Kevin Nimick is not a professional snowboarder; he never has been. He’s not a director of marketing or the founder of a major brand. He’s a manager of a snowboard shop. evo in Portland, to be specific. And yet, his influence is greater than most with more glamorous titles. Kevin has been around snowboarding through many of its pivotal points and seen its highs and lows — all the while, dealing with his own ups and downs. Kevin has a story to tell, and it’s a long one.

[aesop_image img=”” alt=”Kevin Nimick” align=”center” lightbox=”off” caption=”Kevin at the Dirksen Derby, 2014″ captionposition=”center”]

What’s going on, Kevin? What’s new?
Not much, man. Just transitioning into the new snowboard season. Getting all the new stuff in, getting psyched to head up to the mountains. We’re trying to say yes to all these rad events, and there’s just so many that this is the first time in my life that I’ve actually had to learn to say no. But I’m excited to just try to support everybody. It’s been pretty cool that everybody in the industry is juiced on evo and wants to utilize it as a vehicle for doing cool stuff.

So what’s coming up?
Right now, I’m just really looking forward to the Derby. And evo is a partner with that. That’s always one of my favorite events of the year. It’s usually one of the first big weekends of the winter and to have all the raddest people in snowboarding in one place for one rad event is just the ultimate.

[aesop_image img=”” alt=”Kevin Nimick” align=”center” lightbox=”off” captionposition=”center”]

So let’s go back to the beginning. How did you start snowboarding?
I grew up ski racing at Crystal Mountain in Washington. And before that, I was in a backpack while my mom skied. But the original start for me on a snowboard was at Sunday River on my 11th birthday. My dad knew that I wanted to try snowboarding, so he got me a lesson, and within a hundred yards I was already linking turns and grinning ear to ear. And it was funny ’cause back then there were still like very few snowboarders. And that day, I remember there was only one other snowboarder I saw on the hill, and we connected and just rode all day. And he gave me all kinds of tips. He was this old dude with a grey beard, sort of a wizard. Back then you just saw anyone else on a snowboard and you were homies. And then lots of my friends started snowboarding. We had this crew, man. It included like Andy Benhardt, Bryan Barb, Matty Ryan. It ended up exploding.

[aesop_gallery id=”62457″]

Is that Homewreck Matty Ryan?
Yeah, Matty was this little hoodrat, and we’d just pick him up on the way to the mountain, and he was all of like twelve years old at that point. His parents let us just throw him in the car, and he became part of the crew. And all those dudes. That’s how snowboarding was back then. The two main supporting epicenters were pretty much Eastern Boarder and Snowboard Jones. Matty Ryan worked at Snowboard Jones. Myself, Paul Miller and a few other dudes all ended up working at Eastern Boarder. We just followed all the local icons, like Preston Strout. And the family tree just kind of exploded at that point.

[aesop_quote type=”block” align=”right” quote=”I just held onto everything they said as scripture, man.”]

Eastern Boarder was the first shop you worked at?
Yep. I was just so juiced on product and gear. I was studying buyer’s guides. I got the bug super hard. Here I am at age 36 and it’s something I’ve dedicated my life to with absolutely no regrets. Back then, all the Jedis were pretty much working at these shops— dudes like [Joel] Muzzey — and those dudes did a really good job and I kind of learned the impact of shop employees on kids.

Eastern Boarder seems like a snowboard fraternity almost. Like if you’ve worked there or been associated, people will help you out.
Pretty much. EB is hands down one of the most impactful shops there is. But there were also local shops like Darkside in Vermont. Every shop had a crew and a posse and an impact.

Why do you think the East Coast has a tighter knit snowboard scene than out West?
I think a lot of it is geographic. There are just more people in a smaller space, and then the contest series. That’s where we met Adam and Jeff Moran, and then [Pat] Bridges would be announcing if he wasn’t riding. Bridges and all those dudes were the generation ahead of us, and they were our idols. In high school, we started doing competitions and traveling and there’s a lot within reach. Every area had their own crew, their own scene. We would all pile into cars and just jam. We’d do day trips to everywhere in New England and we started to meet all the other crews. I remember watching Danny and Matt Kass getting into wrestling matches and snowball fights in the bottom of the Killington halfpipe and trying to snowboard around it.

[aesop_image img=”” align=”center” lightbox=”off” caption=”Kevin working at the Plymouth State radio station, browsing YoBeat.” captionposition=”center”]

And you went to Plymouth, which has always been a snowboard school.
It absolutely is. The generation before us was like Noah Brandon, Roger Cameron — those dudes kind of paved the way. Once we were done with high school we were looking for the snowboard schools. And none of us could afford UVM. Plymouth was a no brainer. In between classes you can go ride at Waterville and Loon. By the time college hit, the generation ahead of us like Preston Strout were going there, and while we were in high school we were staying with them. By the time we got there, it was huge. Even Brooke [Geery] went there for a bit, and Pinski (Tim Karpinski).

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The Blue Lodge was born out of Plymouth. Can you explain that?
Yeah, so we knew there was this old ski area up in the woods. There was an old lodge that had been turned into some sort of weird high school kid café where they’d go and smoke cigs and drink coffee, and then it closed down for a while. But Mike found it. In the earlier years of college, Mike had connections to the Andover Youth services and he built a skatepark in North Andover, Massachusetts and was basically running a snowboard camp program. In between fall and spring semesters we would literally have the Andover kids come up and sleep in our dorm rooms and we’d take them up to Loon and Waterville and just shred with them. We had this little ghetto snowboard camp. That’s where we met Hondo. He was just a little grom at those camps.

[aesop_quote type=”block” align=”right” quote=”20-plus guys, girls, students, aspiring pro snowboarders all moved in — and lurkers. It was epic.”]


When we saw this building, the only way we were able to rent it is because we convinced the owner we were going make it a camp again ’cause it was kind of built to be that. The guy who owned it was just kind of a weird old dude and he was super nostalgic and we basically just hit the right string and he allowed us to rent this spot. Enter the Blue Lodge years. That was right at the end of the ‘90s and we actually had a Y2K party at that spot. What happened is 20-plus guys, girls, students, aspiring pro snowboarders all moved in — and lurkers. It was epic. The first year none of us even drank. It was basically a bunch of straight edge kids. We had Mike Parziale, Preston, Shane Flood, Luke Mathison, Paul Miller. Basically it became this real stronghold. We had a spot, dude. And we had a spot with our own ski area. And it was a mile and a half from campus.

And how are you gonna supply heat and hot water for a place like that? Well, we had to throw parties and it was just hairball. I was just the dude running the door making sure people paid. And I had some of the New Hampshire dudes like Mike Baker be my bouncers, and we were making thousands of dollars on these parties. It was pretty legendary. We broke the living room floor, and we had to go in and re-support that.

And you started filming around this time.
Yeah, these are the years when Ben Fee and I both dropped in on Canon GL1s. Ben had always been a local dude up in that area, and he was running a shop called Alpine up in Lincoln. I remember when I went up there to buy a board, I walked in and Ben was making out with some girl in a chair and Preston was sitting behind the register. Ben was a pretty beautiful man back then and it looked like two hot chicks making out. So that was my introduction to Ben Fee. He had been filming antics around that area and being the kind of person he is stuck in the woods, he was doing Jackass stuff way before those guys were famous for doing so. And he was always filming that. So him and I started making snowboard videos. Anyone who knows the Odyssey Year or Binary Code those are the two big East Coast films that Ben and I filmed during the Blue Lodge years, but Ben made more before that.

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So then how did you end up in Portland?
A couple of guys from the crew had the opportunity to come out and work at High Cascade in the summers, and that was pretty epic. I personally couldn’t ‘cause I was trying to pay for college. But after we wrapped up school, Paul Miller, Andy Benhardt, Matt Ruby and I all moved out to work at camp and found a spot. Mike and those guys had a spot where the landlord would pay them ten dollars and hour to fix up the houses he owned and he loved Mike so he was like, “If you know anyone who wants to join that program, send ‘em out and I’ll get em a house.” So we all basically moved out here into a rad house in central Portland. It was perfect.

Where does your stint in Salt Lake fit into this timeline?
I finished college just after the holidays, and I moved to Salt Lake. I was filming for Binary Code,living with Matty Ryan and Bozung and kind of got to know that whole crew and that was the winter that the Olympics were in Salt Lake so everybody in snowboarding was kind of cycling through that area. That’s where I met [Andy] Forgash and Mikey Leblanc, Peter Line and all those dudes. There was quite a scene going on. That winter was pretty wild. It was also the winter that Bozwreck and that whole concept kind of came to be.

[aesop_quote type=”block” align=”left” quote=”I was at Zumiez getting phone calls from South Korea and I’d have to step off the floor to work out some sort of weird sales thing for Airblaster.”]

And then you started at High Cascade that summer?
Yeah, by the time I came out to work at camp that summer, I had made those connections and then made all the new friends out at camp. I figured out the snowboard industry was a lot smaller than I realized. It was pretty euphoric for me. I was just meeting all these rad people. I was juiced. And I came out here and while I was living here I didn’t have too many connections for work so I swallowed my pride and worked at Zumiez. But it was while I was still filming for Technine. I was with all these Technine guys, but it wasn’t the thuggy dudes that you kind of imagine. This was Darrell Mathes’ breakout year pretty much. And then after that first year, Airblaster kind of started to come to fruition.

[aesop_image img=”” alt=”evo Portland” align=”center” lightbox=”off” caption=”The original Airblaster family portrait. Kevin, Travis Parker’s mom, Paul Miller, Travis Parker and Jesse Grandkoski” captionposition=”center”]

So how were you involved with Airblaster?
Well, I had moved out here with Paul Miller. He was one of the first owners of that company. I literally watched him and Jesse draw the first air pill on a coffee table. And I was like, “This is really cool.” So I was kind of Airblaster’s first intern or employee and it was funny ‘cause I was at Zumiez getting phone calls from South Korea and I’d have to step off the floor to work out some sort of weird sales thing for Airblaster. We went to Vegas that year for SIA and we set up at the Luxor, not realizing how far away from everything it was. But we still had a few accounts that wanted to look at our silly little Airblaster line. It was cool watching that company launch. So I was basically filming, working at Zumiez and then doing the Airblaster thing.

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Where does Grenade come into the picture?
Well, I was tired of filming. I made a lot of rad friends filming, but I just got tired of going out and spending all day building a jump to go sit in the snow 100 feet away, then crossing my fingers that someone lands something. And at that point I was living with Pinski and Shane Flood, and Matt Kass was always coming up from Mammoth. Eventually, he was just like I’m gonna move Grenade up here and when he did it was just kind of on. Tim put a bug in his ear about me running a shop. I always wanted to run my own store. So as Matt was building up his Grenade arrangement up here, he basically handed me a credit card and said open up a shop and carry whatever you want and make it a skateshop as well. We had that rad location at 21st and Burnside.

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Right by where Heart is now. I didn’t realize that’s where it was.
Yep. And it was kind of a perfect time. I just got to hire my friends, ya know, like Jeremy Matherly who I’d worked with at Zumiez. We basically got to run our own store that was the Grenade shop but also a gallery that Tim [Karpinski] curated. It was a really successful shop. But every month we had like major gallery parties and it actually worked — like we had hundreds of people at these things every month — free drinks, free food, and just a cool gathering of the Portland skate and snowboard community.

So what happened…
Well, it was a blast until it wasn’t, and that demise stemmed from the drama that was happening with Grenade and Matt Kass’ personal demons — just the fact that the company was getting too big for him to keep in check and keep within his own grasp. It really just tore him apart. Matt ended up opening two or three other locations including the one at the gas station right next to Windells. He made a lot of bad decisions, but he was also a passionate hustling dude. I just kind of stayed in control of the one shop that I was in control of.

But eventually, things with Matt started going so far south that his brother had to take a step outside of what he was doing, and was forced into examining what was going on. Grenade was rapidly outgrowing what Matt could handle on his own and I don’t think Danny was ever really stoked on trying to run a company as much as he was stoked to be the face of the brand and charge on the things he was having fun with and really stoked on — the things that helped market that brand.

[aesop_quote type=”block” align=”right” quote=”Matt eventually went so nuts as to put a football helmet on and dive headfirst through the computers that he just spent thousands of dollars buying.”]

So what did it look like then toward the end days of the Grenade that everyone remembers and loves?
Matt had gotten most of the people up here. He’d gotten Kevin Casillo and Dave Schiff and Jesse House and [Shane] Flood. Portland was an epicenter for snowboarding and skating, and it was just like a cool city, and those dudes were kind of burnt on Mammoth. Moving up here was kind of the last hurrah for that crew, ya know? They were all working in-house. Everybody was working super hard. I’d imagine Dave Schiff was working somewhere in the range of 80 hours a week.

There were a lot of those people bleeding to make this company work, but it was just a bunch of snowboard punks, ya know? Like this company was a multi-million dollar entity and Matt was literally reaching a psychotic breaking point, which had a lot to do with things with the company and a lot to do with his personality. It was getting toxic at all levels. The shop was kind of an oasis, and the company itself was falling apart. It was stuck in 6th gear and gears were falling off. Matt eventually went so nuts as to put a football helmet on and dive headfirst through the computers that he just spent thousands of dollars buying. This is the point when Danny came up to try to figure out was going on. Then they hired this business dude to try to get this company realigned.

[aesop_image img=”” alt=”evo Portland” align=”center” lightbox=”off” captionposition=”left”]

That scary dude, Joseph Condorelli.
Yeah, and I think that Joseph had some good ideas and intentions, aside from being a real vile human in terms of personality and morals. He basically took Grenade from being the most grassroots, core brand into the polar opposite, as kind of as a last ditch effort to survive. All the original participants eventually got fired or phased out. They had a mega layoff, like forty people. Matt had been fully canned, at which point the only thing he had his name attached to was the shop. He showed up one day, and he’s like, “Dude, I’ve been kicked out of my house by my wife; I got kicked out of my company. This is all I have.” And I knew that it wasn’t sustainable, but he moved in and I just kind of had to let go of my baby. It was heavy, man. He was sleeping in the shop. Dogs were pissing and shitting. He was smoking cigs in there, drinking.

I worked in-house a bit doing customer service during that point too, and basically after Matt got kicked out I helped them tie up a bunch of loose ends that Matt had left undone. And then as soon as that ended, I got let go with 40 other people. I was told to reapply, and I did, but I had literally just bought my house that same day that we all got canned, and I needed income, so I filed for unemployment. In doing so, Joseph said that was where I fucked up and that he wouldn’t rehire me. I was like, “Cool, whatever, you just saved me from a lot of B.S.”

[aesop_quote type=”block” align=”left” quote=”He was sleeping in the shop. Dogs were pissing and shitting. He was smoking cigs in there, drinking.”]

Yeah, that was probably a good thing.
Yeah, so that was the end of Grenade. It was just a bunch of wild kids trying to function in a corporate world that just chewed ‘em up and spit ‘em out. But man, the Grenerds were the dudes. It was a super dynamic and eclectic crew of eccentric personalities and a great representation of snowboarding at a certain point. None of that stuff is ever sustainable. That’s the thing you have to realize. The industry evolves and Grenade had its time. Danny is awesome and he’s still fighting the good fight. I don’t know why he’s putting so much heart and energy into it, but good on him, dude. He’s nothing but rad. Even Matt, I still have love for Matt. I don’t know why. He gave me an awesome opportunity to do something, and it was a life hammer. It had its high; it had its low swing. But that’s the nature of things.

So what was next for you after Grenade?
I had to pull my head out of my ass ‘cause I was feeling pretty bummed, but I had the support of close friends and the guys at EXIT. The thing about the Portland snowboard community, especially with my approach — I’ve never hated — it’s a supportive community. Competition between different shops and stuff that’s fine, but when there’s any weird stuff about it, that’s dumb. Even while Matt was burning bridges left and right, I’d be running around with a fire extinguisher. So by the time I was wrapping up at Grenade I was talking with EXIT. They gave me some time to just chill and that winter I just did a lot of snowboarding.

[aesop_image img=”” alt=”evo Portland” align=”center” lightbox=”off” captionposition=”left”]

That’s when I went on that trip, Grease not Gas, with Mike Parziale. We got to travel around and just throw a bunch of pros in there. Ben Fee was in there writing for Snowboarder. I was just filming and that was part of the sponsorship package. That gig ended up evolving into the Greasebus program, which was one of the coolest things that the Portland snowboard scene ever saw. We met the next generation of kids — kids that I ended up hiring at EXIT, and that I hired here at evo. Those were connections that were made through the Greasebus and the Grease not Gas programs that Mike helped launch. However I could help with all the awesome that dude has thrown into the world, I was down. Anyway, so I ended up with EXIT. The crew was just insane. I couldn’t have been more stoked.

[aesop_image img=”” alt=”evo Portland” align=”center” lightbox=”off” captionposition=”left”]

So what happened with EXIT? You saw EXIT go through its tough times too.
Right as I got there was kind of the time that the economy was getting rough and we were locked into a pretty savage lease at the Bridgeport location that was dragging us down like a heavy anchor. But there were a lot of good times; there was a lot of good business. Eventually that shop had to go. I ended up moving over to the Portland location, which is where I wanted to be. I love sales, man. All the hard work I’ve been putting in recently at evo is all just so I can sell this next month and a half. The EXIT experience was really incredible. It was the total opposite of what I was experiencing at Grenade. Grenade was toxic and turbo stress — rough attitudes. I mean there were moments when I was standing in front of Matt Kass just getting spit on from him screaming because that’s just the type of person he was. And then I was working for Missy [Samiee] who’s hands down the most loving, caring, supportive people that I’ve ever had as a superior.

Why has it always been retail for you?
I just like the element of dealing with all of the brands and all of the product and sharing the stoke with the customers at ground zero. Snowboarding and skating have made me what I am today. I’m so juiced on these things. These things changed my life. They’ve connected me with all the best people in my world and they’ve given me purpose. I want to share that stoke with customers. I want to interact with all the product. Working at the ground level is super important. And especially in these industries you can work in-house for a company, like super stressed, super stagnant stuck behind a computer, with a pretty narrow focus on one brand, and because it’s skating or snowboarding, there are a billion kids who will do it for nothing, biting at your ankles, so it’s not like you get paid that much. But this industry has done everything for me — more than I could’ve ever fathomed — even through bad health.

[aesop_quote type=”block” align=”right” quote=”I ended up having to sacrifice one of my testicles to the fuckin’ gods I guess.”]

You’re referring to cancer. Want to talk about that?
While working for EXIT, cancer popped up on my radar. I ended up having to sacrifice one of my testicles to the fuckin’ gods I guess. But as I was going through that, EXIT was having their tough times, and the insurance program we had wasn’t the most ideal. I had a $15,000 deductible. Ya know, working in skateboarding and snowboarding no one is making a whole ton of money. But people started telling me, “Don’t be too proud. Just stick you hand out and see what happens.” So that just kind of released the hounds and the natural hustler in everyone in this industry kicked in and the whole community just pitched in. Trevor Graves and Nemo did this epic art auction, and all of a sudden all this stuff started rolling in from like all the legends, my freaking heroes and icons. This is why I say I’m “cancer famous”. But when you get that much of a community showing love, it’s healing magic. That was just the first round.

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And what about the second?
So two years later, as cancer does, it reared its ugly head, and this time in a much gnarlier capacity. One day they did a biopsy and initially thought it was metastasized melanoma. That’s a death sentence. Six months to live. And I’m like losing my shit because this comes back from my doctor and I’m thinking they must have fucked up. And they’re like, “It doesn’t look like it.”

At this point, my friends were out of town and my girl was out of the country for work. So, I’m just sitting in the house by myself, being told I’m going to die. I had three days sitting here, just coming to grips with my own mortality. It changed my life. I start making plans for what to do. What I’m going to do with the next handful of months I may have. That’s a good thing for people to do every now and again; it’s heavy shit, man.

[aesop_quote type=”block” align=”left” quote=”I had yeast infections in my mouth. It’d close my throat up to a point where I could barely breathe, let alone swallow.”]

That’s about the time I got a call back and they tell me, “Dude, it’s only testicular cancer.” So, fuck, man. All my world is just wishing that would be the call that came back to me and that just happened. So, that’s good, when you get testicular cancer you can kill that with chemo. All I need to do is this chemo round, so I’m not dying — like, today. But I think that made it my cross to bear the worst side effects of chemo known to man. That whole summer, I was just totally blitzed out. I lost 35 pounds; mind you, I only weighed 155 pounds to begin with. It took me to skin and bones. Double-faucet everyday, had a port in my arm, couldn’t keep water down. I couldn’t drink fluids; I had yeast infections in my mouth. It’d close my throat up to a point where I could barely breath, let alone swallow. I had shingles, everything. It was just totally fucked. And I don’t know, while I was doing that I was documenting it. I should go back and read some of the stuff I wrote on the Kev’s Cancer Facebook page. I’m sure it’d be kind of trippy.

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I should also mention that I’ve lived most of my life basically straight edge. I’ve always been able to party really hard and be super social without ever drinking or smoking or doing any of that stuff. Well, I finally caved and starting ingesting marijuana because nothing else was working during chemo. That stuff pretty much saved my life. So I’m a huge advocate for that.

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And it was this second round that made you “cancer famous”.
Yeah, the whole snowboard community got on board with support and just really sent it big time. We did everything from tattoo benefits to another huge art show at Nemo with art from everyone from crafty family members being crafty to friends to guys like Jamie Lynn. That’s when Pat Moore did that fundraiser through Real Snow. He had Tommy Lee from Mötley Crüe retweeting that stuff. EXIT made custom skate decks and shirts and stuff like that. Airblaster did a special t-shirt that was pretty great. There’s just so many of those things, I even sometimes forget. I get the warm-fuzzies everytime I stumble across that stuff. It was insane. All the people I surrounded myself with just supported me, and that really did it for me; it saved my life. I can’t do enough in my life to give back to the people who’ve done so much awesome for me.

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After all that and chemo actually working, then what?
I just wanted to get back to work and show snowboarding and my family —snowboarding is my family — that I was okay. My girl carried me through a lot of that stuff at the end of the program. Ben was there to clear me from the hospital and got me into the mountains hiking. That’s how I got strong again. I spent a month hiking until I’d fall over, just getting stronger. I was so psyched to get back on a snowboard after chemo. It was an early season day on the Palmer Glacier with Flood and Darrell Mathes. I had a chip on my shoulder; I had to prove I had beat it. We were in the park, and I didn’t even miss a beat. Not to mention, riding with those dudes puts you in a place where you have to step up your game. That made me so psyched. It was proof. Snowboarding has been there for me and will be there for me. It’s everything. I feel really fortunate and really lucky and feel indebted to it for life. We should all be so lucky.

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So this is kind of the point where the current chapter in your life begins.
Yeah, and now as much as I sweat the small stuff, I’ve got a lot better perspective on life. All the weird things and curveballs life throws you — at least I always see the sunny side of life. I don’t want to get all Namaste on you, I’m not that kind of person, but it’s crazy. When you adopt that goal, to see the good even in the bullshit your life is so much more awesome. I’m always trying to do cool stuff. I’ve met a new girl now, and things didn’t work out with my other girl after the cancer with all the different struggles, and that was unfortunate, but I’m not gonna wallow in depression or self-pity. The universe delivers, so I’m back on top again. I’m doing my thing, fighting the good fight. I started working for evo last year and helped them open their store in Portland. I think after 20 years of EXIT being in business, it was just their time. They had three beautiful kids and weren’t die-hard skaters and snowboarders anymore. Then with evo moving to town, looking to use their radical and successful web presence to build stores that give back to the communities, it just makes perfect sense for me.

[aesop_image img=”” alt=”evo Portland” align=”center” lightbox=”off” captionposition=”center”]

So how do you respond to people who say evo is the reason for shops like EXIT going under?
A lot of people dog the big guy. But it’s just so dumb. Why hate on any of that stuff?

[aesop_quote type=”block” align=”left” quote=”I don’t want to get all Namaste on you, I’m not that kind of person, but it’s crazy. When you adopt that goal, to see the good even in the bullshit your life is so much more awesome.”]

Well, because I think we’d both agree that small shops are good for this industry. So if you believe bigger stores like evo are the reason why it’s harder for the little guy to make it, then wouldn’t you have a grudge against them?
I don’t think these stores are putting the other shops out of business. This industry is changing and you need to adapt to the times. If the problem is that people are wanting to shop online, you can’t blame evo for that. That’s not evo’s fault. But as other shops are going away, it’s still important to have that customer-facing interaction and we’re opening these rad shops that are basically community centers. They function as standalone shops, but a huge portion of their intent is to create a place for the community to gather. We have tons of events to do things like fundraising and provide a place for the communities to flourish and keep growing and doing cool things — to increase participation in these industries that have changed all of our lives. That’s the end all, be all.

So yeah, people who say “Fuck evo” — they’re losing sight of stuff. Or they haven’t done their due diligence to understand what’s up with companies. At least look at evo, and you’ve got a company that was started by the real deal. Bryce is an ex-pro skier and he’s a super passionate person who loves all these different categories and walks of life and people and hobbies and stuff like that. He built an online empire that has some soul to it. It has character and personality in a digital age. That’s missing from a lot of things. And as far as him being a skier, I mean, I work with a skiers and I love taking jabs at them, but we have staff that is the best in every category, be it skiing, snowboarding, surf or whatever.

[aesop_image img=”” alt=”evo Portland” align=”center” lightbox=”off” captionposition=”center”]

I love taking jabs at skiers too. But if you actually judge someone by that, that’s absurd. It’s like rival sports teams. Ripping on people for things you know don’t really matter is the best.

[aesop_quote type=”block” align=”right” quote=”I went to tramp jams in the pre-season just to bounce on a freakin’ snowboard in somebody’s parking lot, practice my grabs for the upcoming season, get thrown a t-shirt and I wore that t-shirt out until it was ruined.”]

Completely. And I’m just excited to be learning more about these other categories from people who know them and love them as much as I do snowboarding. And whatever the root causes of those core shops having a tough time in the last couple of years — a lot of the things that went for them were marketing campaigns, cool promo activities, events that they didn’t have the assets to do anymore. We all know how important that stuff is. For those of us who grew up in the earlier generations of snowboarding, that was everything. I went to tramp jams in the pre-season just to bounce on a freakin’ snowboard in somebody’s parking lot, practice my grabs for the upcoming season, get thrown a t-shirt and I wore that t-shirt out until it was ruined. Even if it was a harsh ass, weird, ugly thing. That stoke is missing in today’s age.

We have tons of events to do things like fundraising and provide a place for the communities to flourish and keep growing and doing cool things – like to increase participation in these industries that have changed all of our lives – that’s the end all, be all.

We did 10 events in eight weeks – everything from tent sales to big events like gallery openings and snowboard movie premieres, autographs and free avalanche classes and fundraisers for Save Our Snow and the Chill Foundation – we did all that. It’s insane; this is the dream. We’re trying to give back to keep snowboarding healthy and flourishing.

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Bryce is very aware of what’s happening out there in the industry and he knows that it’s not in anybody’s best interest for us to lose the EXITs, the SNO-CONs. These are fellow shops where at the ground level, stoke, involvement and participation are being built and fostered. If those things go away, the industry is going to get drained.

[aesop_quote type=”block” align=”right” quote=”We connected, as an 11-year-old kid and someone in their 60’s or 70’s, and just pow-wowed.”]

My first day snowboarding, I rode with an old man because he was the only other snowboarder I could find. We connected, as an 11-year-old kid and someone in their 60’s or 70’s, and just pow-wowed. And now ,rying to share that kind of stoke with this next generation happens in shops, it’s just a different animal, an entirely different animal. .

Every transaction, every customer who I interact with, it may be a life-altering exchange for them. Knowing you have that power and potential influence is important. It’s important to be awesome to people because it changed my life, and those guys probably had no idea.

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I’m just selling snowboards, but it’s more than that. I have my impact, and that’s important to me. Sharing that psych and that stoke is everything. That’s a big thing about working in retail too. Working in these industries in general — we love it and we want to share it — it shouldn’t be hyper-competitive. If anyone can feel even remotely as into whatever they’re into as I am on this, then that’s living, dude. That’s the real shit.

Check out the evo Portland store here