Dustin Craven

Dustin Craven’s rise to fame was as rapid as it gets, as an unruly little troublemaker from Calgary began to appear in magazines and videos around the mid-2000s. But then, the limelight faded as Dustin kept hustling in the backcountry to stake his claim in a brutally cutthroat professional sport. A few years ago, Craven—who had been diligently filming every winter and putting out unreal parts—appeared in The Natural Selection up at Baldface Valhalla. The whole world was in COVID-19 lockdown and the Tour had to host an all-Canadian rider event and Dustin showed said locked-down world what he had really been up to in the previous winters. As a new member of the BlackStrap team, Craven’s skillset is unique in that the terrain that he looks at to ride seems unimaginable to many who have the skillset to ride it. Steep, fast, no-holds-barred and scary as shit. That’s Craven’s dream run. From pillows to cliffs to spines and chutes, Dustin attacks the mountain like no one else and all of his hard work and dedication has finally paid off, as he has become a regular on the Tour, picked up a few new sponsors and become a household name to not just the snowboarding world, but other the…well, world. Craven is on a tear, and we decided to catch up with him after the Natural Selection Tour on his home turf of Revelstoke, BC. —T. Bird

You’ve been a pro snowboarder for a long time and a lot of people don’t know that you used to be a certified park rat.
I grew up across from a small ski hill in Calgary Alberta and we had a park with a halfpipe. I would get off school every day during winter and go night boarding and shred the park. My group of friends probably rode 5-6 days a week there for the whole winter. 

You’ve also ridden in an Olympic halfpipe. During the Olympics…
I had the opportunity to be the Olympic forerunner in the 2010 Olympics. I had been partying in Vancouver so hard the whole lead-up that I was such a pile the night of the event. I ended up just doing a full run of handplants for my forerunner runs. I remember Danny Kass being mad because I had the world watching and I wasted it on handplants. I also got told that Tony Hawk was there and he was very impressed by my runs so…

DC at NST. p: T. Bird

A little Olympic trivia. Without Googling it, can you tell me who the snowboarder was that jumped through the rings at the Vancouver Opening Ceremonies?
That’s Johnny Lyall and we will never forget! 

What catalyzed your transition from park riding to backcountry riding?
Back in my day of park riding and contest riding, all of the pros did everything. I remember Travis Rice doing X Games pipe and slope and making The Community Project video all in the same season. Back then it wasn’t as if you were making a call, it’s just what you did. 

What is your Canadian Mt. Rushmore for snowboarders?
We don’t carve faces into rocks up in Canada but I feel like the Jasper Parkway (route 93) is one of the most beautiful drives with glaciers in the world. 

Moving on to The Natural Selection Tour. What has NST done for your career?
Well, if you work really hard and win some trophies they will give you a summer job, lol. I think it definitely helped extend my career a few years and everyone always rides so hard that it makes you push yourself and you realize that there is a level of snowboard ability you didn’t know you had. 

Where is the trophy you won at Baldface after taking first place?
It was up at Baldface since the event but now it’s in my living room as of this fall.

Dustin Craven
Sage vs. Dustin. p: T. Bird

You are one of the newest members of the Blackstrap team. I’d say you’re one of the newest faces of it but the balaclava covers your face.
Yeah, it’s great to be getting new sponsors and for me it’s so great when any brand supports riders. I think snowboarding is between a rock and a hard place and the brands the stand behind the sport are what keeps us going. Stoked to ride for Blackstrap and excited to see how they help our sport from an NST level or sponsoring a small film project like the one I’ll have this fall. 

Lastly, as winter starts to wind down, what are your summer plans?
I’m going back to work on the NST course after this last event. I think it’s kinda pathetic how much fun all the riders had. I’m going to make a big push for things to be scarier, cause what’s boarding if you don’t think you’ll die?