Some of you may know Aspen, some of you may not but as you will quickly learn, he rips on a snowboard and has lived a pretty nontraditional life.
We caught up with Aspen to pick his brain about his season, his upbringing and thoughts on snowboarding in the year 2017. Lessssgo!
ROME: Aright Aspen, tell us who you are, where you are currently and a little about yourself?
ASPEN: At this very moment i’m drinking my morning coffee in Southern Oregon and getting geared up for a day full of farming. Its spring time which means not only slushy park sessions, but also starting all of my Family’s crops for the next year.
As for about me, i was born and raised on the Grateful Dead Tour from 93 until the summer of 95 when Jerry Garcia died. We ended up settling down in New Mexico where i learned how to Snowboard from my stepdad. He actually bought me my first board and we were strictly powder junkies due to lack of parks in New Mexico. When i was 14 things at home in New Mexico were looking sketchy. My friends were constantly getting messed up and going down some really dark paths so i decided to apply for a snowboarding boarding school. My dad made a deal with me that if i filled out all my own paperwork and got a half scholarship, then he would figure out a way to pay the other half. Those 4 years of high school were nuts. We traveled around as a team, competing and snowboarding every day.
After high school i moved to Tahoe and started working on park crew for a couple years at Kirkwood and Sierra-At-Tahoe while filming part time with the Bird Flu Crew. Basically a crew of badass dudes that kind of kicked my ass into being a better snowboarder and a better person. The rest is still being written.
ROME: Damn, that is pretty wild. Those early years must have been pretty sick, alright so tell us about last season and what you were doing riding wise? Looks like you covered a lot of different spots and terrain…
ASPEN: Last season was a bonkers one! I had been living in Tahoe for 3 years immedietely as the drought hit and finally last year we got snow. One of my teams had a house at Northstar so i pretty much just lived there for two months. It was radical to go out hiking with people like Halldor Helgason, Hana Beaman, Red Gerard, Blake Axelson, Brendan Gerard, Brandon Cocard, basically some all around badass people.
We would shred everything in the backcountry from big booters and lines to miller flipping through flaming trees. Then the next day we would shred park and just destroy at places like Boreal and Sierra-At-Tahoe.
Then there was AK at the end of the season. Alaska is such a wild environment to be in. Its massive and seriously you cant tell the scale of the mountains until you’re in them. In Alaska we always go glacier camping instead of helicopters or snowmobiles and that adds such a gnarly factor. When you get dropped off on a desolate snow patch in the middle of the gnarliest looking mountains it makes your stomach tighten up and you realize what you’ve gotten into. Then just living on the glacier (melting water every day, cooking meals, digging out tents) is a challenge in and of itself. Sometimes the weather will come in right as all the tents are set up and then you’re just stuck in a whiteout blizzard for an unknown amount of days. We even had our pilot (Drake) fly in the day we were supposed to get out and just start screaming that we had to go. Our photographer (Zach Clanton) was the only one allowed in the plane, so Cody Booth and I got stuck in another storm for 3 days until finally flying back to civilization. But no matter how gnarly it gets, theirs no trade off for the best turns of your life. I love Alaska.
At the end of the year Snowboarder Magazine puts on an amazing event called Superpark. Thats usually the last stop of the year before summer starts. Last year they had it at Mammoth and the name really fits the size of the features. All sorts of mountains come together to build some really behemoth jumps then the best snowboarders in the world get to session for 5 days of private shredding. That was such a blast! its insane to drop into the craziest jumps I’ve ever seen along with some of your legends like Pat Moore, Chas Gulldemond, Travis Parker, and Bjorn Leines.
ROME: Yeah that is a rad season for sure! Alright let’s get down to it, what’s your favorite part about boarding?
ASPEN: Oh man. Whats not my favorite part? I guess its the whole thing. Having anticipation the night before snowboarding something crazy. Waking up the morning of shredding somewhere amazing and realizing how blessed we all are. Driving and traveling with friends to exceptional places around the world. Working hard all day to land a rad trick or ride a gnarly line. Going home after stomping and feeling accomplished. And obviously the actual act of snowboarding. It brings me such joy and peace. Its like all the Buddhists talking about “Be Here Now” and reaching Nirvana, that’s like snowboarding. Just being completely happy in that exact moment.
ROME: Well said, alright continuing on the spiritual tip, If you had one final day of boarding left on earth, what would you do?
ASPEN: No question at all i would fly to the most desolate place in Alaska, hike a gnarly line, shred down like a freakin Eagle then building a rhythm section at the bottom with my friends and drink beers deep into the night. All while listening to good tunes and eating killer food hahaha.
Either that or like Mason Ho’s dream wave but for snow MASON HO’S DREAM WAVE
ROME: Words to live by! Any thoughts on plans on what next season might hold for you?
ASPEN: Honestly I dont know yet. I have to get through the summer before i know that. But ultimately i will shred Mt. Hood this summer. Then from there i want to start doing more global trips. I really need to go back to Japan. Maybe do a couple months in Europe and absolutely finish up my season in Alaska.
ROME: True, true. That said, you’re a very diverse rider who has ridden a ton of different terrain, what are you most fired up about boarding wise these days?
ASPEN: I would say taking the freestyle aspect of snowboarding and moving it into big mountains. Its unreal to look at an entire mountain face as a natural park and try to write my own line down it. That as well as always shredding with friends. Its a necessity to enjoy this short life were living and if we cant share that with the ones we care for then I dont know what life is worth.
ROME: Spoken like a true boss Aspen, alright let’s wrap up here. Three words to describe boarding, GO:
As Bob Marley says
-Aspen Rain Weaver