Surf the Snow: Part 5 – Rob Kingwill and the JH Pow Wow
Snowboarding needs more people like Rob Kingwill. Here is a guy that has taken every possible moment he can to strap into his board and ride down a mountain. With “Kinger” there is no front, no vibe, just an honest man that wants to share his love of snowboarding with everyone he can. Kingwill started the JH Pow Wow to do exactly that: Bring together friends to shred powder, ride new boards and show how incredible his home mountain of Jackson Hole is. — Jens Heig, Online Editor
Originally featured in Snowboard Mag Volume 11, Issue 1 | The Product Collection
Portrait by Tim Peare
Pro snowboarder & JH Pow Wow founder
Home: Jackson Hole, WY
Snowboarding since: 1987
SF: You’re the inventor of the Pow Wow. How did the idea come about?
I came up with the idea for the Pow Wow from two sources of inspiration. One was from Travis Rice and his Natural Selection contest where all of my really good friends from all over the world came together and came to ride Jackson and we just had a ball riding powder. Nicolas and Gigi came together and just rode and had fun, and I thought that would last forever. They shifted venues and it just didn’t happen again. It put a hole in my heart because I loved sharing Jackson with my friends.
My second inspiration was Powder Week. Powder Magazine puts on a ski test week. All they do is lap Granite and have a really great time. I thought, “Why don’t we do this in snowboarding?” Jackson Hole is such a great venue and the test element really opens it up where everyone can participate rather than having to deal with a contest or a banked slalom — something you have to worry about being good at. You can just go at your own pace, test stuff, have a great time shredding with your friends and at the same time create good content and get a good idea of what the brands are doing. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is the best snowboard mountain in the world as far as I’m concerned. Especially if it snows, it’s guaranteed smiles all day. People are beyond stoked, so if you can get them here and get them that experience, you’re winning.
Absolutely. So what’s your ultimate vision of this event?
I hope it grows as a family and as a community so that it ultimately strengthens snowboarding from a design aspect and from a community aspect. Where the anon. guys are hanging out with the Smith guys and they are taking runs together and creating that bond that only snowboarding can. You both just got the most epic run of your life, it doesn’t matter if you’re the Burton brand manager or the guy from Asymbol or the guy from Lib Tech, you just had a great experience together. That’s the core value of what I think makes snowboarding awesome. I just hope it helps strengthen the soul and culture of snowboarding. Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about.
What’s your go-to board for riding powder in Jackson?
My go-to board is the Jones Aviator 160. I’m still a freestyle kid that came from a pipe riding background. I like hitting jumps and riding backwards as much as I like riding forwards, so I like more of a twin shape. More recently I’ve been riding stuff with a little bit of early rise. The early rise is absolutely fantastic and I was dead convinced with my snowboard brand that all I ever needed was a cambered profile. I didn’t need any other board. But then with the Pow Wow, I tried some other shapes to see what worked and if I liked it, and it really opened my eyes to design and things I’d like to build in the future. That’s one of the core values I want for the Pow Wow — to have the designers from the brands show up and be inspired by the other designs and riding them. Hopefully they go home and begin to improve snowboard design in the industry overall.
See the full story in Snowboard Mag 11.1: The Product Collection, now available on Apple Newsstand.