Tricia knows pros! And loves America!
Your parents, and maybe even you, probably think snowboarding is a temporary thing. A fun thing to do when you’re young, before you grown up and get a real job. When Tricia Byrnes strapped on a snowboard way back when, she thought the same thing. But after 20 plus years, many of them competing regularly, Tricia finds herself as ingrained in snowboarding as ever. She’s edited magazines, been at every X Games, represented America as an Olympian and then some. The sport has literally grown up right along with her. Now this is not to say she’s old school — with her own company specializing in webcasts and of course, a blog, Tricia is as 2.0 as they come, but over the years she’s seen some stuff and done something things, and never lost her passion for just riding her snowboard.
How many snowboard contests have you done in your life?
Well let’s see, I competed in a snowboarding event pretty much every winter weekend and a few summer ones too for 20 years so you do the math…
Are there any that stand out as especially amazing?
As far as contests go, the 2002 Olympics kinda stands out in the way Olympics tend to stand out in a competitive career but also in an “I can’t believe snowboarding is a part of this” kinda way. Just for the simple fact that when I started snowboarding in ’89, I remember skiers mocking us and saying it would never be an Olympic sport and we honestly didn’t really care because snowboarding was so much fun, etc. And then 13 years later, to walk into Opening Ceremonies and to be one of the more anticipated events of the games was pretty awesome. Other than the Olympics, every US Open’s I’ve competed in (20…yikes) stands out in some way or another. Winning the Open in ’92 as a high school kid, enamored with all the pros was pretty awesome and convinced me that maybe I could go pro and compete with the rest of the girls. But really more than anything it was the spirit of the Open and the antics and parties and people that made it memorable, and the sense that as a collective group of snowboarders we were doing something, pushing the sport….maybe not me so much, but people I knew
What was your most ridiculous sponsor over the years?
Seriously Brooke!? Looking back I feel like all I had were ridiculous sponsors. I rode for an internet search engine at one point, Lycos, did a United Airlines campaign and rode for X-nix. I bet you don’t even know what that is but let me tell you it was big in Japan…..honestly.
The glory! US Open 1992.
Obviously snowboarding has changed a lot since you started doing it; what’s the best and worst difference from when you started to now?
Change is good and then change changes everything and you miss the good ol’ days which in reality might not have been as good as they are in your imagination. Anyway, the best part about snowboarding is that it’s fun and so it’s great that it’s accepted at resorts and there’s equipment for everyone to partake in it — women, children etc., but at the same time it’s turning into just another sport that regular people do without any knowledge of where it’s come and the work that went into making it accessible for your whiny kids who would rather ski because it’s easier. I don’t know if I answered your question but the best part is that we can make a living doing what we love or talking about it and have an amazing lifestyle and the worst part is that people have lost or never had soul in this modern day of shred. People sit out the Open and are “over it” and then their careers are over and they have that reality check of what it means to have a real job where people don’t kiss your ass or particularly care that you used to be good a sports.
What about the state of women’s snowboarding?
Women’s snowboarding, like men’s, is in a constant state of transformation and maybe they’re closing the gap a bit more than in the past with 9′s and 10′s and all that. But I think the best part about women’s snowboarding is that it’s not “women’s snowboarding,” it’s just snowboarding. At the beginning of my snowboarding career, people in the media and randoms would always ask “how does it feel to be in a man’s sport” and now no one would even think to ask that now because it’s not. It’s just a sport like any other that everyone does. They also used to ask me what I was going to do when I was done snowboarding aka grow up, but now thanks to Shaun White and the Olympics, it’s a viable career choice, although I am still wondering what I am going to do when I grow up.
Lots of pros!
How do you stay excited about pipe riding? Do you like how competitive it’s gotten?
I’m excited about pipe riding because I like the sport and the people in it, plus it’s pretty fun to watch. With the advent of the Olympics in snowboarding, it’s definitely changed the competitive landscape. The first few Olympics there was a sense of wariness about the relationship of snowboarding in the Olympics on both sides and now that it’s a part of the Olympic roster and history the whole competitive nature of the sport is changing and operating in four year cycles, which is I guess in inevitable and a little weird at the same time. Plus everyone gets so caught up in the Olympic fame that they lose sight of the community of snowboarding, so sometimes I am not a fan of the competitiveness. I liked the days when everyone cheered for everyone else, (which in all fairness might have only existed in my mind) it bums me out when everyone is in it for themselves and can’t share in the success in the sport unless they feel like they’re the ones creating it…
Why did you decide to move from whoring your own talents to whoring the talents of others?
I think one of my downfalls in the sport was not being able to whore myself out and maybe that’s why I’m still single too but I’m a really good cheerleader and so it was a natural transition to promote others over myself. And I was looking for a way to transition out of competing without walking away from my friends and lifestyle so when Octagon approached me with the opportunity to manage my friends and continue to work in the sport, it seemed like an obvious choice.
You were somewhat of a media mogul during your snowboard career. As a former mag editor (of Eastern Edge), what do you think about the print vs web debate? Are magazines dying?
Death seems so final and I definitely think there will always be a place for magazines and books and things you can hold in your hands in a tangible, real way. But obviously it’s a Darwin situation, a survival of the fittest or something, so the good and cool will survive, or I guess in this day and age, People magazine and US weekly will survive. In my own life, I went from running a magazine to running a webcast production company so maybe that says something about where I stand, or that fact that typos are more forgivable and fixable on the Internet then in print, who knows?
This is how Go211 got fans.
How did you get involved with Go211?
I’ve been really lucky with everything in my career, doors kind of just open and so Go211 spurred from my relationships in management and one thing lead to another and I was hired on as their editorial director/commentator/webcast monkey/athlete content manager.
You obviously had a good run with them, so why did you decide to move on?
I decided to move on from Go211 in October. They seemed to be changing their focus, less quality webcasts, especially in snowboarding, surfing and skateboarding, and it just no longer seemed like it was in alignment with my values. Plus, I love webcasting and want to do more of it so that’s why we decided to start a production company that focuses on live webcasting and video production.
Tricia’s teenage ago doesn’t like herself in spandex, but seriously, this photo says nothing but FAST!
What exactly are you up to now? Super agent, twitter mogul, radio host?
In classic Tricia fashion, I’m doing a little bit of everything and at the same time wondering what the fuck I’m doing with my life. What does that mean….well let’s see, I manage Kelly Clark, which does not make me a super agent but allows me to work with them….which is kinda scary, just imagine super agents and then me…different cloth. I also do social media management for some athletes, websites, blogs, tweets, etc and my main thing is that I just started a production company called WE Media Project and we focus on live webcasts, etc. This summer we’ll be producing the Zumiez Couch Tour and have big plans to take over the world in between doing all the other things we love. I’m also hoping to do a radio show in Aspen, talking shit and shop about Aspen antics but who knows…did I mention I blog? feelthebyrnes.com tee hee hee
How did you get so good at twitter? Don’t your hands get cold tweeting from the side of the pipe?
I love twitter…does that make me a twat? I hate that word. It’s the new way of talking to yourself. It makes you feel heard, like instead of road rage or bitching out a person, you just tweet it. Maybe it’s more like modern day prayer or complaining to cyber gods or people who really don’t care. Anyway, this winter without webcasts at events, I thought people might want to know the blow by blow of the events and it’s funny I’ve been told by some journalists that they follow my tweets to go back for specific tricks and what not. As far as cold fingers and dying batteries, I bring hot packs for Colorado events and that seems to do the trick, but this winter was so mild that my fingers didn’t really get cold…..ah global warming.
Do you ever feel guilty when ghost twittering for others? How do you sleep at night?
I don’t know what you’re talking about. A true ghost writer never admits to the people they haunt…or something like that. Oh wait I admitted it above. I do feel guilty and so I don’t respond to replies on twitter for the people I ghost tweet and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. I mean some people might be like “why doesn’t _____ respond to my fanning out tweets” but I feel it would be dishonest to do so, but who knows I might change my mind on that one. I try to keep it pretty generic so that people who actually know the person will figure it out, but there are definitely some awkward moments when people refer to something they learned/heard on my ghost twitterers account and I feel naughty. Oh well.
Do you have any aspirations to move away from snowboarding entirely or you think you’re a lifer?
I’m open to whatever happens but having a play-for-work lifestyle is important and snowboarding seems to understand that better than most. The word lifer sounds so lame but it’s a pretty good life and to most snowboarders we’re already are lifers at our age…..
When you started snowboarding, did you think it would take you as many places as it has?
No way, when I started snowboarding I just wanted to do something that seemed cool. It’s amazing how one decision in the base lodge of a mountain in between ms. pacman battles with your brother can change your life.
How many lifetime United miles do you have?
810,000 or something like that.
Of all the places you’ve been, which was your favorite?
A lot of places feel like home, which is nice when you travel a bunch. New Zealand has always done me right and not necessarily in regards to snowboarding, it’s a bit windy. Bali’s pretty sweet and Peru’s nice too, but I am really excited about my trip to Africa this fall, I’m hoping that’s one of my new favorite places.
Do you ever get sick of traveling?
Am I crazy? I love traveling and don’t really get tired of it. But we all travel so much to the same places all of them feel like they are home in a certain way and I honestly have more friends in other cities than I do in Aspen, so when I’m home I miss my friends. It’s kind of opposite to most people who travel.
Not to sound like your mom, but when are you gonna meet a nice man and settle down? Ha.
My Vegas psychic says by August, but I’ll keep you posted.
The good old days.
Follow Tricia’s adventures at feelthebyrnes.com or twitter.com/tbyrnes