Winning the Freeride World Tour and filming a part for a huge brand like Salomon would be plenty of excitement for most people, but that is just the tip of the iceberg for Blake Moller. The 22-year-old never stops, and he has been learning from his peers and veteran riders alike, honing his board control and gathering knowledge in the mountains well beyond his years. After spending the season on the road, we caught up with him to get his thoughts on the tour, Natural Selection, being hungover on a train, and plenty more. Get to know Blake Moller below, because he is going to be around for a long time coming. – Mark Clavin
(After a few texts accidentally sent to Blake.)
You in Puerto Rico yet?
You sure that question is for me?
YES! Miles said you go every year.
Haha. Nah not yet, but we want to go for the month of October if possible. We went there for the first time last fall for nine days. That place just stole our hearts. We want to just make it an annual trip every year.
Your whole family? How did you grow up surfing if you are from Colorado?
No, I went there with Miles and just the homies. I really just got into surfing last summer and tried to go as much as possible after a trip to Hawaii. At the start of last winter, we were all out in SLC and got back to the house at like 2 AM, turned on Endless Summer just fiending to surf…and twenty minutes later Miles booked an Airbnb. We left by 4 AM and got there for a Swamis sunset sesh.
Haha, wait—that was your first surf?
Nah, haha. It was our last hurrah before the winter stated. That was beginning of December. It was one of the sickest, quick missions.
Where did you grow up in CO?
Still call that spot home?
I’m living in Salt Lake City, but my parents are in Eagle, just a bit down the interstate from Edwards. I still go back in the summer, at times, and work for my dad’s electrical company. Actually, I’m about to pull back up to the jobsite now.
(The interview continues over the course of the next three days.)
What was your home hill growing up?
Went to Copper the most, for sure.
What is your home mountain now?
Did you get a good amount of time there this year or were you traveling too much?
I think I got like fifteen-ish days up there this season.
Pretty busy season.
Yeah, but it was the sickest one yet.
How did it feel to win the Freeride World Tour?!
It was super dope to win the tour. I was mega stoked. I have so much respect for everyone involved with it. They’re all the shit.
Did you feel like your life changed after you won?
My life’s always changing, haha.
But no, not in a dramatic way.
How has your life changed in the past year?
I’d say it mainly just changes drastically every season. As soon as the winter is done, I am ready to surf and climb as much as possible. I did that heavily, but now that it’s like 100 degrees, I’ve been getting into the world of air. Need a couple more jumps for my skydive cert and then I get to explore all that scene has to offer.
Is skydiving the biggest adrenaline rush you have ever had?
Haha no, I wouldn’t say adrenaline rush, just so fun to fly.
I think jumping out of a working plane is a dumb idea. And while I’m here, mountain biking is a one-way ticket to a broken collarbone.
Ohio is a good choice for you then.
What does get your adrenaline going?
I have definitely been the most scared I can remember climbing. So, adrenaline would be pumping, ha.
Did you fall and the little peg thing almost come out of the wall or whatever?
Yeah, and more just climbing where there isn’t anywhere to put protection. That’s when it can get a little sketchy. But at least it’s all on you. It’s just fun trying to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
What was the dumbest thing you did this winter?
Probably deciding to stay and extra day in Annecy to party with Miles, Harrison, and Perly. We took it deep that night. I was supposed to be in Austria for the Freeride World Tour stop that Sunday and was still in France Sunday morning…didn’t get an hour of sleep. After going hard with them, I got into Austria late that night and woke up the next morning at 5 AM for the event, which I ended up winning, haha. So guess it didn’t end up being that dumb, but it sounds so stupid.
Oh yeah! Didn’t you almost miss your flight?
Yeah, except it was all on the train, so I almost missed my train ride, but Gian saved my ass. He ran back and grabbed my boardbag and shoved it in the train, literally as they were closing and then just chilled all day on the train and got in at like 10 or something. Woke up at 5 and hopped in the heli, haha. It was lit.
What’s worse, being hungover on a train or a plane?
Plane all day. I get sketchy when I’m on planes hungover. I like to feel grounded when I’m dusty, haha.
Why isn’t the Freeride World Tour is as big as it could be in snowboarding?
I don’t really know, maybe ‘cause it’s just kind of hard to sit and watch an entire event.
The tour is on its own vibe though, and way bigger over in Europe. You can buy some peoples’ bibs in stores and shit—but not mine, don’t worry. Haha.
I think it might be intimidating to riders, but also it’s kind of a big commitment all year. You can definitely do other things, but it takes a solid chunk out of the winter. And I still think people are unsure about it. That was some of my inspiration, to try and get people to think it’s fire, ya know? It’s a nuts idea to have one run on a mountain with no closures and you have to do something with that run.
I got mad respect for all the boarders on tour and past boarders. Victor de Le Rue, Sammy Luebke, Nils, Gigi. There are so many dope boarders that are on it now and that have been on it. And I think it’s one of those things where you kind of don’t realize how gnarly it actually is until you are doing it or actually seeing it. As far as competing, you can try and mimic it on the mountain as much as you want, but it’s so different when it’s actually there. You are a couple hundred yards away with binoculars scoping out your line on a mountain you’ve never ridden, and just hoping some of it is going to work out—or you can just figure that section out when you get there. Usually there are so many question marks in my line before I go, but that’s part the fun: Just be in the moment. They don’t close anything, so everything is in to hit as you want or ride where you want. It is honestly pretty crazy.
What are the biggest differences between Natural Selection and FWT?
I think just mainly that FWT gets one run. And that everyone wants a spot for Natty Select, haha.
What about you? You looking to eventually get on Natty Select?
I feel like if you win FWT, that should be an auto bid for the next year, but we will see. I’d be super down to give it a crack!
Think you could repeat a victory on that circuit?
I would just be stoked to shred with all those riders, and just being there riding the stops would be crazy. But I feel like you have to think you can win. I bet everyone who does it does.
Are there any FWT stops in the US, or just the qualifiers to get on to the tour?
There just are qualifiers in The States. FWT has five stops and cut the field in half after three, and the top half then qualify for the next year.
Is there a location you think both tours are missing in the world?
Hmm, I think NST could add something like the Bec de Rosses which is the final stop on the tour in Verbier, Switzerland. And I think the FWT is missing something like Baldface. Both of them should have something in the Southern Hemisphere—Chile or NZ Alps. Obviously that stuff is much harder to coordinate than just picking another spot, though.
Like an off-season event?
Yeah, I think that would be dope.
How did you get involved in the FWT in the first place?
My older brother was a skier on it. I went to Verbier to watch him in the finals and saw how psycho that mountain was and wanted to ride it so bad after watching him do it
Did he win the ski side of the FWT?
He didn’t win, but he’s a beast. He’s done with it now, I’m pretty sure. And my little brother, I don’t know if he wants to do it, but he could for sure. He’s kind of the guy that will do the craziest shit and not tell anyone. Total unit. The whole fam rips. I’m the only boarder, though.
Does that ever make you feel less loved?
I think more loved, haha. They know it looks better on the eyes. My lil brother started boarding because of it, haha.
Are you going to return to the FWT?
No, I don’t think so.
What else was going on this season with you?
A new Salomon project, still deciding the name of it, but it’s all Salomon’s youngins that they want to showcase and bring some of that energy to the team.
That was fun linking up with that crew this winter. For the people at home, who is all involved in that on? When is it dropping?
Emma Crosby, Gian, Luke, Johan “Jojo” Nordhag, and me, with Hupp. This fall!
Who drank the least amount of water while filming?
Luke. But when you were with us, it was you.
I’m not an athlete. What was the dumbest thing Luke did this entire winter?
We were getting a little buzzed up at the bar in the Amsterdam airport and our flights were like twenty minutes apart. I ended up making mine, but he missed his and had to kick it there overnight and sleep on the ground, ha. I didn’t hear about it till I saw him back in Utah. Classic shit, though.
Favorite trip this year?
Definitely Europe. Felt like five trips in one. I was there for like a month-and-a-half for one stint. But it felt like so many trips just because we kept posting up in different spots that would just feel like a totally different land. And it just felt like I was bouncing around with different crews. I started with Nils [Mindnich], Victor [Daviet], Emma, and some Salomon homies for a different project at first. Then I met up with the movie crew and then I would have to go and drop in for the tour.
How’d you keep it all straight? Do you change your mindset competing verses filming? This was the first time you were doing both, yeah?
I just kept it straight by shredding, honestly. And nah, same mindset. Obviously, it’s two very different things, but the riding is the same. It’s just a different pace, I guess. But yeah, it was the first time doing both for me for a season. I absolutely loved it. It felt like nothing ever slowed down or stopped.
You had some veterans mentoring or offering advice on both sides?
Yeah, for sure, I’d say Nils Mindnich and Victor Daviet took me under their wings the most this is season. I got to spend some decent time with them shredding and après. I was crashing with Victor for a bit in Annecy, France, and he’s just the sickest guy. He was helping me out with a bunch of stuff
What did you learn from them?
It was cool talking to Nils about his time on the tour and balancing that with filming—just hearing his wisdom. Victor was showing us some little tricks and tips to filming and building in the country. He helped me get a new outerwear sponsor and it just felt like he was looking out for me the whole time.
Favorite meal/standard meal in the Airbnb.
Favorite ‘bnb meal is definitely a little tortellini with pesto. In Europe we exchange that with a little gnocchi.
Anyone you modeling your career after?
Not necessarily modeling my career after anyone specific, I kind of draw inspiration from all over. I always thought Dean Potter was the most elite human of all time, though.
He died pretty young!
I think he died at 43, but just did everything to the max. And he did so much shit, it’s crazy.
Alright, that’s all. We will let you get back to work.