Being a pro snowboarder (or athlete of any kind) may be the most temporary career there is. If you’re interested in job security, you’d be better off starting a print magazine or getting a job at GM these days. But Sean Tedore is a model of how to do it right, and use your sweet skills, contacts, and knowledge of snowboarding to transition from the limelight, to behind the scenes. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he also had a college degree when a knee injury all but ended his career. So from being a big part of the super influential Neoproto crew, to designing snowboards, Tedore was then, is now, and will be “living the dream” for years to come.
YoBeat: So do you prefer “washed up” or “has been?” I just want to make sure I get the verbiage right.
Sean Tedore: (Laughs) I would have to say Has Been. Washed up feels like I tried to milk it.
YB: And it’s better than never was, right?
YB: Now that that’s out of the way, how about a little history I guess. How long did you official career last?
ST: Not really sure. My first sponsor was Forum the year before they went to stores. Does that count?
YB: Yeah I suppose. Why don’t you give me total years of being a rad sponsored dude.
ST: I would guess maybe 8 years
YB: That’s a pretty legit career. I guess you probably were around a few years before Neoproto, eh?
ST: Yeah for sure. I tried to film for some of the Forum videos but got cut out. I also had some shots in 411 and some AOD videos.
YB: How did you go from the dude who’s shots got cut, to one of the best parts in one of the most influential videos of all time?
ST: (laughs) Really? Thanks for that. I have no idea, I guess you just grow up, get some confidence and naturally progress. Plus I worked at High Cascade Snowboard Camp for 8 years or so, as well as lived in Tahoe with a ridiculously good crew of snowboarders
YB: How did you get involved with Pierre and Justin?
ST: Pierre lived in Tahoe and was an up-and-coming filmer. He made a movie called Mixed Elements and I had the opportunity to film a bit with him. The summer following his movie, Kevin English, myself and some other shred kids including McKay, Hotel and Robbie Sell all wanted to make a movie. Pierre was our first choice and then Neoproto was born. It was a group thing that just kinda happened.
YB: Did you guys have any idea you’d make such a splash?
ST: Not at all. We just hoped people would like it, but Pierre and Justin killed it out right out the gate with an insane movie. We also had KingPin help back it, so that also helped.
YB: Ok so the video was an obviously highlight, but any other moments really stand out in your career?
ST: Well there was this one time at Superpark that is pretty vivid. It involved a very large jump, ice, a hangover and my knee exploding as I came up 10 ft short. Pretty gruesome.
YB: Yeah, I don’t know if that’s really a “highlight.”
ST: True, but it is a pretty big event in my life. There were tons of fun things that happened through out the years living in Tahoe. We had a fun group of kids to ride with. It was fun to see how all these kids we grew up shredding with became household names in the snowboard world.
YB: Did you grow up in Tahoe or just move there to be a bum?
ST: My mom actually got transferred to Reno from Iowa. That is how it all began. I feel like Tahoe is where I really grew up.
YB: Definitely easier to learn to snowboard in CA than IA!
ST: Oh man for sure, but there were a lot of good kids to come out of the Midwest. Even today some of the best kids grew up in the middle of the country.
YB: True. I think it’s all the ice, and the fact you have to learn to be really creative.
ST: For sure, tiny jumps, Ice and no vertical is really a challenge.
YB: So you have a degree in rocket science or something, right? When did you find the time to make that happen?
ST: I actually went to school at the same time that I was snowboarding so I had to figure out to balance it all. The good thing is that I lived in Tahoe and went to school Reno so I didn’t really have to travel a lot.
YB: Wow, you must be really smart — how long did it take you to get your degree?
ST: 7 years. Longer than normal but I was doing lots of things. Oh yeah and my degree is in Mechanical engineering.
YB: So you managed to keep the dream alive by getting an industry job. What happened that made you “move on” for lack of a better phrase?
ST: Well, the knee injury at Superpark definitely had a lot to do with it. That, and I my friend Ryan Runke, who was the K2 team manager at the time, told me about a snowboard design engineering position. I applied and it just so happens I was qualified for the gig.
YB: Was the transition hard to make, from living the dream to working a desk job?
ST: Not too bad. While snowboarding, one of the things I always wanted to do was design my own snowboard, now it’s my job. It’s pretty much the best job someone in my position could have. I love what I do. I still get to ride a lot, except now it’s called “testing.”
YB: Are you excited the NW finally got snow?
ST: Oh man it’s about time! I can’t believe that it’s Dec 15th and I still haven’t ridden my local mountain.
YB: Definitely a strange one. Are you used to the normal Seattle rain yet though?
ST: It was really hard converting from Tahoe where I would go to bed to a blizzard and wake up with 3 ft and not a cloud in the sky. Doing that for 10 years and then moving to the Northwest is tough, if you get on bluebird day a year you’re stoked!
YB: So where do you usually ride when you are home in Seattle?
ST: I really like to ride Alpental and Summit at Snoqualmie. They are super close and really fun. Steven’s Pass is pretty killer as well.
YB: What about who you ride with? Any one sweet?
ST: I mainly ride with my girlfriend. She rules, but sometimes I get to ride with the likes of Blue or Peter line. I spend a lot of time riding with all the K2 kids as well.
YB: Tell me about the special lady in your life. Is she more or less important than your dog?
ST: They are equal, I love them both very much.
YB: Is she going to be mad you said that?
Nah, cause she may love our dog as much, or more than myself. (laughs)
YB: I feel like I know Sir Winston, I mean, we are friends on Myspace. But tell the kids about him.
ST: Oh man, Winston is the coolest English Bulldog on the planet. He is an official Cobra Dog. He is 3 and weighs 70 lbs, but it’s all muscle I swear! He pretty much rules our lives, we are currently about to torture him and make him take a Xmas photo with an elf hat on.
YB: So since you are working on like, 2015 gear already, what does the future hold? Manmade powder?
ST: Manmade powder for sure. It’s already being done indoors. I think magnets are gonna play a big roll in the future, bindings are going to soon be obsolete. You know the fastest trains in the world are run on magnets.
YB: I didn’t know that.
ST: Yeah it’s crazy
YB: So what’s the future for Sean Tedore? Think you’ll make snowboards forever, or do you aspire to bigger things?
ST: I think I will eventually do something else, but snowboarding will be in my life for a long time to come.
YB: Anything else you want to say?
ST: I guess buy K2 boards and support my sweet designs.