Portland Oregon-Based Digital Media

Keenan_FRASER_SNOWBOY_BarrelyEvent_Dec12_2015-037

Photo: Joel Fraser

Over the past few seasons, Dinosaurs Will Die has seemingly exploded. The boards are popping up in shops, edits and more importantly, under the feet of actual snowboarders everywhere. Building a snowboard brand was never an easy feat, but in a changing world with a changing climate and a dubious economy, it seems impossible. Don’t tell Jeff Keenan that though. The Vancouver-based pro snowboarder turned business man has a plan, a vision, and an army of rats ready to help DWD flourish. We sat him down to find out more.

Brooke: We were talking earlier about how we’re sort of at the age where normal people stop snowboarding, or get distracted from snowboarding I should say – have families, get a job. Does it seem to you like snowboarding is becoming less popular, or is that just the age we’re at and there’s a new generation that’s just as stoked as ever? Or do you think that it’s not refreshing like it used to?

Jeff: Two years ago, I’d agree that we’re just getting older, that people who grabbed on to snowboarding in the 90s are growing out of it. But now there’s stuff that is rejuvenating interest for riders our age. Snowboarding is still young in a sense, we are at the bottom of the first life cycle in the business model. With this I feel we have been taking the steps to look at our past, what made us want to start, who were the pros, what boards were they riding, can we use any of this to help market to the youth? With this I feel we were fighting for our legends, in skate and surf legends are a integral part of the community, in snowboarding I feel we were on a path of who’s the new kid and what is going to be the trick of the year, we lost sight of why we really got into this. It has also put snowboarding to elitist level, almost unattainable for youth.

We had all these snowboarders that should have been our legends but we kicked them out, and hung them to dry. We didn’t support them when they got older and in many cases we didn’t have them involved in our community. And then in the past 3 years I’d say finally say it’s clicked over. People care about Jamie (Lynn) and what Jamie’s doing and Iguchi and what Iguchi’s doing, even what Roach is doing. He came back strong and it’s awesome to see. So now there is this resurfacing of riders we looked up to when we were young, the thing is there are a lot of people my age that still want to see these guys ride, and that is a marketing tool. On a media standpoint it’s hard to find media that appeals to our demographic.

Brooke: As a thirty-something what kind of media do you think would appeal to that older generation?

Jeff: When I think about who I watch skating, I don’t watch Nyjah. I watch guys like Dan Drehobl, A.V.E & Reynolds and anyone who skates fast and has that 90/00 flair to them. Even look at Girl or Chocolate, even through it’s mainstream skate, there’s guys on that team that are a lot older than I am and they are at the top of their game. I look up to that. Then when I think about that in snowboarding, there’s not many older riders that have the chance to stay in it filming and shooting. I like to ride street, powder and rip around mountains, and it’s hard to find that media of people my age that ride the same stuff I do. For some reason we have this weird thing where you get old and you ride powder. I don’t know a lot of thirty-somethings that ride street.

Brooke: Well because it hurts less.

Jeff: Yeah, but you don’t need to hit the gangliest rails. You can be creative in the streets, that’s what I like about it. Don’t get me wrong I like riding powder as much as I can, that’s where my roots are, but I also like being in the street and you just don’t have to hit rails to be in the street.

Brooke: Yeah you don’t get that in the coverage. Street coverage is so gnarly, but it’s possible to just ride in the streets, to just go do it.

Jeff: Yeah.

Brooke: And not buy a lift ticket.

Jeff: Exactly.

JK-Calgary-RoofDrop2

Dropping. photo: Leanne Pelosi

Brooke: I think snowboarding media is great, obviously, but I think most people who snowboard don’t even know snowboard media exists.

Jeff: No, which is kind of messed up. I don’t follow everything that comes out in snowboarding … A group of my friends surf more then snowboard now and they follow surf media religiously. Then I have friends that just skateboard and they don’t even look at skate media. So I think it is all over the place. I personally look at a lot of skate and surf stuff, and you just see how they are approaching new media. You don’t see a new skate or surf video come out then release full parts online. In snowboarding, it’s messed up that you buy videos now and then a week later all the parts come out online. It’s good for the sites that host them, however it delegitimizes the video production companies’ platform.

Snowboarding is my job, but my job isn’t really on the Internet so I don’t have the need to look at it all the time. But when I’m halfway through the day and I’m having a coffee or drinking a beer I’ll go on a snowboard site and try to catch up. I find I just skip so much of the media. It is fucked up how much is just thrown at the ‘net with out a plan behind it. For instance, I just saw the Iguchi pro model thing. The launch had a video I watched like 2 seconds then fast forwarded and watch 2 seconds in the middle and there’s old clips of him that are rad, I was like whoa that’s cool but for some reason I don’t buy into the, “this guy’s older and selling to my demographic.” The release video has some new footage and a small retrospect, and an explanation of the board, however it didn’t interest me much. I want to see a more direct push behind a release like that, something like– “Hey, I haven’t filmed a full part in a while and I’m gonna film a full part and not tell anyone about it and my sponsor is gonna come out with a pro-model in conjunction with that part, these two things are gonna be just as good as any thing that has been released before.”

Brooke: That would be cool.

Jeff: It’s not there.

Brooke: I mean a lot of it is branding in that the way things are presented and it’s hard to present things in a way that it will appeal to everyone in snowboarding.

Jeff: Yeah.

Brooke: That’s another thing we were talking about, how different snowboarding is from place to place.

Jeff: I’ve always thought about each individual local surrounding, and how you are a product of your own environment. I’m from the city and how the people ride down here is very different to how people ride in Whistler, and it’s only two hours away. People that ride Whistler ride very differently then people from Utah, and these people are different from people who ride in Quebec. There are always copy cats of style, however you can usually see the true nature of a rider if you do a lap with them. It’s crazy because kids there can be kids that are in the streets of Minnesota or Quebec City that might not have even ridden a resort, so how they ride is going to be a true product of that urban environment. That spectrum is really different.

Brooke: Yeah it’s crazy. So how does the industry deal with that?

Jeff: People don’t think about it.

JK-seagrims-Method2

Whis love. photo: Leanne Pelosi

Brooke: You run a brand and do you guys think, okay well, we want to appeal to kids who ride resorts or we want to appeal to people who ride in the streets or we want to appeal to people in Europe or do you just want to appeal to everyone?

Jeff: No, we want to appeal to an attitude. It doesn’t matter where they ride or where they are from. You can look at it like a political standpoint too. If your Republican or Democrat you want to appeal to a certain kind of person, but you don’t really care if that guy’s a doctor or a gun salesmen. You don’t really care what they do, you care about their mindset. This is what Dinos is like, we don’t care if you ride powder or street, or if your from the city or mountain town. None of that matters, we just know people that are into our company have a like-minded attitude. This attitude is that you can be yourself, you can all be different, but you have a similar creative outlook. This outlook is one that makes you go out there, grind and dedicate to a passion.

Brooke: Yeah that makes sense. The world is always in transition, but seems very apparent right now. The weather is changing, the economy is changing, everything’s changing. How has that affected you guys?

Jeff: Since we are a two-person company, we are mobile. If you have a company with 30 employees your limited to what you can do and how versatile you are. If you have two people you can pretty much do whatever those two people want to do. You can move around, you can adapt and you can do it quickly. This quickness transcends every aspect of the company too. There’s all these companies out there that are to slow to react to the ever-changing snowboard world. They are so slow on identifying their key targets and they miss the boat, or they overshot this target and create an a product or marketing platform that is almost to broad for their initial goals. For Dinos we are trying to sell to snowboarders, we are not trying to reach out of this spectrum. However, if someone walking into a snowboard shop for their first time buys a Dino more times then not it is going to because of the graphic or the quality of our construction, not because of our backstory, and this we embrace as well.

Brooke: Do you guys aspire to grow the brand bigger?

Jeff: There’s growing the company and then there’s growing the reach of the company. If you’re talking units being sold, we obviously want to grow, in turn this allows the company to grow.

Brooke: What about company size? There’s 2 of you, do you want to hire more people?

Jeff: Well yeah, we need to. Because there’s a point in time the company becomes at full capacity, you can only do so much without sleeping. We do have an awesome rep force, these guys kill it they are truly dedicated to snowboarding, and we do have Matt Heneghan, who assists us with team and marketing. We apply innovative hardware and application in our technology to assist when we expand, however there is a point you need to have employees to take a piece of the workload.

One time this person gave us this graph that had sales units on the Y axis and core values on the X. All the major snowboard companies where laid out all over the graph. There weren’t many company in the right hand corner where sales and core values were high. They asked where do we want to be, and without thinking I pointed to the upper right hand side. The goal is to grow the company and at the same time staying true to our core values.

Brooke: Back to our changing world – it seems to me like everyone is moving to the city – nobody wants to be a farmer anymore, especially with the younger generation. That’s just what society is doing. How do you see that changing snowboarding and people’s interest in snowboarding?

Jeff: That is the way the world is going globally, urbanization, throughout the world everyone is migrating to cities and rural areas are being less populated. For the most part the rural living is dying and people are moving to a city to live. The cities are more glamorous – there are jobs, activities, events and communities that you don’t see in rural society. However, where urbanization lacks is the surroundings of nature and being outdoors. I truly feel that this contributes to the less youth moving to or out of mountain towns.

I’m lucky to live in Vancouver because if it snows on the mountains you see it from inside the city. We actually have this physical connection, it looks like you can reach out and grab the mountains. It becomes a part of your life because you see it everyday. However if you lived somewhere like Portland, Seattle or on the East Coast, you do not have this benefit. You to live in the city and go up to the hill, it becomes more of an activity then a lifestyle. The more people are moving from mountain towns and rural areas into cities, the more they start to disconnect from nature, the mountains, and in turn from snowboarding.

Keenan_FRASER_SNOWBOY_BarrelyEvent_Dec12_2015-027

Scenes from Barrely and Event at Grouse. Photo: Joel Fraser

Brooke: Yeah I mean do you think that that migration is changing the status of snowboarding from a lifestyle sport to just a recreational activity?

Jeff: Yes, it is fully. One of the best parts of snowboarding is that you can be live anywhere in the world (that it snows) and you can be a part of this bigger community. When I started really getting into snowboarding in the early 90’s, when you drove to the resort you waved at anyone who had a snowboards strapped to their roof, and you probably knew them. I feel like 5 years ago, in snowboarding, you wouldn’t do that. But now I do it all the time, I wave or try and say hi to anyone that has a snowboard. If I see a snowboarder who is by themselves I’ll always talk to them, maybe that has to do with Dinos too, but I think it’s going back that way.

Brooke: Seems like it’s getting stronger because it’s getting smaller.

Jeff: Everything has a life cycle, business is a life cycle, everything has ups and downs and what once was is not gonna be. Snowboarding will constantly rejuvenate itself to be at a different standard then the past and right now it seems we have been on a downturn in the whole word, including snowboarding. In these times, Dinos has been on an upswing, we want to stay on the top of this upswing. We want to be one of the companies in the forefront when things come up. We want to be the company that snowboarders look at and believe in. A company that wears our values on our sleeves and constantly changes and adapts, a company that has a clear and definite reason for all products it makes.

keenanjeff_bs7naturalwindlip_pemb_7767-1

Backside 7. Photo: Phil Tifo

roudtable1

Welcome to the Yobeat Roundtable, a new feature where we pose pressing questions to the greatest minds and bodies in snowboarding in order to get some damn answers – or at least real opinions on the current state of Board World. For our first meeting, we’re discussing what it means to matter, or more specifically, stay a relevant snowboarder in this day and age of media overload. We asked:

The term relevance is thrown around more than ever in the Internet age, as just about anything can gain notoriety with enough social posts. As we approach the 2015/16 season, what does being relevant in snowboarding mean to you?

And they answered:

Ethan Morgan, Half German/half American Playboy/Bataleon pro: Being relevant is important to me as a snowboard pro.  Things have changed in Snowboarding, not good or bad, just different.  And if you wanna be a part of it, you just have to go with the flow.  Nowadays, you just wanna get your name out there so the world wide web can see you.  You could be the shit, have the best steez and heavy tricks, but if you’re not in that Social media mayhem program or not going to contests, you’ll get as close to just getting a shop sponsor.  Internet has it all connected, and has constant updates on what is happening in snowboarding and its different scenes.  So many snowboarding edits out there, it’s unreal.  It’s hard being relevant because there is so much Internet traffic.  So what * try to do is just be consistent with updates, bring out content and just try to get my name out there.

Danyale Patterson, Gnu Girl/Purist: Being relevant in snowboarding means you’ve filmed a memorable part.

Sean Black, Muscular Man/Arbor Marketing MANager: What is defined as relevant depends on who you ask. Relevance is relative and with so many channels of communication available to so many people on both the publishing and consuming end of the media landscape, relevance is harder than ever to achieve or quantify. I think what I’m trying to say is that Erik Leon is super fucking relevant, and everyone else to rides an Arbor Snowboard for that matter. Yeah…all of them are the most relevant. Oh, Stan seems to be super relevant too. I heard, “OMG thats Stan from Yobeat” just as often as “OMG that’s Sage Kotsenburg” last week while on Mt Hood. Both dudes are super fucking awesome so that was nice to see.

Sean Genovese, Snowboard Visionary/Dinosaurs Will Die Co-founder: Hustle.  Has and always will be the most relevant.  If you’re making an effort and participating… people will notice.  If you’re half assing it… people won’t notice… therefore they won’t care… hence irrelevance.

Chris Larson: Alaskan Hardcore/DWD Pro.

Isn’t trying to be relevant consist of trying to be unique and as irrelevant as possible?  That’s my take on how people are trying to shift their direction towards being what’s currently relevant.

Jake Olson-Elm: Minnesota Hero/Signal Pro: I think Lucas Magoon is the most relevant snowboarder out there, then it just trickles down from there!!!

Matt Heneghan: DWD babysitter/Newfie.
I think the key to staying relevant is being in the know of what is currently trending in snowboarding but not totally catering your trick selection and riding style to that norm. Incorporating some new flavour is good but it is really obvious when someone is just straight up biting something. Do your own thing but evolve in a way that makes sense to your boarding.
Fredrik Perry: Fragile human/DWD Pro.
Being relevant for me I guess is if you’re out there doing stuff. I mean, if you’re in edits and doing interviews and put out videoparts, people know what you’re doing. You can’t really force it either, which is good, but I don’t think being relevant is a thing people really think about. Is it? At least for me, just film for a videopart I’m hyped for myself and that my friends will like and also maybe, just maybe once not get injured during a season. Yeah right. I guess it depends on what kind of snowboarding you do also. If you want to win big contests you’ll have to do some pretty crazy tricks and do those every other weekend during the winter to stay relevant, for other people it’s enough to drop one part a year, maybe even every other year. For some, just make silly edits for silly boys and girls. I like those.

Jeff Keenan, Whistler OG/DWD Co-founder: For myself and DWD, it’s all about submersing in to the culture no matter where you are at. From travels to resorts and spots in Japan and Europe, to roaming through the local scenes in North America; riding and bridging the the gaps allows you to keep check with similarities in all Snowboard culture plus you’re able to meet more people and expand your reach.

Jonathan Macdonald: Bear Local/Arbor Am.  Being relevant in snowboarding to me  is knowing what’s going on in the snowboarding community, but you don’t have to follow the footsteps that everyone else takes. Snowboarding was/is made to be fun and that’s the main rule u should always have, weather your doing a quad cork or the newest euro carve. You be the judge on what you think is cool and not, don’t just say it’s cool because your homies said it is or because it’s the heavy popular thing. SERIOUSLY BE YOUR OWN PERSON!!!

Brendon Hupp: Indie Filmmaker/Professional Pessimist
Filming a video part, photos (in print), maybe an interview (in print) and not over saturating the social scene with your shitty park edits and even worse product photos.

Madison Blackley: Jib Gurl/Bataleon Pro. YOU THINK I’M RELEVANT?!?! Shocking since I’m not that cool on Instagram.  Being relevant is giving the people what they want, even if they don’t know what they want. I don’t know what is relevant anymore, being relevant is being popular.

Kaitlyn Farrington: Olympic Halfpipe Snowboarding Gold Medalist. Funny that the question is about being relevant because right now that what I’m trying to figure out…how to stay relevant and let’s say not be the forgotten Olympian :/ I feel the internet has just made things a pain in the ass because I can’t just be me to the full extent without getting comments like “should you be doing that because your neck” or the call/text “you might wanna rethink your last post parents might not like that”  my response is “yes I am drinking out of a red cup I’m 25…”

Trade shows are trade shows, no matter what language everyone is having the same conversation over and over in, but after years of attending SIA, this year I decided to dip into the massive Yobeat budget and head to Munich for ISPO. Germany, mother fuckers!

The show is massive, consisting of who knows how many halls, filled with miraculous new products from just about every sport, and one hall that’s entirely Chinese manufacturers with wacky shit that you wouldn’t believe exists. Not feeling that brave, I spent my first day at the show wandering around the “action sports” halls, peeking into booths hoping to see friendly American faces who could run me through the exiting new innovations in the line, but alas, most booths were staffed by actual Europeans. However, there were some memorable moments.

-I got the grand tour at Burton, where the big stories are the addition of BOA to the boots, and tons of apparel. Like actual fashionable stuff with multiple lines for every style.

-I located the Dinosaurs Will Die booth, where Geno was kind enough to let me set up shop. The new Dinos line looks sick, with the addition of the Wizard stick, a all-mountain twist on the Rat board, a collab with D.O.P.E. and a 160cm board for Andrew Geeves.

-Apparently media are offered free booth space in exchange for coverage. Method Mag took advantage with a movie theater-style booth showing the latest teasers, and more importantly, bean bags for hangover recovery.

-Unlike SIA, the beer flows all day and you don’t even need a coozie. Around 3pm, the few remaining people actually conducting business switch the party mode and then it’s on. Thomas from Method explained to me, “At SIA people go to write orders. At ISPO, they’re just here to get wasted.”

-While beer flows like wine here, weed is highly illegal. Which only made it that much more fun when my first in-person encounter with Smokin’ Jay involved the weed. We s
-Holden was at the show, sharing a booth with new parent company Pow. Mikey Leblanc was in attendance and is hyped on his new position as solely a marketing dude for the brand. Congrats dude!

-Perhaps my biggest learning experience was a visit to the booth housing Tailgate AK, Northwave, some Germany and Japanese brands with an array of fishtail shapes and more Pow Surf brands than you knew existed. I was encouraged to listen to a talk at “ISPO Academy” on pow surfing, which I determined to be the hot new thing in the 40-something market. Apparently when you get old, you need a new challenge, or something.

Once the real party started, it didn’t stop. We made our way from the convention center to the new GoPro Euro offices, where people donned all sorts of kooky outfits and took GoPro photos of you in the elevator. So that was fun. From there, it was off to the 686 Charity boxing event, where the Postland crew went down hard, and the system to get free drinks confused us all. Finally, Burton was hosting a big old shin dig, which I gather was a true ISPO party. Basically a shit ton of people packed into a huge bar with techno music blaring and lit cigs everywhere. Good times. And thus completed my first day at my first ISPO. It’s now 1 pm Euro time and I think it may be time to start drinking.

Original Post on Yobeat

Sean Genovese_Classic japanese street portrait_Shinjuku,JP_Mertz 2012

Classic guy. Classic portrait. Photos: Alex Mertz

Snowboarding isn’t something that most people make a life out of. It’s not because the industry is too exclusive or any of that nonsense, it’s that even the most hardcore snowboarder will probably wake up some day with a job and kids and actual responsibilities, and not care quite as much. But luckily for everyone from the casual enthusiast to the hardcore kid sleeping in his car to make ends meet in a ski town, there are people like Sean Genovese. Sean is a lifer. Truly passionate about snowboarding, he’s set out to help keep the fun, excitement and interest in it for himself, and he’s willing to let you come along for the ride. As the founder of Dinosaurs Will Die, a long-time pro and former shop rat, Sean is the core of snowboarding.

Brooke: You run a core snowboard brand. What does that mean?

Geno: (Laughs) Ummm. Fuck, I don’t know. Core is a weird thing. I try to think of another core brand that I would consider core and then another that I would consider not core, but then when I do that I think that I am just judging and who am I to give a shit about that. Ok, a core brand or a core person is someone who literally does not have a care outside of what they are doing. They only try to appeal to them and their friends, which is the core. But it’s just the core to them, or their little bubble. So who’s to say that whatever brand over there that claims we do whatever, they are doing their thing, so it’s core in a different way. And that’s when you try to generalize snowboarders into one big lump sum and say “we are the middle, we are the center of it all.” You can’t really do that. As it grows, there is different segmenting so the core is growing but their are different types. There are people who ride over 100 days a year, you could be a bum and do that, or you could be really rich and do that. But do they pay attention to anything else? Are they doing it for themselves? True soul boarding? Is that the core? Maybe. Are they paying attention to contests, is that core? Is a video part core? It’s no different than filming figure skating, or filming parkour and putting it on the Internet, you know? Everyone takes it seriously and because we decided to take it seriously, now it’s cool. It’s like we all decided at some point that this was going to be cool.

Read more

Sean Genovese_Classic japanese street portrait_Shinjuku,JP_Mertz 2012

Classic guy. Classic portrait. Photos: Alex Mertz

Snowboarding isn’t something that most people make a life out of. It’s not because the industry is too exclusive or any of that nonsense, it’s that even the most hardcore snowboarder will probably wake up some day with a job and kids and actual responsibilities, and not care quite as much. But luckily for everyone from the casual enthusiast to the hardcore kid sleeping in his car to make ends meet in a ski town, there are people like Sean Genovese. Sean is a lifer. Truly passionate about snowboarding, he’s set out to help keep the fun, excitement and interest in it for himself, and he’s willing to let you come along for the ride. As the founder of Dinosaurs Will Die, a long-time pro and former shop rat, Sean is the core of snowboarding.

Brooke: You run a core snowboard brand. What does that mean?

Geno: (Laughs) Ummm. Fuck, I don’t know. Core is a weird thing. I try to think of another core brand that I would consider core and then another that I would consider not core, but then when I do that I think that I am just judging and who am I to give a shit about that. Ok, a core brand or a core person is someone who literally does not have a care outside of what they are doing. They only try to appeal to them and their friends, which is the core. But it’s just the core to them, or their little bubble. So who’s to say that whatever brand over there that claims we do whatever, they are doing their thing, so it’s core in a different way. And that’s when you try to generalize snowboarders into one big lump sum and say “we are the middle, we are the center of it all.” You can’t really do that. As it grows, there is different segmenting so the core is growing but their are different types. There are people who ride over 100 days a year, you could be a bum and do that, or you could be really rich and do that. But do they pay attention to anything else? Are they doing it for themselves? True soul boarding? Is that the core? Maybe. Are they paying attention to contests, is that core? Is a video part core? It’s no different than filming figure skating, or filming parkour and putting it on the Internet, you know? Everyone takes it seriously and because we decided to take it seriously, now it’s cool. It’s like we all decided at some point that this was going to be cool.

For the long term viability of snowboarding as we know it, what does it mean for snowboarding to grow? Can it continue? Does it need to?

Well, It can. And it should. I guess. Not every one can snowboard. That’s a limitation through environment. It can grow to a certain extent, but more people can and should snowboard. It’s awesome. We kind of fuck ourselves though. The example being when you listen to a band that’s really awesome. You don’t want anyone else to know about that band. It becomes your little thing. Then other people catch on and then they are on the radio and then they are sell outs and then you hate them. Then, this is the new band. It’s all about the next thing and that is a part of growing. But we should want people to be successful and we should want snowboarding to be successful. Now it’s just whether snowboarding wants to grow… Like if a band does it’s thing and the people pay attention to it, the band gets to a point where they have to decide whether they want to keep doing what they want to do or whether they want to expand and explore new things. If you just keep trying to do the exact thing that got you there you are going to limit yourself. Snowboarding needs to keep doing what it does. The Internet is changing snowboarding. The formulas that used to work, in the DVD age, don’t work anymore. Snowboarding doesn’t have to change entirely. It’s a weird question because there is no answer.

Sean Genovese_Front Board pop over_Hakuba,JP_Mertz 2012

Killing Dinosaurs in Japan. Photo Alex Mertz

Core shops are a huge part of local snowboarding and a lot of them are dying off, or at least people are saying that they are dying off. But core shops refuse to change. If you have to sell coffee out the front window of your shop so that a kid can buy a snowboard, why not do it? You create traffic. What are the other kids that you are selling to into, you know? Snowboarding is a lifestyle.

It’s OK for a ski shop to sell snowboards, but in our heads, I would say “I’m not going in there, fuck it.” If the shop that you think is the shit picked up skis to sell because they need to make a few more bucks, you would say that shop had sold out. That’s fucking backwards. I’m not saying the answer for snowboard shops is to sell skis. I’m just saying it’s OK for the rich guy at the ski shop to sell snowboards and make more money, but the snowboard shop has to stay cool, which means sticking to all these rules that basically prevent you from making money.

Why shouldn’t they sell skis?

Ski’s suck. (laughter) I don’t know. I just love snowboarding. I think freestyle sking is great for outerwear companies. It’s like Robin Hood: steal from the rich give to the poor, you know? Hey, let everybody fucking buy it. Let whoever buy the snowboard shit. Buy all of it. We market to snowboarders but make people who don’t snowboard want it — Skiers. Mountaineers.
But if you are selling snowboard boots, snowboard bindings, or snowboards, then of course you are going to say fuck everyone outside of snowboarding because they are not buying your shit. If I sold wax I would call it snowboard wax, but freestyle skiers? Fuck ya, I’ll sell that shit to you all day long, no problem. But we don’t. We make snowboards. Should we make skis? I don’t know. When Mervin started doing it I was kind of meh, but I just don’t ski and I don’t have an interest in it so I don’t want to make them. If I started cross country skiing one day because I thought it was good for my health and I couldn’t snowboard every day, then Dinosaurs will Die will make cross country skis.

That would be awesome.

I am one of those people that would be bummed if a core shop started carrying skis. But then again I was talking to our reps and I was like “fuck skiing” don’t sell to ski shops. but now it’s more of a question of what shop in that region supports snowboarding. Who has a team? Who’s got a shop that is supporting kids? That’s the shop. If that shop sold Barbecues and Patio Furniture and Snowboards and skis. Whatever. I get that you have to do what you have to do to survive.

Sean Genovese_Method_Anchorage,AK_Mertz 2012When all else fails, a method at sunset will always do the trick. Photo: Alex Mertz

I bought a leash in the 90s at a place that was a store for pools and spas. They also sold snowboard gear.

I was in New York for a Think Thank premiere so our rep back East told me he was going to go around and check out some different shops that we were in. We go to one shop, and we are like “is this it?” Full on umbrellas, patio furniture, and then we go upstairs and there is a snowboard shop upstairs. Very weird. It was so different than a west coast snowboard shop or a mountain town snowboard shop. It’s a shorter season, they don’t have huge mountains. It was almost like mom and pop had the patio furniture business and the kid got into snowboarding so the family expanded their business because they are wise business people. In some weird way, shit like that sounds like the right way. I get stoked on things having a purpose. Purpose over perfection. Nothing is ever perfect but if you have a story and a purpose for it than it is perfect. All the products that we sell have a story behind them so it’s easy to get passionate about them and that’s infectious. People get hyped about that. Snowboarding needs passion. It needs more people that are truly passionate about everything they are involved in. If you just keep doing what you are doing and are passionate about it people will be attracted to that. That’s when I got into it. If some kid rolled through Government Camp in the middle of the summer and didn’t know anything about snowboarding and started doing it, I think he would love it. If they tried they would be into it.

I think the general public’s perception of snowboarding is Lindsey Jacobellis on Extreme Weight Loss, or the Olympics, or Shaun White, and they don’t know about that side of it. What’s happening in Government Camp, or the people who are really passionate about it. Is there a way to share that to a wider audience and do we want to?

I think we should. Definitely we should. I’ve never met Shaun White, I’ve never met Lindsey Jacobellis but the people at the top are usually the most humble. The people at the bottom are the grimiest. The people who are trying to make it to the top spot are the people who are holding it all back because they are scared someone is going to take their spotlight or whatever. Shaun White is crazy though. He is the face of snowboarding straight up. Is that good, is that bad? I don’t really know.

One thing I think is that snowboarding has always tried to be skateboarding. It seems like maybe we’ve mellowed on that a little. Do you think the tides are changing of perceptions of skaters towards snowboarders?

I think it is. There are small brands that are putting some faith back in and riders that are doing it their way again. Kids are gonna be kids and then they go through a weird dorky phase and then they either come out cool or not cool. I think snowboarding is coming out cool again. It’s cool to see Jeremy Jones Further/Deeper thing. Going off and exploring is really cool. Kids jibbing in towns with snowboarding is really cool. Not bringing snow to a rail is a cool thing. Finding spots that have snow and using it. The bungee thing is fine.

They went out of business, bankrupt at least.

Oh shit. Well, they weren’t in the core of snowboarding. So if they wanted to do something, no one was giving them a huge hand and they had to pay for it. And with a product like that, you can’t sell enough of them. Not to mention they only made bungees and never expanded. We are a niche brand in a niche part of a sport that is a niche too. So I was blown away that as many kids had bungees as they did. Not every kid needs one. We’ve only used one of those for the last three years you know? Once you have it it’s almost a novelty but you really don’t need it all the time. It sucks to pull and you need all your friends to help you do it.

Sean Genovese_Double set gap_Iizuna,JP_Mertz 2012Skate moves. Photo: Alex Mertz

Speaking of buying your way into snowboarding, what do you think of a brand like Nike, and what they are doing in snowboarding. Good? Bad?

Probably yet to be determined.Who’s to say. If was pissed and I didn’t like what Nike was doing then I should start a boot brand. If anyone is that pissed off and doesn’t like it…Then do something about it. People will talk “oh they are coming in and taking our market” and it’s just like “well what are you doing to allow them to come and take your market?” They have money and are they just buying their way into it? Can you really do that? They tried it before and they couldn’t do it. They tried a second time to get into snowboarding and they couldn’t do it. Now they are giving it another go. I look at the people that they hired though and they are snowboarders, they understand snowboarding and they have been snowboarders that have filmed video projects in the past, or have been involved and in the know with other teams. They are supporting the right people so why shouldn’t they? It’s kind of like “well If I don’t take the job, someone else will.” There is no united front where everyone is gonna say, “fuck you, Nike,” but they could help snowboarding. Is there room for Nike in snowboarding? Sure. Is it killing it? I don’t think so. There is an open spot in snowboarding for that because other brands have let it happen.

But other brands haven’t done it right. Think about Under Armour, their first marketing campaign was kind of sick and then it went to shit. I can think how I would have marketed that brand, but I don’t even know who is in there, you know? Who is the face of under Armour? With Nike, and this is their successful approach, it would make more sense because they have people in their that snowboard. There is a face that makes sense to people. Kyle Clancy was Under Armour’s rider which was cool but you know he’s not the dude making marketing decisions, and if he was you would probably be more down with it. You never hear anyone talking about Under Armour and that’s an example of someone trying to buy their way in in the wrong way. It’s good for the rider that needs to make a buck in the short term, but it has no longevity to it. Marc Johnson talked about this too, brands that take their aging riders and put their knowledge to work within the company are the ones that are supportive to snowboarding.

Everyone is being used in some way. You are either being used to market the product or you are being used to buy the product. It sounds like scummy business but it’s just the way it is, and there is a right way to go about it. We are going to market to you so you give us your money, we are going to use you to market so we can get more money. The main question becomes what you do with the people after you use them. Do you ditch them and move on? No, as you evolve, let’s grow together. One of our kids, let’s say he films, and he is a snowboarder. Down the road but in the future if we could just afford to have him come in and be the media department, that would be rad because he knows the history of the brand. If we make the video project, he can create it because he has grown inside the company. You can find other uses for your riders. But then it grows and gets weird when a younger kid comes up and is better.

Sean Genovese_ Lipslide_Hakuba,JP_Mertz 2012Insert man in black reference here. Photo: Alex Mertz

What do you think about snowboarders as athletes and or celebrities. Will snowboarders ever be the new Kobe?

Shaun White, maybe Danny Kass. But Danny did it his way, which was a healthy look for it. That term is thrown around a lot “jock” you know what I found was interesting was that – back to the Shaun White thing- It seems like Danny could go to Mount Hood and go snowboarding. Travis Rice could go to Mount Hood and go snowboarding. I don’t know Shaun White but the thing that I find very strange is that he doesn’t seem to associate with snowboarders snowboarding for that matter. I don’t know who his friends are. Maybe he doesn’t care. but I am kind of bummed out for him. He kills it. He has tons of money and he does cool shit. I have seen charity stuff which is awesome, but it’s kind of a bummer that he couldn’t roll into Hood and have people getting stoked.

Brooke: He was there, people took selfies with him like he is a celebrity.

Oh really? Well. Travis Rice made a crazy movie, and then for the second movie I just felt like he tried to spend as much money as possible, but it was a fluff piece. It was kind of a bummer. The Supernatural thing is cool though. He seems approachable. With Shaun White though, what is he doing for snowboarding? He wins contests but outside of that…Is he helping the next generation of snowboarders? Maybe he is because people are seeing it and he is keeping it in the mainstream and then if they see beyond him they can see the different layers of snowboarding and find one they like. This is the kind of thing I don’t really have an opinion. The Target branding stuff for example. I can’t decide whether it’s good or it’s bad. It just is.

He also skates, and is in a band. The fact is, is that Shaun White reaches a bigger audience than say, a Forest Bailey or a Brendon Hupp.

Geno: Oh, absolutely, and the other thing is too, would those other guys be able to handle the spotlight like Shaun does? Probably not. When you ask people like that to do too much they get so bummed. They don’t like being told what to do. They want the money so they can keep doing it but they don’t want to do some of the parts that go along with it. You have to pimp yourself out. Whore yourself around.

Where snowboarding is at right now, all the ridiculous shit you have to do, versus the amount of money you can get out of it. Leaving out the 1%, the burnout is insane. I think the people who are on top now aren’t going to be around in two years and that sucks. You need people to stick around.

If brands can support what a rider is doing and not manipulate what a rider is doing, everyone wins.  I am in my 30’s and I have my friends my age but I also hang out with 17 year old kids. On paper what I do sounds sketchy. I film 17-year-old boys in the woods and sometimes in dark alleys. There is no age barrier on snowboarding. There are generations. You could claim kids don’t get it, or you could take what the kids are doing as new and embrace it.

DWD has been around since 2005. 8 years. What advice do you have to people trying to start their own snowboard company?

Ya, I’ll give the same advice I got. Don’t do it. But that was from people saying there was no market for it then. But there is still no market it for it now. There wasn’t one then and there isn’t one now. There was a market for snowboarding. It was 1992. You just did whatever. That was the golden age they say. There is a new golden era for the next generation and I don’t think snowboarding is any worse off than it was in the 90’s. There is more history now. You have people like Chris Roach, Terje. That didn’t happen as much back then. When it started snowboarders were kids, now snowboarders are having kids. It isn’t as rebellious anymore, as soon as your parents are suggesting you go on a snowboard vacation. It’s not punk rock anymore. We are much more desensitized to things now and the industry has become safer. We are all playing with plastic scissors that can’t cut paper. You can’t say anything because you might hurt someone’s feelings. Really you just need to do whatever the fuck you want. If you are going to start a brand have the passion for it and don’t be stupid. For us it’s been like this. I worked in a snowboard shop. I worked with the guys who owned it, learned from them I was a rider for a shop, a rider for a company. We filmed video projects and now with the brand we sponsor video projects. We’ve played a lot of roles, but what you learn when you start a brand is that you have to think about what a consumer wants, what a shop wants and how you want to be treated by a brand. It’s the golden rule. treat other people the way you want to be treated, have passion, drive, and you will succeed.

You are not worried about people taking your market share?

No way! Companies have been awesome to us. Mervin and Capita have been so helpful. Just awesome. They both have given me good advice and been very supportive. We are not always going to be the gutter brand. We are going to grow. Hopefully we can stay in tune with the kids, but if you are trying to be that core gutter brand, you become that old dude with green hair and a mohawk. Some dudes pull it off but usually it looks weird. A company is like a person, It evolves. You can do your best, you can try and be friends with everyone and still hold values. Nothing is set in stone. It’s always easy to give advice to other people when you are on the outside looking in.

 WMOFD-HumpDayinNew Yobeat shirt?

 

On Friday September 28th some snowboard premieres happened (probably more than just two, in fact) but on the West Coast, Seattle and Los Angeles were the places to be. Sarah Morrison hung in LA, while Brooke and Jared went to Seattle and if you stayed home, read on and you can feel like you were at both!

First up, we head south to LA…

Mountain High’s first full length snowboard film Los Angeles premiered alongside Think Thank’s Mind the Video Man at the historic Downtown Independent Theater in the snowboard mecca that is downtown Los Angeles. The event had completely sold out two screenings at 10 dollars a ticket, which resulted in everyone having to stand in a really long line for a really long time.

The historic Downtown Independent Theater had both intense lighting and intense snacks.

I got some.

Then I dropped them.

Soon it was premiere time. Think Thank’s Mind the Man started out the faux-snow-filled Southern California evening. The film could have used some additional scenery, but the weird rails, front flips and binding-less fun kept the audience yelling stuff at the screen.

After a brief intermission, it was the dawn of Mountain High’s Los Angeles. The well-soundtracked film cut between the riders walking around in scenic sunny Los Angeles and them doing crazy stuff on rails and off jumps at Mountain High. Mountain High is Los Angeles’ closest winter resort and this press point was driven home to musical perfection with Phantom Planet’s California, aka the OC theme song, as the film came to a close and its credits rolled.

There was Craft Beer.

And more Craft Beer

An ATM…

And posters to hang on your bedroom wall.

Oh and street art. Bad street art.

Mountain High Freedom Passes are only $299. I think I might get one.

Hondo was encouraging event attendees in the theater to go home and watch the Mountain High movie on Transworld on their laptops instead.

Brad Farmer made this movie happen, and Nick Visconti wore a Yobeat shirt.

Look how much fun everyone is having! Cronk, Doug, Donald and Hondo

Mmm. Beer. Kyle Loppicolo and Trevor Haas enjoy.

Meanwhile in Seattle…

I (Brooke) when to the Think Thank/Dinosaurs Will Die premiere. Think Thank was the headliner at The Pirahana shop, a surf shop by day, empty room with a screen at night, but as it turned out, if you actually wanted to watch the movies, the early showing was the place to be. We arrived a bit before the 21+ show to find everyone sitting in an orderly fashion, eyes glued on the last few parts of Mind the Video Man. Needless to say once they kicked out the kids and opened the bar, things became much less civilized.

Having already watched Think Thank’s movie, the real attraction, at least for me, was the DWD Team Flick. Unfortunately, the standing-room-only crowd and my short stature made it quite difficult to see. It didn’t help that Sean Tedore spent most of the movie telling me about the 90s backcountry parts that were way better than what was coming out today. Anyway, I’ve got the DVD and a real review is coming soon.

Jesse Burtner did his best to keep everyone in line.

An absurd number of Chris’s were there. Here’s Brewster and Cloud (not pictured: Beresford.)

Most of the 21+ crowd was too cool for autographs, but I totally got one from Sean Genovese.

The new issue of Frequency (modeled by John Laing and Krush Kulesza) was hot off the presses. I touched it though and it felt room temperature.

Snowboarding’s cutest couple Leanne Pelosi and Jeff Keenan came down from the Great White North.

Sean Tedore and Chris Beresford are still friends even though Tedore left K2.

The remaining Tranny Finders in Seattle wouldn’t miss this for the world!

And while he may not be as high profile as Nick Visconti, Tim Zimmerman was also proudly waving the Yobeat flag.

So there you have it, two Think Thank Premieres in one night and very little information about the actual movies. Deal with it.

genocamera_photokeenan2

Photo: Keenan

When you’re not happy with your board sponsor in this day in age, there’s only one thing to do: start your own brand. Sure, given then current economic climate, and the responsibilities of running a company, it might not be the easiest proposition. But for Sean Genovese, it’s a walk in the park. Wait, no, I am lying. Sean is honestly one of the most random, out-there individuals that I’ve ever met, and the fact he is able to run his own snowboard brand is a testament to the fact that snowboarding is the world’s greatest industry. Don’t get me wrong, Sean is potentially the most fun human beings you would ever be lucky enough to snowboard with, and he’s doing things exactly the way he wants. So when will the Dinosaurs die? That remains to be seen. For now, just a quick interview with Genovese.

20090207_geno_japan-15

Domo Arrigato Mr. Geno. Photo: Mike Yoshida

So you are from Canada, eh?

Seems that way.

It seems like most people think of you as a freedom loving American despite your elongated ooos. Why? Do you hate Canada?

Is that what people think?

It’s what I think. Well, do you have any good border crossing stories from all the trips across the WA/BC border?

This one time I hopped a train, and had to hide in a manure pile during its inspection at the border, and they wouldn’t leave the car I was in, until they had finished their tea break. They made it mandatory for one year that all border guards drink tea on their first break of the day. It was an experiment to test how tea affected stress. When you spill hot tea on your lap, it doesn’t matter how calm you are at the time, you’re about to lose it. I couldn’t lose this dream I had been having about falling into someone’s mouth. I’ve fallen victim to this only once.

20090215_geno_japan-4

Fences, rules, Sean is interested in none of them. Photo: Yoshida

Speaking of borders, what’s the most trouble you ever got into a Borderline Camp in AK?

The usual nonsense that happens when you put kids in charge of kids. Why didn’t you ever come up to Borderline Camp?

Because I hate Alaska. While we are on getting into trouble, is it true you once slept under a board bag in the Circus Circus parking lot to evade the law?

A lot of things happen on the road out of necessity. There’s a YoBeat link for that.

Was that the same trip you drove from Vegas to Bellingham, only stopping for breakfast at Huckleberry’s in Gov’y?

I don’t usually eat breakfast, but it sounds like something that we would have done back then.

lc8u7900

The Great White North. Photo: Alex Mertz

What did you get to eat and was it good?

Green eggs and ham, naturally.

Do you have any idea how far out of the way you drove for that delicious breakfast?

For green eggs and ham, How far did we stray?
That’s a fine question, ma’am. About too far I’d say.
… The missing verse.

How long did the trip take despite the detour?

That was a long time ago. 28 days? Or is that a movie?

20081213_geno_ak

Dropping! Photo: Yoshida

Which Genovese man is the most rowdy: you, your brother or your dad at your age?

My younger brother isn’t my age yet, so I guess it’s yet to be determined. When he catches up, I’ll let you know.

Despite all this rebellion and life on the edge, you manage to run a business. Why did you start Dinosaurs Will Die?

Why I started DWD… … someone had to do it?

What’s the story behind the name?

The name is a story. A very short story… 3 words to be exact. Where did YoBeat come from?

It’s what black people read. Fine you don’t want to give real answers so, are you the best Team Manager you’ve ever had?

Toughest and easiest all at once I’d say.

lc8u7927

Same obstacle, different use. Photo: Alex Mertz

Which is better, riding for a shop, or dealing with a shop as a company owner?

Maybe the latter.

How’s the “recession” affecting business?

Recess is a good break from the day.

How long before you sell out to the man? Why haven’t you already?

Who is this “man?” Don’t think I’ve met him yet.

How do you expel all your emo-ness? Is it easier to make sweet art when you are pissed?

Hard to get a straight line when you’re pissed. I’d say it seems easier at the time, but then you wake up, she’s ugly, you’re hung over, and the “sweet art” just lost its flavor. Sure, there are exceptions now and again, though.

20090215_geno_japan-2

Knees might also die. Photo: Yoshida

How long has it been since you showered?

I showered myself with the gift of a mocha this very morning.

Despite your stench, do you ever score because you “look like a Greek god with your dark curly locks?”

Sports aren’t easy, you can’t score goals on curly locks alone.

As a long time rocker of floppy top style, are you happy the reservoir tip is back in, or do you feel like everyone else is biting your style?

Condoms are back in style? That’s good. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

As one of the Canadian fuckers who drives down to track out Mt. Baker, I feel like the least you could do is share one secret stash. Directions, now.

I believe you once told me that one of your top days of snowboarding was with me, at Mt. Baker. I must have shown you a few then.

Touche. Aside from yourself, who are you riding for?

Dinosaurs Will Die, Hoven goggles, Elm, Think Thank, Birnie, 32/etnies, rvca, Coastal Riders

20090209_geno_japan-6

Product plug. Photo: Yoshida