Portland Oregon-Based Digital Media

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The top of the podium is a nice place to be.

Despite boyish good looks and solid snowboard skills, JJ Thomas has never been a Danny Kass or Shaun White type. He’s always been good, but just lacking that hype that creates true snowboard sensations. Maybe that’s why when JJ ended up in a 3-way tie for the 4th US Olympic team slot this year, it was labeled as a comeback. Of course, he’d spent the past few seasons filming, not pipe jocking, but if you’re not at every Burton-sponsored pipe fest every year, you must be washed up right? Over the years though, one place JJ tops the charts in snowboarding, is being a good sport. After all, some ten years ago he kicked off my snowboard journalism career by going on a “dream date” with me for my Snowboarder Magazine internship. And ten years later, he’s still winning contests and having fun snowboarding, even if he didn’t quite get the chance to go for gold in Vancouver.

So, you just won the Dew Tour and the Aspen Open… how does victory taste?

It tastes like Coors Light and filet mignon.

Did winning the Dew Cup make not quite making the Olympic team any better?

Yes it helped… it was a nice band aid.

How much did you win? What are you gonna spend the money on?

I think I won 40k that night. I think I’ll buy a summer’s supply of pizza and ice cream with it.

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Triple overhead. Photo Seth Hill

Are you pissed they picked a no-name kid over you for this year’s Olympics? Why do you think the reasoning behind it was?

I was mad for a day or so, but I’m over it. He rode well and out tricked me, so he deserves it.

Given the sorry state of the Olympic pipe, any predictions on what might go down? Are you a little glad you don’t have to try and ride it?

Yeah, when you have a pipe that is kind of crappy it evens the playing field a lot. I’d say anything could happen. I still think it’s Shaun’s to lose, but I could see Kazu doing well, or maybe some Euro dudes sneaking in and doing well, especially if the pipe is shitty.

You’re still an Olympian though… Are there any perks to the title? Did you ever get laid, or treated to anything nice because of your bronze medal?

HA! Yeah it’s cool. I mean I get free entry fees to the Grand Prix and yes, I still get lucky sometimes and manage to get laid.

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Even pipe jocks have fans! JJ’s Stepdad Bob and YeaNice teamrider Gabe.

How do you feel about being labeled a pipe jock?

I embrace it.

Do tight pants might it harder to ride halfpipe?

No, it makes you more faster. I think in the future we will all be wearing racing suits to get more speed.

You’ve had a fairly long career, and this year it seems like you’ve proved it’s not over yet. Why do you think companies don’t seem to realize you are amazingly marketable?

I like snowboarding and I still like to compete so that’s why I choose to keep doing it. I think getting written off in snowboarding is a common thing. Situations like that can also breed success. At the end of the day it’s just how you choose to take it and deal with it. You can use it to fuel your fire or you can let it bring you down.

Couldn’t you sell snowboards on your good looks alone? I mean, Zach Leach did it for years.

I’m not sure what sells boards anymore. I think it’s all about coming out with a sweet gimmick and then marketing the hell out of it.

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Getting Xtreme. Photo Zach Hooper

How long did it take to live down being named the “cutest boy in snowboarding” in 1999?

I think I shook that in ’02 or so.

Why do you think having people call you Jarrett didn’t catch on?

JJ it is. Unless my Mom is yelling at me.

Why did it take you so long to start concentrating on filming video parts?

I got into filming when I was burnt out on contests. Then I got burnt out on filming, so now I like competing again. Let’s be honest though, filming doesn’t really pay the bills, unless you’re Travis Rice.

Anything video-wise in the works for this season?

Bluebird movie!

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JJ knows famous people like Jeff Brushie, Tim Windell and his coach Ben Boyd.

Do you have a “retirement plan?” Perhaps get into boardercross?

No Boarder x for this guy.

How can you stand living in Summit County? Do you still summer in SoCal?

Summit County is great! I stay in Breck when I’m up there and then on days off I stay with my parents down in Golden. It’s a good winter set up. And yes, I still live in Southern California. I still live in the same town where we went out on that awkward date 10 years ago.

If you could be a pro surfer, but would never be allowed to snowboard again, would you do it?

No way. I like snowboarding way too much.

What about a pro golfer? (No guarantees your career wouldn’t pull a Tiger Woods either, and no more snowboarding, ever.)

Now this is a tough one… Golf is too hard though. I’d make myself go crazy and then I would probably pull a “Tiger Woods” too. I mean If I had millions riding on my golf swing, I’d do some stupid shit too.

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Flying high in the Colorado sky. Photo Zach Hooper


How is your music career going? Are you super famous in the free internet download world these days?

Yes , we rule the world or free downloads! Who pays for music these days anyways.

Thanks, shout outs, sponsor plugs?

Thanks to my sponsors. Oakley,Vitamin Water ,YeaNice, Tactics, Unity, Breckenridge, Celtek, Bluebird.  Thanks to anyone who reads this, and thanks to you Brooke for continuing to write about snowboarding for a very, very long time. Peace and love to all !!!!

Check out all of JJ’s projects:

www.yeanice.com
www.milehisound.com
www.celtekclan.com

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We’ve got Olympic fever and it’s mostly cause Scotty Lago made the team. Not only is he a good ol’ New England boy, but he’s down for a good time, even while trying to make Team USA. If anyone can show the world what snowboarding is really about (hint: not double corks) it’s Scotty.

As the only Frend on the Olympic team, do you think not being on a Burton board had anything to do with you making it?

Naw, hahaha, but being the only one from the crew gives me more motivation to go and shred it

So given Kevin and Danny’s untimely injuries, did that help motivate you to get it done?

For sure it did! I’m super bummed on the injury status, and I just feel bad for em. I’ll try my best to hold it down, though.

What’s your take on your lumber jack outfit, I mean, uniform?

hahaha I love it…They wont let me drop in with my chain saw for the Olympics, so that kinda sucks.

Do you plan on doling out high fives at the Games like you did on your final run at the Park City Grand Prix?

Possibly, I had nothing to lose. If a kid can get through the insane security at X I’ll give him a hug, too.

Do you think with all the hype around the US guys, there might just be a Euro or Japanese kid waiting to come out of the woodwork and crush everyone?

Yup! There are a lot of contenders out there: Finland, Japan, Switzerland will all do well. I just hope we do better.

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Are you at all concerned about the lack of snow at the Olympic venue?

Not really, I’m pretty sure they will get it done when it comes time…but it has definitely crossed my mind.

How does it feel to be the official “snowboarder’s snowboarder” on the Olympic team?

I think I know what that means, haha. I just wish Danny was there with me too.

People seem to think you don’t train as much or as vigorously as some of the other riders because you like to party. Is that true, are you just that much better than everyone else?

I’m good…I’m real good, haha. No, I party when the time is right.

How did you manage to make the Olympic team without your own private pipe?

Because there was three more spots left on the team, haha

What’s more motivational for you: representing your country, or the opportunity to beat Shaun White out of a gold medal?

Representing the country! I’m a patriotic kid and I’m proud to rep. Beating shaun does not motivate me at all really. It motivates him though, maybe that’s why he’s the best..hhhhmmmm

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Special thanks to Grenade TM Jordan Brown for the photos and making the interview magic happen.

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For all this talk about how little we care about the Olympics and what not, we’ve really been paying pretty close attention to it. When the team was officially announced on Monday we realized that maybe we are even a little bit psyched to see how big of a junk show Vancouver 2010 really ends up being (or not.) It also doesn’t hurt that a decent portion of team USA are not just lame pipe jocks, but snowboarders we actually kind of like. And since we could, we figured some quick, EXCLUSIVE interviews were in order (but only with the people we care about.) First up, Louie Vito.

Which experience is more pressure-filled: Dancing with the stars, or going to the Olympics?

Dancing for sure.  I mean, every week I had to go out in outfits that I wasn’t the most comfortable in, doing a dance I had no confidence in, in front of a live audience, spotlight, judges who I knew would rip me apart, and 22 million viewers a week.  Snowboarding, I’m wearing what I want, doing what I know how to do, so that’s a lot easier for me.

Will Chelsie be coming to Vancouver with you?

haha not too sure about that.

Do you follow the chatter on the DWTS message boards? Has your super-fame affected your journey to the team at all?

No, I don’t mess with those message boards.

Did your dance training help you with your double corks?

haha, Richards says I am air dancing now, so maybe.

Are you sick of talking about DWTS yet?

haha, it’s funny because it always comes up no matter what interview I am doing.

Your boss, Todd Richards, got 14th on his trip to the Olympics. Does the idea of besting his finish add any additional pressure or motivation?

Motivation for sure.  I would love to better his finish but then again, if they judged like they do now on the best run format, he would have won.

Are you at all nervous about having him announce the contest and what he might say about you, knowing all your secrets and what not?

I have known Todd for a long time.  No matter what the situation is, being on TV or not, I know there is a good chance he is going to say something to make fun of me.

Aside from getting to go to the Olympics, what’s the best part about making the team?

Just making it.  It was definitely a goal of mine and I think it’s harder to make it than to do well.  I just wanna enjoy everything and the experience.

Did you hear IPOD claimed is he going to crush Shaun on Swiss tv, do you think there’s any weight to his claims?

Did he really say that?? Let’s be realistic here.

What’s more motivational for you: representing your country, or the opportunity to beat Shaun White out of a gold medal?

Representing the USA.  I just wanna go there and land a run.  If I do that then I will be stoked!

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Special thanks to Jordan Brown from Grenade for the photos and making Louie answer our completely ridiculous questions.