Mental. Photos via @timshreddy
Interview: Brooke Geery and Justin Leveille
Over the past twelve years, Tim Eddy’s snowboard career has run the gamut from mini thug, to a grown up that favors zany hats, and lots of stops in between. As an integral part of the Airblaster squad and one of the newest pros on K2 Snowboarding, Tim takes his own path through life and snowboarding, and we love him for it. This is a long one, but settle in, you just might learn something.
Let’s start the house that you built in the woods. Are things just so dire now that you’ve resorted to buildng a house in the woods out of found materials?
(laughs) Yeah. It was the only way I could survive.
You got a lot of coverage on that and it seemed rad. How did you decide that was something you wanted to do?
I feel like as long as I could I remember I’ve always been interested in small cabins, small things. I like small things that are functional. So after living in houses that seemed such a waste of space and resources and everything, it just wasn’t making sense. Things were in always already in place. I had no say in how to heat your water, how to heat your house, or how to get your water. Everything was already set up, you just pay the man, and that’s where you’re at. There’s no freedom to alter your lifestyle. So it was like a huge inspiration just trying to leave to my means, nothing more and nothing less. Just exactly what I need and stop at that line. So that’s why we decided to build. We just got raw land with nothing on it and then, we literally went camping for months. You’re at the bottom. We slowly built it up, realized how much water we need. How much electricity we need, how much hot water we need. Once we reached that threshold we just stopped. Now it’s customized. It’s been amazing seeing little resources we need. Especially space and stuff. That was the other thing, whenever I would live in a place and there was always extra space for things. So we would get them and they just go in that space. You don’t use em ever but they just go in that space, so it’s pretty sweet to have a space that if it doesn’t get used within a calendar year, then it’s gotta go. It’s either summer supply or winter supply or some sort of seasonal thing and that stuff usually gets hidden. Anything you can see has gotta be used within two days or it’s just a waste of space, waste of time.
Home sweet home. photo: Ben Birk
So, it was a combination of that and trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Not only just for resources but for financial reasons too. My parents lost their house to foreclosure. Seeing all that go down was an eye opener to trying to set up some sort of lifestyle where that wasn’t an option. I don’t know what would happen for us to not be able to sustain that lifestyle we have now. As far as financial stuff goes, we could always afford that lifestyle. Seeing what that pressure did to our families was pretty crazy to see and was something that both of us were like, we don’t want any part of that. Cause financial pressure is crazy. It’s an unlimited stress that is not necessary but pretty gnarly.
Aren’t you balling now that you’re an international pro snowboarder?
(Laughs) I wish! Wrong era. Like in the 90s that would be sweet.
What does that mean that K2 turned you pro, what’s different?
Honestly, nothing. I’m in the middle of a contract right now, so it doesn’t end til the end of this year. Then maybe something will change. As far as any sort of material things, nothing’s changed except I would definitely say this was a goal of mine for so long. When I was a kid I was like, I want to go pro. Be a pro snowboarder. Although by definition if you make money doing it you’re a professional, but there was always like something… man I haven’t really stamped this goal. It didn’t matter, but it did. If I never do it, whatever. I feel like I’ve accomplished some things on my snowboard but that was the official seal of approval.
Normal hat day. Photo: Ben Birk
So how long did it take, like 17 years?
It took so long. My first sponsor was when I was 15 and I’m 27, so 12 years. And I’ve been riding for K2 for seven years.
Do you think it was the hats?
I have no idea what it was. You know what it was, it was one of the hats. Not all of them, but one of them. (laughs) Four years ago, in the midst of all this shit going on with my parents losing their house and all that, my dad passed away. And in this whole situation was pretty heavy. He took his own life from depression and all these things he’d been battling for years and I could see these false senses of accomplishment from achievements in his job, and money and material things. I saw how not following your path can just become destructive. There’s nothing driving you, there’s no passion fueling you, there’s nothing real. So when all that went down it hit me that I shouldn’t sacrifice a single day on my snowboard to doing something I don’t wanna do. That’s just a waste of time and I’m not gonna gain anything from it. From that point I just only did what I wanted every day on my snowboard and I feel like at that point, K2 and my sponsors and people in general were recognizing a more authentic version of snowboarding that I was bringing. And it was appreciated way more than any of the other stuff I thought was important. Like, gotta get that trick at the one spot or whatever. All these fake rules that we’ve written in snowboarding. And then trying to follow those, they just get pushed under the rug. It’s like, cool ya did that, next. You did that, next. And nothing ever happens. But if you see someone who is just doing their thing, there’s a deeper connection I feel like. I feel like after that all went down and my snowboarding changed it was like, oh ok, cool. I found my niche.
That’s what it takes in snowboarding. You gotta have a gimmick.
You’ve gotta have something. Like everybody is so damn good it’s crazy. But there’s something that has to be different. You have to bring something else in addition to being a good snowboarder. I think that just kinda panned out.
Photo: Ben Birk
Now that you’ve been doing it for awhile and gained this perspective, what is it you feel or what do you think when you hear people being burnt out on snowboarding, or over it?
For me, when I’m burnt out it’s always a physical thing. Right now I’m pretty tired, this season’s been long and I’ve been snowboarding a ton. I’ll have an idea to do something but to get myself try really try it, it’s like, “I don’t think I can do this.” Just exhausted. I don’t have that spark like in the beginning of the season. But when I hear people say they’re just over it, I think that is a scary thing. It’s like you’re playing with fire because this is your passion and something you love and you started for those reasons. It’s scary to think you can lose that.
Yeah, but it comes back.
I’ve seen it some back lately. Seeing all these old school snowboarders come back. They’ve been gone for 10 years doing who knows what and then all of a sudden they’re back and they’re so fired up. You can tell they’re not going to try anything they don’t want to try. They’ll see something and say, that looks fun. There’s no, I should do this, because they don’t have those responsibilities. I think that’s what’s bringing them back, there’s no expectations anymore.
I think they probably like the hype too. That’s part of being a pro snowboarder is being idolized a little bit.
Do you think people at the top are lonely though? Like everyone is afraid to talk to them because of who they are?
I’ve seen that happen to some of my friends. They feel socially awkward in snowboarding because they feel like they’re not on the same plain as everyone else. It almost extracts them from snowboarding because they don’t want to go to things because they feel awkward, because everyone’s like, you’re you. They go to things and feel like they have to be that guy and they’re like this is weird, this isn’t for me, and next thing you know they’re just out of the whole scene because it’s a weird dynamic.
Some people just don’t have it. I think this is the best lifestyle ever, for some people.
And for some people it’s the worst. I’ve seen people who have everything going for them as far as being a pro snowboarder but they just don’t click with it. It’s definitely not just about how good you are.
You’ve spent a lot of time at Hood in the summer but last year you chose not to. How did that feel to be away from it? Was it because of the house?
Yeah, that was a funny summer last summer. We got the property and were like camping on it. Then we’d go to Mt Hood, and we’d come back and it’s like, September. And then try to panic to finish building it. That didn’t work. So we’d have to rent a place all winter and then we were like, we’re just gonna go back to Hood, come home, panic, still not finish it. It was gonna take forever to finish this place. The priority was we need a place to live, definitely. That was like the number one part of the whole decision and on top of that, for a lot of years I was getting hurt a ton so my seasons were like half, sometimes not even. The past two years I hadn’t gotten hurt all year, so I was snowboarding a ton, straight to Hood and then straight to Chile and then back home three weeks a summer. I was loving it, but I’m 27 years old. I need to pace myself. By not snowboarding last summer it was like this crazy new spark. That was mostly just for energy, being fired up and having that energy where it’s like, I can’t wait til winter hits. There’s parts where it starts snowing in the fall and it’s like, ok, here we go, putting my boots on again… It’s never the actual snowboarding, once I’m strapped in I’m good, it’s just getting ready, getting motivated.
It’s definitely hard to get to the mountain and get motivated.
Yeah you get all your shit right, check the weather, make sure that’s right. Everything else. I skateboard a lot, which is like the easiest thing to ever do. You’re wearing what you would wear anyway, you skate for 20 minutes, if it’s good, whatever, you’re not committed. The act of going snowboarding, it can wear on you.
It seems like one of the things people want to do with snowboarding, to make it bigger than themselves, is to make it more accessible. Do you have any ideas?
That’s so huge. I run into this a lot with our cabin. Trying to respect the environment as much as I can, but also understanding that everything uses resources. You can pick at someone all day, like you recycle here, but what about this? You’ve never just gonna be fully sustainable snowboarding. It’s always gonna be a process because look at what you do it in. That is gonna require some planning, some equipment and stuff. I always have to remind myself it’ll never just be walk outside and go snowboarding, but it’s the reason I don’t snowmobile, I don’t get in helicopters. I feel like that accessibility is so limited and so rare to anyone.
I sold my snowmobile seven years ago because I was feeling so disconnected from snowboarding while riding it. That was adding more problems to my life than anything. Gotta get your trailer ready, your sled ready, gas, oil, it’s gonna break down, you’re gonna get stuck. You’ll snowboard 30 feet that day. And you’ll go home. That really was messing with my brain. I sold it and then this season some buddies of mine we’re going to Whistler. I’d never been to Whistler so I was like, alright I’ll give it a shot, see if anything’s changed. We pull into the parking lot and the first thing I notice it is 100% professional snowboarders, professional skiers or professional snowmobilers. There’s like not a single regular human. There’s like 100’s of people and not a single person is doing it as a means to recreate and enjoy snowboarding. If no one is doing it, who’s actually buying snowboarding and truly being a snowboarder, it seems so weird to be like, this is what we’re sending em. So I left after two days of that, went to Jackson, and then here I am riding chairlifts with people who love snowboarding. Hike 30 feet off with people who are just amping. It brings an energy that brings relevance to what I’m doing. They can see my footage or my photos and it’s a realistic approach. It’s tangible. Like, oh sweet, I’m going to Jackson next year because that stuff those guys rode was sweet and I can do that. When I was a kid I would skip anything with a helicopter. I don’t even have enough money to buy a seasons pass, so I’m never gonna do that, ever. I try to find things that I could relate to. That’s definitely something I’m trying to do is bring snowboarding into the media that’s relatable. It’s just funny when all the pro snowboarders are in debt on credit and broke because they’ve got the 2014 Skidoo with the new Tundra and they’re in Whistler where everything’s crazy expensive. And then they’re complaining that companies don’t pay them money.
I really like your videos you’ve made with Taylor Carlton. How did those come about?
I’ve know Taylor for so long, probably like 10 years, cause he moved to Tahoe straight outta high school. We’re the same age so we were probably 17 or 18 when I met him. We’ve been buds ever since. He just doesn’t take anything serious, so it works. We just rant about nothing most of the time. That split board movie, we drove from Tahoe, there was no snow anywhere, so we were like gotta go to Colorado, that’s where the snow is. The bosses we’re telling us, we need to make this movie, we gotta start now, we haven’t filmed shit. Let’s do this. I hopped in his truck and we had this hilarious trip out there and we get there and the pass is closed two days because it was a full on nuke fest. We finally get out there and walk 10 feet and the slope next to us just slides, to the dirt. They’re like oh yeah, it’s the worst any conditions in years and we’re like we can’t even snowboard out there. So then we’re in town, it’s like noon, we’re drinking coffee and we’re just like, what are we gonna do with our lives? So we have all our split board shit so we were like, lets just go snowboard on the little sled hill, and we ended up making that movie. It happened in like 10 minutes. We were cracking up, we thought it was hilarious, and then the movie gets out online and Cale calls us and is like, dude, this has gotten like five times more views than anything we’ve ever done with Airblaster. It’s something that you can connect with beyond a lot of action that you might not ever, ok will never, do. The common denominator is humor, all humans like it.
The other one of the chairlift, you were the first person who brought it up and I was like, that’s on the Internet? We just grabbed a GoPro at Boreal, we didn’t know who’s it was. We just filmed that and gave it back to the spot we found it at, thinking, they’re probably gonna think this is pretty funny, whoever finds this. I coulda been some kid who was rollerblading or something.
Speaking of Rollerblading, how did you get so good at it?
I like to rollerblade. I’ll be honest. I have a pair of blades, Hannah has a pair of blades, and we blade. There’s a sweet path on the Truckee River that’s super long and awesome. We just blade it all the time. It’s great excersize, it’s funny. We can guarantee if we throw the blades in the car and go blading our faces will hurt because it’s so funny. It’s a funny feeling. In snowboarding and skateboarding and surfing there’s moments that you’re like, that felt radical. Rollerblading, there’s never that moment. It’s always this hilarious feeling and I like that about it. It’s on a level that can never been taking anyway but hilarious. I feel like if everything was like that, it would be the best. Skateboarding I try that but then I just slam. You have to try and be a badass, but rollerblading you don’t have to try anything. And if I fall it’s just gonna be even funnier.
Weren’t you in Neoproto, rapping? With a chain, and an Atlanta Braves hat?
That kinda feels like having your foot in two different eras. That seems distinguishably different than what’s going on now. What was it like back then?
We would like go to Peirre’s house, he lived in Portland when he was editing that movie. We would help him edit and help him match the music and cut the music and stuff. Jake Devine, Aaron Keene and and Curtis Woodman and I, and we would get bored when he was doing his command apple f’s and stuff, so I would just beat box and those guys would rap to bide the time. One day, Pierre was like, dude, you should just beat box your part. Let’s record this. Let’s go to the park next door, we’ll film it. So I sit down and Jake takes his chain off and puts it on me, puts my hat all crooked and puts this little sweet band on me. That’s his style. We film the while thing and next thing I know it’s my part. I was 16 when that came out. People always bring that up, but when you’re 16, who knows anything about anything. I didn’t think about anything, just go snowboard and whatever happens happens. Riding for Burton, that was their whole vibe during that time, so in order to fit in, it was like, this is what you’re gonna do, this is the kinda snowboarding you’re gonna do. That was what was cool. Three years later I felt like that awkward pressure and just quit, got on Airblaster because I had known Travis Parker for awhile at that point, and I haven’t left since. That made sense. Now I can do what I want, because Airblaster doesn’t give a shit.
Fun with friends. Photo: Ben Birk
What’s it like riding for Burton as a grom?
It’s crazy. It was like me, Mitch Reed, Wyatt Stasinos. Kevin Pearce was there and Danny Davis, all those guys. We were like the kids, and snowboarding was like in this transition where dudes were wearing jeans and punk rock and rock and roll was happening and that was not their vibe. I definitely sensed a little panic, like are we losing our edge? So they were like, this is what you guys are gonna do, we’re pushing the hip hop style of snowboarding so we can maintain it. It was like, you’re going on this trip, riding this gear. This is the outerwear you’re gonna ride, this is the board you’re gonna ride.
Is this people who snowboard telling you this, or is this someone looking at a clipboard with the trends on it?
At the time my team manger was awesome, but I felt like somewhere above there was someone seeing trends and marketing directions and budgets and being like, we have to maintain this. Tells the team manager, he obviously doesn’t want to because he deals with us and knows us, but they don’t know us. So they’re was definitely full pressure to be a certain type of snowboarder and didn’t have the freedom, even if I wanted to, to go on this trip, maybe ride some powder? And they’re like, nope, not what you’re doing, not why we pay you. And I was 16, getting money to snowboard. I couldn’t complain. And I didn’t know any different, until a few years later seeing my friends getting to do what they want, ride where they want. Like, you guys can pick your outerwear? And the size of it? You can wear that? When I saw that I just quit immediately. It was just a weird bubble.
So who sponsors you now?
K2 Snowboards, Airblaster, Drink Water, Mental Head gear and Crab Grab.