By Riccardo Zanirato
With RIDE Snowboards
Jake, originally from Utah, started snowboarding at an early age. Snowboarding became “his life” when he turned pro, working more and more in various video and film parts for the biggest snowboard brands in the world. Gradually, however, he retired from racing and dedicated himself to the mountains and powder!
As a true Brighton local, are you still touring there or are you in any resorts around the world?
I’ve done a lot of touring everywhere and I like to go to new areas I’ve never been to, but Brighton is my home, I love it! It’s like going to your local skatepark, on any given day you can just turn up and you’re guaranteed to meet friends to ride with. It also has a ton of access to backcountry and hiking. Minimal effort and awesome terrain. Best place in the world on a powder day.
How are you enjoying this season? Is there anything you’re missing?
This season has been a bit of a challenge, the Covid was obviously something we all had to deal with. The other challenge: the winter in Utah was really hard. There was very little snow until the beginning of February, and then it finally decided to come and it settled on a really weak and rotten snowpack, which made the avalanche danger very high. I think it was one of the highest avalanche danger years in Utah, we haven’t seen conditions like that in a long time…But you can’t be too upset, every moment spent on a board in the mountains is time well spent! We just had to be more careful.
You started snowboarding with Jeremy Jones, JP Walker and other names who are pillars of this world, how was it for you?
JP & Jeremy are the best, in every sense of the word! As a kid I looked up to them so much. Then to have the opportunity to raid and become friends with so many people I looked up to as a kid was magical, when I look back and really think about it. I definitely feel very lucky.
How do you see the new snow scene today? Would you be as inspired as you were then to start?
I would say that I quite like the snow scene these days, even though it’s very different from when I was young. I like to see the new generations coming up and see what they are capable of. I think today, as when I started, I would be just as inspired to get into snowboarding, but through different avenues like social media and the internet rather than VHS and DVDs.
Over the years we’ve seen you at X Games Real Snow and then in the woods of British Columbia on Off Course. Which is your favourite snowboard?
Definitely, when I was younger I spent more time filming and riding in the city, on the rails and so on. At the same time I was also trying to get into the backcountry a little bit. Then over the years I found myself more attracted to the backcountry. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the occasional good rail or something, but I love being in the mountains a lot more, looking for lines, jumping off rocks, drifting through trees. Also, I have to tell you, I prefer to fall in soft snow rather than on a set of concrete stairs.
The hustle and bustle of professionalism has pushed you to take a break. What in particular prompted you to make this choice?
I’m not sure if it was the hustle and bustle of pro or if it’s just a change that has come over the years or the current state of the snowboard industry that pushed me to this choice. It’s just a little bit different over the last few years. I’m not going to lie, I will always miss the years of the daily winter routine, travelling with friends, chasing snow, all working on one project and one goal during the year. Those were the best of times.
What is your setup like?
I love Ride boards, I’ve been using them for about 7 years now. They have boards that cover everything and are super fun. I used to be pretty picky about the boards and products I used to use, but these days I’ve found that I enjoy most of their boards throughout the season. If I’m at a resort, I’ve been using the Algorythm 157 lately. On a powder day, any board in the Pigs Series is great.
Do you think we really need pro to evolve the sport?
I think to a certain extent we need some kind of professionalism in snowboarding to evolve. If we didn’t, how could we progress? It just has to be done in the right way, driven by the snowboarders.
How do you see snowboarding in 10 years?
It’s hard to say where snowboarding may be in ten years. Im sure on a professional level, the level of snowboarding and style will be through roof. I can’t even imagine what people will be doing then. I remember when I was a kid and seeing a contest run with all four 900s was mind blowing. Now days its triple and quad corks, where can it go from here? My real hopes would be that we could find a way to make snowboarding more accessible to people. Right now the lift tickets, gear and everything is so expensive, it keeps so many people from having the opportunity to try snowboarding which is a bummer.
How do you see yourself in 10 years? Do you have any particular plans?
That’s a good question, I’m not really sure where I see myself in 10 years. One thing I don’t see changing since I got a little older and probably not much wiser is the search for good snow and the desire to be in the mountains.
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