Grilled: On filming and fatherhood; the reality of being Dan Brisse
Not many people can say that they have assaulted the snowboard industry like Dan Brisse has. Seemingly out of nowhere, the Minnesotan laid a well-placed uppercut to the stagnating industry that sent the sleepy giant reeling. After an onslaught of video parts that forced viewers to rewind at least twice, he is fast becoming a household name inside and out of the snowboard industry. X-Games Real Snow only intensified Brisse’s prowess, giving him a shot to showcase his intensity, work ethic, and passion. Essentially, it’s a Minnesota boy’s dream come true.
For weeks on end, Brisse treats himself to sleepless nights and massive risk while his wife is somewhere else, holding their new baby boy—hoping he is staying on his feet. One has to wonder how being a family man can change a career of gapping buildings.
So, as riders are gearing up for the first sign of flakes, we caught Brisse during a not-so-hectic time, and we grilled him proper.
Summer is almost up. What have you been up to over the last few months?
I’ve been up at High Cascade, just riding park—riding mellow and doing some tricks that I usually don’t get to do during the filming season. It’s kind of cool. A lot of the guys come back every year, and to come back to that and get to see everyone is always a good time.
Any major plans for this upcoming season?
Yeah, for sure—I am going to be working on the new Capita video, which is going to be sick. Also, we will be doing some more webisodes for Nuts and Bolts. I’ll probably do real snow again this year as well, so I will start getting ready for that in November.
You basically put Nuts and Bolts on by yourself, right? How did that go down?
No, there was team effort all around. All of my brand managers, Jaimeson Keegan, and I got together and decided it would be something rad to do. We all agreed that things are changing in the snowboard world and there is an opportunity to put cool edits online throughout the year, so we decided to do it. It’s a great way to show a ton of footage, and the struggles that you go through on a day-to-day basis that may not be shown in a video part.
You’re essentially a Real Snow mainstay now. How did you first end up there?
To be invited back to Real Snow you have to get top three usually, so as long as I can stay up there I plan to keep doing it for a while. The way I got into it is that they called me a few years back and invited me to compete in a new contest format that would be video-based. So that’s sort of how it all began. It can get pretty crazy filming for it, but it’s a good fit for me.
What makes it so crazy?
There is so much you need to do in such a short period of time that you basically don’t stop for several weeks. And with the way snowboarding is, everyone is hitting bigger features and getting more technical every year, so you have to be on it.
How important is having a good crew?
A good crew is everything. If it wasn’t for my crew, I wouldn’t have been able to do most of the stuff I have been able to. Most of the stuff we are shooting is not a quick ‘show up and hit it’ situation— there is a lot of planning and building that goes into it, not to mention that you need that support group when you are about to go for something big. You need them to bounce ideas off of and get opinions to help make decisions. Yeah, a good crew is everything.
How do you feel your career has evolved?
When I first started filming video parts, I felt like I had something to prove, and maybe I really did, as I saw all of my friends giving up on being snowboarders. I did everything possible to film a video part of all time. And now, I still have some of those desires, but it’s more of a “relaxed, get it done,” sorta way if that makes sense?
How does your wife feel about your career?
My wife Melissa handles my career like a champion—she is rock solid. I am a person that can be up and down a lot. If I’m not riding well, I get down on myself. She is very even keeled, and it helps me for sure to chat with someone who is so levelheaded.
Does she ever travel with you?
Certain trips she will. When I am filming for Real Snow, she will come sometimes and stay in the hotels with me. Alaska and BC, she doesn’t come since it’s pretty isolated. But now, with having our boy Zealand, she will likely stay at home more often.
Has having Zealand played into your career?
Yeah it definitely has. This is the first year that I have had a son. During the filming for (Volcom’s)IP2, I would have to sit back and think about the fact that I have a kid and I should probably be around for him. But I feel like I just ride smarter. If I see a feature that I am stoked about, I hit it for sure. If it is something I am not stoked on, I wont hit it. It’s that simple.
Even still, you have hit features that others in the industry would not have even looked at. What helps you in those situations of literal do-or-die?
It is one of those things where I always know I can make something I try. It’s like if your picking up that coffee cup. You know exactly how to pick it up. You know there is that small chance of spilling that coffee but you have to take that risk.