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Interview with Alex Stewart: from lockdown to new boards

Text Riccardo Zanirato

Photos Troy Tanner

 

Powered by Northwave

Last winter marked a turning point in the evolution of Rusty Tothbrush. This crew that seems more like a real family, made of very different lifestyles and snowboarding even among the riders, gives us every time sensations that go far beyond the frontiers of the sport.

Always characterized by innovative and stylish tricks and spots, with the publication of the feature film Project Hijinks the level has reached another planet. Not only in terms of riding. The filmed parts on the 8mm and the street spots mixed with the backcounty parts give a sensational old school style even for the less nostalgic.

This winter we were already enjoying the anticipation of new ideas from Peppino and Simpson brothers and instead the world situation left us with a bitter taste in our mouths. But the crew was not intimidated.

WHAT’S UP? We’ve already seen some tricks in Zermatt,  how was your return to this “new normal”?
New normal is goood, I flew back to Milano from a shoot with Northwave in Salt Lake City, USA on the 5th of March and couldn’t believe how empty the airport was. Scared we may end up blocked in Italy the next day we loaded up our van and started heading for France hoping to outrun the lockdown. by the time we got to the boarder we realised how serious the situation was and decided to stay in Italy and ride out the lockdown. We definitely made the right call and in the end I really enjoyed the long needed rest. It gave me time to reassess my life and I’ve since updated my approach to the way I live in really positive ways… so yeah, new normal is good, I feel so lucky to be back on my board up at Zermatt for sure.

 

While everything stopped, you guys surprised us with “The Patch”. Was it more of an idea or a need?
One of my favorite places to snowboard in the world is Prato Nevoso, There is something special about that place as every time I visit there is always so much energy and hype in the air. So as soon as lockdown was over we headed straight there. I had found a couple plastic tubes during lockdown that we strapped to the roof of the camper to bring with us. Some of my friends who are locals at Prato took me to see “The Patch” and from there the situation just grew naturally and unintentionally with people coming and going over the 10 days we spent up there. We would all do yoga together in the morning by the lake followed by epic hike sessions in the afternoon, such a beautiful way for us all to come back to the sport we love, I can guarantee we will be up there again next spring for #thepatchpratonevoso 2.0 .

In the clip, the features you were riding were completely DIY, do you think this made you better express your style?
As I ride mostly street during the winter I tend to prefer riding stuff that I build myself or with friends, it helps me visualise exactly what trick I want to do. It also gives you the possibility to shape the feature to suit a particular trick you want to try especially with the tubes that we found, they plugged into each other like lego pieces so you could set it up in a bunch of fun random variations.

 

Davide Boggio is a new face in the Crew, what’s the feeling of riding with him?
Actually Boggio has probably been filming with us for almost 3 years now so for me he doesn’t seem like much of a new face but I guess for the history of Rusty Toothbrush he is pretty fresh still haha I love that kid! he is one of my closest mates so it’s always a pleasure to shred with him. He is young so he keeps me hungry and on my toes which is nice too

 

Do you think Snowboarding should unplug from the stiff dynamics of Slopestyle to regain its soul?
I think that as far as snowboarding goes as a whole community we are lucky to have a huge list of amazingly stylish slope riders in the spotlight who have chosen to prioritise style over technical difficulty even if it may cost them a spot on the podium. I feel all snowboarders should be more aware of how they use their snowboard and as long as we all collectively focus on keeping it fun and stylish it will always have it’s soul.

Travelling costs and resort are a forever issue for Snowboarding growth, your crew gives us this feeling of nomadic intimacy linked to basic needs and friendship. What are your tips for the young riders out there?
Our industry is definitely way to expensive and this needs to change, however until it does there are still ways to ride on a budget. pick a resort, scrape together some money to get that season pass, work the night shift at whatever job you can find and go ride everyday. if you are hungry enough doors will start to open. you just got to believe you love snowboarding more than any one else.

 

What’s your setup like? We’ve seen you riding a new board with a sick graphic? Can you tell us more about it!?
You spotted that did you?? Yeah I’m insanely hyped on the Rusty Toothbrush x Drake Collab board and binding I’m using. It’s such a privilege to get to design a board from the ground up with the boys. Our goal with the board was to see if we could bridge the gap between street and backcountry by making one board in one size that could do both. I used the 155cm comboed with the Drake Supersport bindings all season both in street and backcountry and I can say hands down it’s the best setup I have ever ridden. It’ll be in shops this winter so keep an eye out for the big toothbrush on the base and you’ll know you’ve found the board I’m talking about.

“Scegliete un resort, raccogliete un po’ di soldi per ottenere lo stagionale, fate il turno di notte in qualsiasi lavoro riusciate a trovare e andate a ridare ogni giorno. Se siete abbastanza affamati cominceranno ad aprirsi delle porte. Dovete solo credere di amare lo snowboard più di chiunque altro.”

How do you choose your sponsors? How did you choose them in the past?
For me it was a no brainer to join the Drake and Northwave team, they make some of the best quality gear in the game and are motivated in pushing the sport forward by supporting me and all our projects. the same goes for my apparel sponsor FYVE, the owner Clive is such a frother and cares so much about snowboarding and making it affordable for everyone. that’s a concept I can get behind. I am also so lucky that all my sponsors are great friends and I’m able to help design the products I get to ride. In the beginning I was picked up by my local shop “Select” in Queenstown and shortly after started riding for DC so in the beginning I guess you could say I was the one being chosen, however after 7 great years I felt I needed a change and I deffinately made the right call at the right time.

 

We’ve now officially entered summer, do you have any new project in mind?
Yeah we will be up at Zermatt throughout the summer with the Rusty Toothbrush boys so keep an eye out for some fresh summer slashes on your feed soon.

Curious about Alex Stewart’s setup?

Board: Drake X Rusty Toothbrush

Bindings: Drake Super Sport

Clothing: Fyve

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