Hey Alex, how did you get involved with Karakoram?
I had been interested in the bindings for a while before I had the chance to step into a pair this season. We made a movie this winter called Go! and Karakoram was nice enough to set us up with bindings. We came into the shop in early December and Bryce and Tyler literally made us bindings with their hands. That was incredible to me, to have the creators of a brand make their product in front of my eyes and then pass it on to me to run off into the hills with. I was very impressed.
Snowboarding as a whole has been changing a lot within the past few years and it seems that more people are excited about the big mountain experience than ever. What role do you see splitboard technology playing in the long-term evolution of our sport?
Having the ability to approach and ascend mountains on your snowboard basically just makes it easier to travel by foot in the mountains which gives us the ability explore and ride wherever we want for the most part.
It is well known that almost 95% of snowboarding products are manufactured over-seas by non-snowboarders. In fact, it can be said that most our sport lays in the hands of large-scale foreign manufacturing. What do you feel is the holistic impact of having a local Washington supply and manufacturing base, and riding bindings that are hand built in the USA by snowboarders with passion?
It’s by far the best thing for our sport right now. It’s the art form that is the foundation of snowboarding. The people creating the gear are the passionate people who enjoy using it.
What in your eyes is the most important factor in high-performance binding design?
Durability. Having your feet attached to your board is a pretty important part of snowboarding so having a binding that holds up is key.
Riding massive lines in wilderness environments can leave a truly lasting imprint on one’s character. How would you say snowboarding and spiltboarding in powerful places has changed your life?
In every way really. It’s hard to for me to explain. Riding big mountains is very liberating for me. The focus I find when snowboarding is unlike any other and it’s something I really enjoy and strive to achieve the rest of my life.
Are there any particular riding styles right now that inspire you?
The way Temple Cummins turns is very inspiring to me. I also find the way Jake Blauvelt pops very inspiring.
To be a successful big mountain splitboarder, it takes an incredible amount of fitness, planning, riding experience, and a whole set of general mountaineering skills to survive. Plus, not only are your legs far more depleted than if you had a heli drop, but you’re also descending with a pack full of gear. How do these variables affect your line selection and riding?
I try not to let the variables play a role. Just ride what I want to with what I have.
Which turn has more meaning to you: Toeside or Heelside?
Toeside, for the laydownability
Ever ridden with Travis Rice?
Ya, a couple of times, one of the first times was in New Zealand oddly enough.
Why is the method air important for the sport of snowboarding?
A good method is one of the best feelings in the world. So yeah, I guess it’s important because it feels amazing.
Speaking of risk management, we’ve all now experienced the loss of friends. What do you feel is the most important factor in making sure you come home from the Backcountry?
Being mindful of your surroundings and trusting your intuition.
Helmet or no helmet?
How would you define a successful day in the mountains?
What is your personal significance of going into the mountains? Why do it?
Fresh air, freedom, flying, speed, exploration, fear, the views, and fun.
Which in your view is the most exploratory: Mountain biking up a logging road in the Cascades with all your splitboard gear on your back, hiking a knife-edged ridge in Wyoming, eating “fresh” seafood in Colorado, or getting into a bush plane in Alaska heading to an unknown glacier destination?
Out of all of those I have only experienced the knife-edged ridge in Wyoming, but I’d like to say the bush plane in AK would be the most exploratory…
How do you feel about bushwhacking? They don’t have “Devil’s Club” in Wyoming, do they?
I’m a huge fan. Taking the road less traveled often leads to a good adventure. I’m not sure about the devil’s club. We have thistles, but they aren’t too bad.
Ever had to dodge a rattle snake while wearing your snowboard boots?
Any adventuristic stuff you want to add?