Portland Oregon-Based Digital Media

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.

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photo Zimmerma/ That's It That's All

photo Zimmerman/ That's It That's All

Some pro snowboarders are dicks. Whether they are undeserving, cocky, or just unappreciative, this industry has more than a few people who need to go away. But Jake Blauvelt isn’t one of them. In fact, Jake is one of the people on the other end of the spectrum. He knows exactly how lucky he is to snowboard for a living, and has the talent and drive to make snowboarding even better. Jake has won contests, broken records, and put out insane video parts. But he is getting a YoBeat interview mainly because he is a cool dude, and we need more people like him in snowboarding.

YoBeat: So you really seem to like golf, what’s that all about?

Jake Blauvelt: Never golfed a full 18 holes in my life. Not even 9 for that matter. Hah.

Y: Weird. Well, how was it growing up in Utah, are you moron?
JB: I hope I’m not a moron, but if by moron you meant Mormon, no I am not Mormon.

Y: Wait, which Jake is this? Not Welch? Oh shit, sorry.
JB: Oooooo you got me! Good one.

photo Zimmerman/That's It That's All

Jake is better than you. photo Zimmerman/That's It That's All

Y: Does that happen a lot, what with you two riding on the same team with the same first name and all?
JB: It used to, but I think we’ve both developed our own riding styles over the last few years, so it’s a little easier for people to differentiate. And he goes by The Tugga Kid anyway. Yeah tugga! He’s the man. I was just shredding with him today out here in Montana. So fun.

Y: Hope you are not too offended to continue. I just thought that would be hilarious. So let’s get serious. What parts of snowboard history do you think are important for “this kids” to remember?
JB: Just for kids to respect snowboarding for what it is. It doesn’t always have to be some stunt man shit. Watch Craig Kelly’s Let It Ride and you see what I mean. That video got me pumped last year. I dunno that’s hard to put a finger on though as a whole.

Y: Why does it matter to know your history?
JB: So you can remember what style was and still can be.

photo Zimmerman/That's It That's All

Danger is Jake's middle name. photo Zimmerman/That's It That's All

Y: Do you ever get any flack for being a mountain academy kid?
JB: Not really. I went to the ghetto one up in Northern Vermont. My mom worked as the secretary so I could go to school there in exchange. I guess they’ve gotten a lot better in the past couple years though.

Y: Why is Northern Vt better than Southern VT (and remember I am from Killington)?
JB: Because we’ve got bigger, steeper hills for sure. Can’t argue with that fact.

photo Zimmerman/That's It That's All

Jakes on steroids. photo Zimmerman/That's It That's All

Y: Did growing up in VT prepare you for riding at Mt. Baker?
JB: Yeah, learning how to turn on ice back east helped a lot with board control and all. But Baker pow is a whole lot different then VT pow as I know you know.

Y: Why don’t you think Mt. Baker will blow up—beyond of course, what it has?
JB: Because people don’t really dare. The locals are awesome people up there, and they LOVE snowboarding, and if you get out of line they will be sure to put you in check. It’s rad. And the mountain is majority owned by a family, I think, so they won’t let it.

Y: So you hurt your shoulder and that’s why you’ve been laying low so far this season. What happened?
JB: Yeah I was out here in Montana for the first time this year about a month ago. I dropped a cliff to flat and put my back arm out and dislocated my shoulder. It’s the second time it’s happened. It happened one other time last year in December. I just have to keep the muscles around it super tight so they hold it in socket. I really don’t want to get surgery, but if it pops out one more time I think I gotta go under the knife.

photo Zimmerman/That's It That's All

Do you see a landing? Me neither. photo Zimmerman/That's It That's All

Y: Was your bitter defeat in the Banked Slalom really a good choice for your first deal back?
JB: Haha, do you think I was defeated? I thought I did all right. Haha. That’s the beauty of that race. It doesn’t matter, it’s just a bunch of homies. And the people that win are the guys that can really turn their boards like Temple and Terje. That contest would be sick to win some day.

Y: Does having freckles make it harder to snowboard?
JB: Ummmm… yyyeeeaaaahhhhhh rrriiiigggghhhhhttt…

Y: How did you get hooked up with forum? What do you think the future holds for the brand?
JB: I got hooked up by Dan MacNamara on the east coast. He got promoted to the big leagues at Forum and passed the good word along. As for the future of the brand, everyone is working very hard to keep producing top of the line equipment. I have been much more in the mix with product development, so it’s cool to have an idea and then be able to ride it. And with Burton backing everything, but keeping it totally separate, it’s nice.

photo Zimmerman/That's It That's All

Hey ladies. photo Zimmerman/That's It That's All

Y: Are you bummed you didn’t win whatever TWS award it was you were up for?
JB: No not at all. No one could really contend with Rice after his movie came out. He deserves all the credit. Rice is tight. If somehow I won VP of the year it would have been on a technicality, cause Rice filmed a whole video and not just a video part like everyone else. And for Rider of the Year, even to be nominated was crazy, and everyone knew who was gonna take that.

Y: What do you think of the amount of videos that come out a year these days?
JB: It’s cool to see different videos coming out. Gives the game variety for sure and puts kids out there. It’s definitely switching up the whole way snowboard videos are sold, but we just gotta change with the times I guess.

Y: What would make snowboarding better? (and don’t say nothing because you know there is something)
JB: Egos and shit like that. It’s snowboarding man.

Sequence: Zimmerman/That's It That's All

This is Jake doing a trick. Sequence: Zimmerman/That's It That's All

Y: What is the dumbest thing you have ever seen someone do on a snowboard?
JB: I don’t know…. I don’t wanna call anyone out. umm… no comment

Y: Boo. Well, if you could ride with one person, who would it be any why?
JB: I would really like to ride with Nicholas (Mueller) in the future. His riding is my favorite as of lately. Gigi too. I can’t put my finger on it, but they look like they’re having so much fun when they’re shredding, ya know?

Y: Can you believe you get paid to snowboard?
JB: I know it’s a trip right? Especially with the economy and all, I feel like I’ve got it really well compared to a lot of the nation, and I just gotta remind myself to not take it for granted and appreciate every bit.

Y: What is the one story (so far) you will insist on telling your grand kids?
JB: The story of my drive with Danger Dave straight from Vermont to Copper, Colorado nonstop to go shredding for opening day. One hell of a drive I’ll tell you what.

Y: When this snowboard business is over, what are you going to do?
JB: Damn good question. I’d like to start a business but not until I’m really passionate about something. But right now I just want to focus on shredding and getting better and riding better terrain.

photo Zimmerman/That's It That's All

Soul shred. photo Zimmerman/That's It That's All