mountain, but if he got to a spot and he’s trying to do a certain trick, he would just switch it up and go with whatever felt right for that spot.

What’s the deal with BozWreck right now?
BozWreck is crackin’ off. I’m designing a pro model for next year right now and I’m gonna do all the art myself. It’s rad because it’s just me, Nate [Bozung], Matty [Ryan], this dude Curt [Everitt], and Jon [Francis] running the whole ship. Matty is really taking on the Team Manager type role but it’s just so amazing to be able to come back to those guys after they really did give me my start. No one paid for me to film a part for a video or anything until I met those dudes and they were just like, “No one needs to pay for you to film with us. Just come film,” so it kinda feels like going back home. I’m finally back with those guys, which is something we wanted to do the whole time.

That’s great. What are your plans for next winter?
I moved back to Laguna Beach recently but I’m kind of thinking I might try and get a spot there and just couch surf all winter and stay at my friends’ houses. Maybe I’ll buy food for them and do stuff like that. Just kind of be able to go wherever, whenever, without any real like, I don’t know, I guess it just sucks living in Boulder for that long, you live in a town that you can see the snow, but its fucking two and a half hours away. It just, it just sucks man and I’d way rather just be couch surfing and somewhere right by the snow all the time.


The backcountry environment is a demanding and dangerous place. Learning how to handle a snowboard in this often harsh and always consequential terrain isn’t for everyone. Helen Schettini however, is totally up for the challenge. The Kamloops, British Columbia native who migrated west at age seventeen to pursue her snowboard dream has spent the last several seasons exploring and progressing in Whistler’s legendary backcountry. As one of only a small handful of female riders who undertake the sled-access approach to big-mountain freestyle, Helen has come a long way in a short time. Her place on the elite Yes Snowboards team was earned by charging lines, dropping cornices, and riding out clean—action that can be seen in 2011’s Yes, It’s a Movie and 2012’s Yes, It’s a Movie, Too. Snowboarding’s top media outlets have taken notice as well, with major interviews in Snowboard Magazine, Snowboard Canada and TransWorld Snowboarding’s annual Interview Issue. If you didn’t know her before, then you will very, very soon and you can see much more of Helen when her new web series drops this summer on


Where are you from and how did you get into snowboarding?
I’m from Kamloops, British Columbia, and I got into snowboarding because my brother made me try it. I used to be a ski racer back when I was little. I did all the little ski schools and then I went into freeskiing and downhill, the whole nine yards. My brother made me try snowboarding in my early high school years. I tried it one day, then I joined this snowboard team that was at my home hill and just kind of went from there.

You mainly ride with a lot of guys. Do you find that that pushes you more in the backcountry? What is it like being the only girl on the crew?
You are scared a lot more of the time and your nerves are always running really high. I definitely put a lot more stress on myself than I probably need to, but I like riding with the guys a lot more because I think it pushes me so much. I find that you can easily just get stuck at the same level if you ride with people at the same skill level as you, and that doesn’t matter if it’s girls or guys. Riding with DCP, Romain [de Marchi], and JP [Solberg], those guys are so good and have been in the game so long; you learn so much from them. I have gotten into it a lot more seriously from just being around those guys day in and day out. I actually missed it this year because I didn’t get to ride with them nearly as much.

How did you fall in with those guys?
I lucked out, hahaha! What happened was I knew Annie [Boulanger] pretty well from being in Whistler. I think about four years ago she had a filmer but she didn’t have a crew. She knew that I had a sled and that I had been trying to get on the scene but it was just with a photographer or two. So she invited me out with her filmer, who I actually knew, just as buddies. The next year that filmer actually became the Yes filmer and when they were having a roundtable meeting they were talking about possibly looking into getting a girl on the team and he mentioned my name. That’s kind of where it started from. They just threw me a couple boards, but nothing too much. I hardly even talked to any of them. They just said that if they made a movie and if I was, you know, lucky, I might be able to get out with them a couple of times. If they had an empty crew and if my shots were good they might put them in the movie. So that’s where that first video part came from. I just felt super lucky to be able to go out with those guys.

And how did you fall in with the adidas crew?
You know what’s funny? That just all came to be, and I didn’t even realize it was happening until it already happened. I heard through the grapevine that adidas was fully going to come into the industry and this was well over a year ago, maybe almost two years ago. I actually talked to a friend of mine who was high up at Billabong. I asked if they had any connections with adidas because I would love to get on their team. adidas used to own Salomon, who made good boots and I thought I should try that whole connection out. My friend ended up getting in touch with Greg Martin, Jake Blauvelt’s agent, who got me the connection with adidas. I emailed the skate Team Manager and he wrote back “Hey, this is a little advanced, we haven’t really thought too much into it, but I’ll give you a shout at some point.” I just kind of gave up from there but I guess behind my back they had a lot of meetings and were talking about me. A couple of months later I got a call from the head guy at adidas. He said that he was going to fly out to come have a chat with me. I didn’t know it at the time, but they had already decided on me. He just wanted to have a face-to-face to make sure that I wasn’t a crazy chick or anything.

That must have been a pretty cool phone call to get.
It was pretty surreal but at the time I didn’t realize how profound that phone call was. It was kind of weird that he was coming from Amsterdam just to have a meeting with me but when you're adidas, I guess that’s kind of what they do. I thought I was one of the many people they were interviewing. In reality, they had already decided and they just wanted to follow through to ensure I was the right fit. It was amazing and I feel really blessed to be a part of that team.

It seems like they have done a good job in creating a model where they have picked up a group of really talented, world-renowned riders while also approaching their team ideology as “Do what you do. We’re just here to support you and we know you’re going to produce.”
Exactly, I think they chose riders that have tons of goals in their snowboarding and their careers. We all mesh really well. Fortunately, Kazu, Eric, and Jake had known each other for quite a few years before adidas came to be. I think a big part of me joining is that they knew that I could hang with the guys. On team trips, they didn’t have to separate me and try and do something else because I prefer to ride with the guys. They choose their line and I choose a line around it. That’s just how it works. They did a great job organizing all that, and I’m so pumped to be a part of that.

How much of a role in product development have you played? Have you helped in boot designing, anything like that?
With sunglasses, goggles, and boots, I’ve done quite a bit. We went down to Portland last August, right after we all signed, and had a look at the offices. Since then, I’ve had quite a few conversations with the designers of the boots as well a couple meetings in Germany with the adidas eyewear people. We talked about signature products, colors, likes, dislikes, and all that kind of stuff. It’s been pretty full-on right now and I think it’s going to get even more intense. Now, we’re going to be much more front-and-center for the design of our signature boots and goggles. From here on out it’ll be even more connected to the riders, which will be good.

How was last winter for you?
Last winter was really, really fun. It was definitely very stressful because I felt like it was the first year I felt the industry was watching and I wanted to perform so badly. The snow season was far from ideal due to lack of snow and there were a lot of pretty sketchy incidents with avalanches, cornices, and crevasses. You definitely need to stay very safe and cautious in the game, but with that said I think I pulled it off as best I could. I can’t wait to showcase it with the web series we are putting out in September.

What’s your approach in the backcountry?
I rode with Annie a lot of the season and she is the most cautious person out there, to the point where sometimes I would be like, “C’mon Annie, you have to live a little. This is what we are doing and it is going to be fine.” But every time we’d think we were safe something crazy would happen. The snow would give way, or there would be an avalanche. Even though I know that you can never master the backcountry, you’re only going to be as confident as you are and you have to realize that you’re in the game and you are going to have to take risks. Just make educated decisions. It’s the luck of the draw. You can be as cautious as possible but you’re going to have to go for it at some point. Hopefully next year the snowpack will be better and there will be more sunny days.

What is on tap for next year? What are some goals and things you are going to try and accomplish?
I want to travel more next year. I want to check out Europe and Alaska. I am hoping to go to Chile in August and September this year, which will be a really good time. I want to push my level of riding outside of Whistler. I think when you’re riding and sledding out there you face some of the hardest elements you are ever going to see. I want to check out Europe and push the level of women’s riding in the backcountry. Overall, I keep puttering and chipping away at that and I think it is going to come together really well.

Where can people see your web series and when does it come out?
The series is dropping on TransWorld’s website ( every Tuesday in September. There will be a lot of marketing going into that so there will be reminders of it up until then.


In today’s modern era, snowboarding continues to grow even more specialized than ever, and most riders are forced to focus on one style of riding with hopes of breaking through and making it big. Japan’s Kazuhiro Kokubo is the rare exception. The versatile phenomenon competed in pipe for Japan at the 2010 Olympics. Kazu spends his winters winning global halfpipe titles like the New Zealand and U.S. Open. When the competition season ends, Kazu peels off the bib and hops on his sled to begin filming in the backcountry. Solid, stylish parts in half-a-dozen Standard Films features plus annual Burton movie segments have established Kazu as one of snowboarding’s most well-rounded riders. In 2011 he founded Stonp, an accessories brand that supports the scene and his 7 Samurai crew back home in Japan. In 2012, Kazu filled the gaps in his competition schedule by joining adidas teammate Jake Blauvelt on filming missions for Naturally.


What challenges do you think Japanese riders face when it comes to making it big in North America?
I think the riding skill of the Japanese isn’t at the American level quite yet.

Interesting. Who were some of the riders you looked up to when you were growing up?
I never watched videos or really looked up to anyone in snowboarding since I was young, so, nobody I guess.

How is it that you got so good at riding halfpipe in an area of the world that is not known for their pipes?
Growing up in Hokkaido I got to ride all kinds of terrain while lapping the pipe at Makomonai.

Is it difficult to balance your life as a pro snowboarder as well as running your own company (Stonp)?
Yes, but Stonp and snowboarding make me who I am.

Do you plan on making an Olympic run for Sochi 2014?
Hell yeah!

What do you think it will take to beat Shaun White this year?
If you have the motivation to beat him, then maybe you can.

Do you feel like adidas has put together a group of riders who have their own outlook on what they think snowboarding should be?
Yes. It’s awesome that a company like adidas lets us guide our snowboarding the way we want to. I think it's a good team and we can start a new image in snowboarding. It’s all up to us and I hope the younger generation keeps on looking up to us and it’s an honor to be on adidas. I really like where their focus is at.

What’s up with your new boot coming out?
I will have pro model gear coming out for both boots and outerwear. We will be working on some pretty cool shit.

Which adidas riders are you most hyped on sessioning with?
It will be sick to ride with the whole team.

What made you decide to take your riding into the backcountry when you were so dominant in the competitive halfpipe scene?
I love riding both and I’ve always been riding in both contests and the backcountry in Hokkaido, so it was just natural.

Do you feel like you've opened doors for younger Japanese riders in North America, like Kohei Kudo and Ayumu Hirano?

What's your main focus for next season?
I want to film and ride contests like I’ve always been doing.


Watching Forest confidently step to big, brutal street rails you’d never guess that he’s such a mellow kid. It’s true. He’s a self-proclaimed Dead Head from rural Vermont. Over the past few seasons this semi-nomadic slayer has emerged as a versatile rider committed to steadily progressing his game on all types of terrain. His creative, skate-inspired approach to the streets is backed by solid board control fundamentals that he honed as a young buck on the icy slopes of Stratton Mountain. Summers spent riding Mount Hood and a few seasons of lapping perfectly sculpted parks in Tahoe set him squarely on the path to the pros. Forest appeared in the underground Givin’ Films’ One in 2011, producing a standout part highlighted by unique obstacles ridden with proper style. The following season he continued to transition toward backcountry and big mountain riding while filming for Givin’s sophomore release Too. After two months of shredding powder at Mt. Baker, Forest showed up at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado and casually claimed the gold medal in Street. After that, Forest finished his season filming for TransWorld Snowboarding’s 2013 release, Nation. Plainly put, people may profess that Forest is one of the best jibbers in the world, but the fact of the matter is that Forest is more than that. He’s one of the best riders in the world.


Where do you hail from?
I was born in Jamaica, Vermontt. Raised in Jamaica, Vermont. Died… unidentified at this time.

Hahaha. How did you find snowboarding?
Snowboarding kind of found me. My dad worked at Stratton Resort. When I was growing up he waited tables and that was kind of like a little escape from school, family time, and all that other stuff going on when you’re young. I tried skiing first and I just never liked skiing, I hated skiing. So I started snowboarding at a super young age, like five or six years old, and then once that started that was pretty much all I ever wanted to do. So I just did that all the time, or at least when I could.

What did you dislike about skiing so much?
I don’t even remember. Somewhere around four years old, I just remember being at the top of the mountain with my dad and falling so hard. It’s probably because it was just a super cold day or something. I don’t know, it just didn’t work out. But my dad already skied and snowboarded at that point, so it was pretty obvious that I just liked snowboarding way better.

Obviously skateboarding is a pretty big influence on you. Do you find that you draw inspiration from skateboarding and apply it to your snowboarding, or vice versa?
Both, I’d say, definitely. They go hand-in-hand. I started skating when I was about seven, so I actually started snowboarding first, but I would use the summer as my time to skate, and as soon as summer was over it would be time to snowboard. When winter was over it’d be time to skate. They’re so good to go back and forth with.

They go well together.
Yeah, similar movements. It’s all in the feet. A lot of feet stuff.

Now, as for someone who kinda staked their claim in snowboarding as a very rail-heavy rider, do you want to grow your snowboarding a little more than just being a jibber? Talk a little bit about what’s drawing you into the backcountry and what you want to do back there.
Yeah, well since I started filming video parts I’ve always been more rail influenced because it’s cheaper to do when you’re younger and it was where my head was at back then. But now, looking at it from someone who films a video part’s perspective, I want my parts to be as well rounded as anyone’s. I want just as much pow stuff as street stuff because I think it shows my snowboarding better if I put out a really full, well-rounded part. I’ve been working on trying to make that happen and I still haven’t had a part that I like…or a full segment with rail and pow footy, I should say.

I wouldn’t say that, though. However most people are their own biggest critic.
It’s getting there, though. I am going to buy a sled and a truck this summer and next year I’m really going to try and spend just as much time doing both so it’s equal. Hopefully, that will show in my video part, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Also, I just enjoy being in the woods. It’s cool to be able to travel to cities to snowboard and it’s also cool to be able to travel to those remote locations and be more involved in nature and out in the woods.

How did it feel to win an X Games Street gold medal in 2012?
It was kinda weird. I was almost embarrassed to win for some reason, but now looking back, I feel pretty good about it. I think it’s a cool thing to have done. Now it’s just like yeah…I don’t know. It’s not like every year my focus is X Games gold medals. It kind of just happened, and it’s cool that it happened, but it’s not the biggest thing for me. It’s not like I’m super stoked on it or anything. It’s just something that happened, you know?

Do you think that is your humility shining through? You’re a pretty humble guy for being as talented as you are.
I don’t really like to have the spotlight on me. It was kind of awkward for me to win, ’cause in the interview I was super uncomfortable…as always. I don’t know, hahaha.

How did you get on adidas?
Last winter I was living with Keegan and I knew he was getting on. I knew Jake was on, and Jake being a fellow Vermonter, you know, gotta stay together–us Vermonters out here on the west coast. Jake and I started to get into contact a little bit, and then eventually I just got into contact with everyone at adidas. It actually worked out super smooth. It was kind of a trip because, to be asked to ride for adidas is just so crazy. Especially from a snowboarder’s perspective of never really seeing adidas snowboard stuff ever.

I can imagine.
That was pretty mind-blowing. I’m so hyped on the crew that we have and all the sick stuff we’re going to be able to do in the future. It’s gonna be so tight. It’s incredible.

It seems that snowboarding has welcomed adidas with open arms solely on the team that they chose. They picked their team riders wisely. They chose open-minded individuals, and it doesn’t seem like they are going to force their team to do things that they don’t truly want to do.
They are doing it right. They’re not trying to come in and take over and be this huge corporation. They’re just trying to make their little place in snowboarding where they can have an amazing team with a couple of homeys on it and it’s cool because the team dynamic is there. We’re all good friends so it makes everything that much easier. There’s going to be so many cool opportunities in the future with adidas Snowboarding.

How stoked are you on free skate shoes?
Dude, that’s like the biggest come up ever.

And what about the boots? What role have you played in their development? Are you going to have your own boot?
Eventually, hopefully yes. I’ll have a colorway premiering at SIA in 2014 and it’s cool that adidas Snowboarding is based out of Portland and I just moved to Portland recently so I’ve already gone to the office a couple times and met with them. I’m able to work super closely with them and I’ll be able to in the future as well. Just like, testing the new products, making sure the boots are good, and working with the designers on everything.

What were you up to last winter and where can kids go and check it out?
Last winter I filmed for TransWorld’s new movie Nation. It was a super good year and I had a couple of really fun trips. It was definitely kind of stressful at times, but it was a different form of filming than I guess that I was used to in the past because in the past it was just strictly film with the homeys, always. I think it all worked out super good though and I’m stoked for that movie to be done with. Time to move on to new exciting projects. I don’t even know what they are yet but I guess I’ll figure that out soon.

Jake Blauvelt
Eric Jackson
Keegan Valaika
Helen Schettini
Kazu Kokubo
Forest Bailey