Pat Fava is on one this season. He started out by being inducted into the pro ranks of ThirtyTwo. Then he won The Bomb Hole Dog Fight. He’s been taking advantage of Utah’s monumental snowfall this season by breaking out into the backcountry for the first time. And last weekend in Detroit, he stood on top of the podium at Red Bull Heavy Metal, the rebirth of a contest that he watched as a kid growing up in Southern Utah. Pat’s always had unmistakable style, super technical prowess, and the most stoke for snowboarding, so it’s really exciting to watch his ever-increasing momentum. In Detroit, he dominated throughout all three Zones in Hart Plaza, tackling the wall, the down-flat-down, and the amphitheater down rail with equal finesse and his personal breed of explosively smooth snowboarding. Now, after adding another impressive accolade and ten thousand dollars to his name, the Salomon team rider is heading into the Grit Rail Jam in SLC and following that up with more filming for a project with ThirtyTwo. The seaon’s been busy for Pat, but he made time to catch up with us on how it’s all been going. – Mary T. Walsh

Because I went with Denver to the hospital [editor’s note: Denver is all good. He had to get some stitches in the back of his head, but he’s okay!], I missed the last few minutes of the contest, so I didn’t find out till super late that that you won. I was super stoked! You were on fire!
Thank you, I appreciate it. And thanks for taking care of my friend there.

Oh, of course. It was wild. It was a really unique way to experience Detroit by going to a downtown hospital.
Yeah, exactly. See what’s going on around the area.

I was surprised by the amount of delivery pizza in the waiting room and simultaneously envious of it.
Damn, I wish I would’ve gotten Denver some pizza. That would’ve been smart.

So glad he is good. So, are you doing the Grit Rail Jam this weekend in SLC?
Yeah, I was actually, I think the tenth rider—the last rider Jeremy Jones hit up.

Have you been over and looked at the setup there?
I haven’t. I’ve just been seeing photos online. It looks pretty fun. It’ll be cool. There’s going to be a shitload of people, so it’ll be fun, downtown.

Are the NBA players going to be there?
I’m not sure, I heard something. They’re doing something with a basketball hoop and some NBA players, but I’m really not sure.

Is there a good prize?
Yeah, same as Heavy Metal, 10k.

Oh dang. Was that what you won for Heavy Metal, 10k?
Yeah, which is insane.

That’s sick. Back-to-back rail jam weekends.
Yeah, I know. I’m recovering right now. I’ve been doing a bunch of yoga and stretching. I was pretty sore after Heavy Metal.

Heavy Metal was buzzer-to-buzzer, going three rounds for practically an hour each time. By the time you got to the last rail in Zone 3, were you pretty gassed or did you have adrenaline keeping you going?
I prepped for the day, did morning yoga, and was actually chugging a shitload of water, so I was energized all day. Probably had energy from the hype and adrenaline, as well. Zeb, Ryan Paul, and I even kept riding Manramp on the setup after. I was still down to board. I still had a ton of energy. And then, the next day it hit me a ton of bricks. The whole squad limped in.

How was the Manramp session? What was that all about?
It was dope. After announcements, Zeb came out to me and he was like, “Yo, Manramp is here. Would you want to do a sesh on the setup with him? I was like, “Are you kidding me? Yeah, that’d be insane.” And so he literally went and got his Manramp kit on and his piece of plywood, and it turned out to be so much fun.

That was on the down-flat-down, right?
Yeah. Then there was no snow at the top anymore, so we were just dropping in from the top of the stairs and hitting the bottom of it.

Had you been in Detroit before or was this your first time?
I have never been in Detroit. First time.

What were your thoughts on the city?
I thought it was epic from what I experienced. I flew in, Uber’d to the hotel, and then I just walked around the city and enjoyed it. After the contest, we were checking all the food spots on scooters. There were a lot of cool skate spots, too, that I was eyeing up.

Zone 3. p: Walsh

Yeah, Detroit has a really good vibe in that sense. The buildings are gorgeous. The food scene is really good. The skate scene seems super gritty and cool. Everything about Detroit seems rad.
Yeah, that’s exactly my thought on it. And I can attest, the food was good and the buildings are so old and rad. We got an Airbnb on the 29th floor of this hotel and it had the coolest lookout to go chill on. I think it’s a dope city. I loved it.

What spots did you get to eat at?
I would say personal fave was chicken and waffles for breakfast after the contest. I don’t remember the exact name of the place, I wish I did. But they were famous for their chicken and waffles. They hit so hard.

How was the scooter tour?
The scooter tour was really fun. I was rolling around with Denver, Mace, and Lolo. We were just ripping around by the hotel. It was epic. We were going for a brunch spot. We found the chicken and waffles on the scooters and even celebrated with a bottle of champagne for breakfast.

Did you go to Pine Knob on Friday?
No, I actually flew in on Friday, but I heard a bunch of homies went there and it looked like a lot of fun. If their park is anything like how the Heavy Metal setup was built—Pine Knob park crew absolutely killed it. I hear good things, so I definitely want to make it there sometime.

So going back to the contest itself, when you think about Heavy Metal and its place in snowboarding, what are your thoughts on it overall?
I remember watching the Salt Lake City contest and just tripping out on it when I was a kid, because I was like, “Salt Lake is so close to me,” and it’s crazy that they put up a contest on a street spot that’s already built. I thought it was such a cool idea. Seeing those clips always made me trip out. Last year was my first time doing one, of course. They brought it back and the whole thing was insanely fun. It’s super exciting stuff.

What do you think about this year’s set up?
I think they absolutely killed it. Ideally, if everyone was getting to the top of the wall, that would’ve been dope. But there was no way—no matter how fast or slow the snow was, I don’t think we could have gotten to the top without a winch or some kind of speed machine.

Yeah, totally.
So other than that, I loved it. I had a blast. They killed it on all the rails. They slid very well.

What was your favorite zone?
It was probably the kink rail in Zone two, just because the most crazy shit went down on that, I feel like. It was really just fun to watch. That was probably the most popping from my perspective.

In contests, what’s the mental side of things like for you? Do you feed off what’s going on around you with other riders and the crowd or kind of shut all the noise out and focus?
When it comes to the riding, I’m able to shut out all of the noise and focus. When I’m not riding, I’m fully feeding off the homies chucking meat, and the crowd!

I’m sure that you’ve watched all the Hart Plaza clips from the past decade and a half leading up to it. What did it feel like to land in Hart Plaza for the first time and be snowboarding there for the contest?
I’m just thankful to be able to be a part of it. I’m so thankful to Joe Sexton and Grace Warner. The amount of people that showed up for this event was absolutely insane. That was also another one of the highlights for me: I was standing on the drop-in ramp and just seeing the amount of heads and the hype—that was absolutely crazy. Detroit came through, I think that was the perfect place for Heavy Metal to happen this year.

Yeah, I was so impressed with the Michigan love. When you think of Midwest snowboarding, you always think of Minnesota or Trollhaugen, and what this weekend showed me is that Michigan hasn’t gotten enough love. Grace and her friends really showed us what Michigan is all about. Seeing how many people came out and were so hyped on all the Michigan borders that were killing it, I was just like, “Dang, this place has got legs.”
Yeah, it’s got a good scene. I think it’s epic, the whole Pine Knob snowboard scene down there. it looks like there are a lot of spots in the city, too, for filming when it gets snow. I would love to go back to Detroit, honestly.

Looking at your season as a whole, you turned pro for ThirtyTwo and got a signature boot. Utah has been getting hammered. You won The Bomb Hole Dog Fight and now have a Heavy Metal win, too. Winter seems like it’s been going pretty good!
Yeah, the season has been showing me so much love and it’s been incredible. I’m thankful for every moment. ThirtyTwo really came through with a full surprise boot for Phil Hansen and I. I’m a huge fan of SoleTech and everyone over there, and have been for my whole life, so that was insane to start off the year. The Dog Fight was incredible because I was able to win 5K from that and put a down payment on a car. I hadn’t had a car in two years, so that was epic because I was always relying on people for rides. I always felt bad for making people go out of the way to pick me up or drop me off, so that was absolutely huge for me.

That’s all so awesome.
Yeah, it’s crazy how this season’s been unfolding. I’m very thankful for every moment.

What kind of car did you get?
I just got this little Jeep. It had super low mileage and it was at a good price, so I had to take it. It’s good in the snow.

The Dog Fight prize money went into a car. What are you doing with the prize money from Heavy Metal?
Paying off my debt, putting a chunk towards car, stashing the rest in savings!

Have you been capitalizing on all the snow in Utah, too?
So when I’ve been home in Salt Lake, I’ve actually been staying away from the streets and I’ve been going to build a lot of jumps in the Brighton backcountry for the first time. I’m stoked. It’s been really fun to learn that whole process and I look forward to learning more.

What are you working on project-wise?
Right now, ThirtyTwo is making on a video called Bone Crusher. I’ve got a couple trips done already for that. It’s with Phil Hansen and Austin Visintainer. It’s going to be basically mine and Phil’s technical pro part, and then for Viz, welcome to the team. Hi Def Jeff is filming it. I’m a fan of all of those guys, so it’s really cool to be with that squad and hopefully get the rest of the team in on it as well.

So you go to Grit, and then are you on the road again filming for that?
Yep. Right after this weekend, I will be going to Bear to meet up with Scott Stevens, Austin, and hopefully Phil to do a little resort stuff and then get out in the streets. Hopefully Europe trip, as well, in March.

Where are you guys going in Europe?
I’m not sure yet. We’ve got to see where the snow provides. I know Toni Kerkelä was talking about Finland at first, but I think possibly going somewhere else.

Being able to travel again is so great.
Yeah, I know. It’s my favorite way to explore new places, getting in the cities and finding spots, checking out the local food spots. I look forward to it, for sure.

Okay, so last question, heading into Grit this weekend. Do you follow basketball?
I don’t follow basketball at all, but I would watch a live game any day.

If you had to pick anyone to root for in the NBA–I have no idea how the All-Star Game works–who would you pick?
Definitely the Jazz, represent Utah.

[editor’s note: Some Googling has showed us that Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen will play in his first All-Star Game this weekend.]

That sounds like a good answer to me because everything I know about basketball is only what Mark Clavin tells me. Thanks so much for catching up! Say hi to your brother for me next time you see him too.
He actually just came over, so I’ll tell him you say hello now!