Danner big thanks!

I recently had the chance to be included in a new web project backed by Danner the classic shoe company. Last year on a trip to Alaska I happen to buy a pair of Danner shoes. They are my go to work boots around the house! Now it looks like I am going to get a new pair or stylish boots that can be worn out to dinner. Stoked. Check out the short interview

Click this link to check out the website or Danner
Danner photo

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Greenpeace in action

Great interview with Greenpeace concerning the continuing disaster in Fukushima. This guy knows his stuff and talks it straight. This is not the only report that has said it, but it is becoming rather apparent that Japan is handling this disaster far worse that Russia did back in 1986 with Chernobyl. Kind of hard to believe but looks to be true. This is well worth watching.

Niseko Powder life

Posted this a few days ago on my Honeyee.com blog, but wanted to make sure it got on the life blog as well. Big thanks to Niseko Powderlife magazine for including me in their new issue! Chief editor Lizzy was nice enough to contact me about doing an interview. She had some good questions and I did my best to answer honestly. The publication is in Japanese and English so everyone can read it. If you are not in the Niseko area you can read the whole magazine on line here.

I was also very happy to get a cover shot along with the interview. A photo from my book BLUETiFUL that I shot about 10 years ago at Asahidake. Yamauchi Kazushi.

Thanks again and look forward to see the Niseko crew in the new year!

Burton interview series part 2

Thanks for all the nice comments about the Kevin Pearce interview I posted on the blog last week. Glad to see that people are taking the time to read it!

Time for the next one in the Burton interview series. Up next is Donna Carpenter, Jake Burton’s wife and lifelong working partner in Burton Snowboards. I was able to sit down with her for about 30 minutes at their home in Vermont the day of the fall bash. The Fall Bash is a huge party that the Burton family throws at their house every year for about 1500 people. Donna was amazingly calm for someone who is about to have 1500 people show up at her house in a few hours. After chatting about all things snow related, I asked if she had a favorite spot around the house where we could take some portraits. Right away her answer was “the tree house.” She told me how she had always wanted a tree house, so when the Burton family went on their around-the-world tour for a year, Jake arranged to have one built. When they got back it was ready and waiting! The portrait shoot was a rather rushed affair, but thanks to choosing a location Donna liked, she was relaxed and gave me a great smile.

This interview was translated into Japanese and used in an issue of Trans-World Japans Snowgirls special issue. It was very much edited down in Japanese to less than one page. I think it deserves to be shown in full here. Enjoy.

Neil: How did you get involved in Snowboarding?

Donna: I met Jake at a bar on New Years Eve! (laughs)

N: Is that really true?

Yes, it is really true. It was 1981 and I was up in Vermont skiing. I was living in New York city, and when he said his name was Jake and he was making something called a snowboard, I thought I am from New York and I am way too cool for this guy. But something happened and I found myself living in Vermont a year later. Then I wasn’t planning on getting involved in the business, but right after we got married we talked about moving to Europe for a year. We had both spent like a year abroad traveling in Europe and we were both really interested in more traveling. We wanted to do that before we had kids. Jake was also at the point where he was making the transfer to making the boards in Europe.

When I met Jake the boards were just a piece of wood with some rope and two fins. Jake was really interested in applying ski technology to the boards. So he thought he could go over there and work on that. I was able to get a job in Austria with a university.

Before we left, Jake asked me to take a look at some paperwork coming in from Europe and next thing I knew I was setting up a sales office and telling the university that I couldn’t work. From there it was amazing how quickly it all grew during that time in Europe. In total we stayed four years. So I met Jake in 1981, we were married in 1983, and we left for Europe in 1984. We really wanted to go there before we settled down too much.

N: From your experience in Europe, and now you also are covering Asia, how have things changed in these very different markets over time?

D: One of the major changes for Europe over the years has been the opening of the Eastern Block. I remember when I was there we used to have kids from Eastern European countries write asking us to send them stickers and catalogs because they could not get any information. Nothing was allowed through the “Iron Curtain” back then. Before the EU, the borders were very distinct, so even to get something from Austria to Germany was an ordeal. So with the “walls” coming down you are seeing less isolated cultures, things are influencing other areas, the East is influencing the West, etc., so it is interesting to watch. Europe continues to have a strong alpine mountain culture.

Concerning Asia, I have always been familiar with the Japanese market, but this is the first time I’m really getting involved on a company level. So once I have it all figured out, I will let you know, ha ha (laughing) No just kidding. Personally I love Japan, so it is great for me.

It is a more mature market with an aging demographic and right now I think we have to figure out a way to get more young people excited about the sport. Just like a generation ago when there was such a huge boom in snowboarding in Japan.

One thing that is different about Japan is that there really isn’t an action sports culture there. In Europe, the US, and even Australia, you will see a lot of people wearing clothes with action sports branding, but you don’t really see that in Japan. So that is the challenge, how to make snowboarding exciting and a part of people’s lives in a culture that is not focused on action sports.

Of course I love the excitement and devotion that Burton fans show us in Japan.

N: How long have you been in charge of Asia?

D: It has been six months, and I will be going to Japan again in just a few weeks time.

N: Do you have any advice for women selecting hard good products.

D: I think that a lot of women ask me about specific products for women, and I have to say it really does make a difference. It is not a cosmetic thing. Burton spends a lot of time with our team riders in developing product that is going to work for women. So I do recommend women’s specific products. Sometimes, I ride a guy’s board, but I think the most important thing is women’s specific boots. If I can give girls one piece of advice, it would be to find a pair of boots that really work for your feet. Bindings are important too, but most important is boots.

Then I would say try different things, because I think we get afraid to change things. We get one board with one stance and we stick with that because we are used to it. I was guilty of that for years, but now I find that if I try a different board or maybe change my stance my riding will keep progressing.

N: What are the good points and bad points of being a female snowboarder?

D: I cannot think of any bad points. At my age, it is cool to be the mom out there riding. Everybody says “wow your mom can ride!” At every stage in my life I have found it to be nothing but positive.

There were downsides before we started making women’s specific products. My feet would hurt, because I was wearing men’s boots, the bindings never quite fit right, but now we have a set up designed for us so it makes it easier.

N: Can you tell me about the “Women’s Leadership Movement?”

D: Yes this is something that I started about six years ago right after we came back from our around the world trip. Snowboarding as a sport, snowboarding as an industry and Burton as a company is rather male dominated. What I have always found really interesting is that the percentage of participation by women in snowboarding is 30%, and for a long time the same held true for the percentage of female employees at Burton.

So I think you really need to be more proactive about recruiting women, retaining them and advancing them within your organization. We didn’t start out that way though, in the beginning we probably had more women in manager positions then men. Then what happens is you grow very quickly. So you are recruiting people from other sports like skateboarding, surfing and skiing which are all very male dominated industries. So all of a sudden we found ourselves with a kind of male culture. I think it was Jake who was in a global directors meeting. There were 20 people in the room and there were only three women, and he said, something is wrong here! I think he had a real instinct that when you don’t have diversity you can get stuck, you lose the innovation.

So Jake asked me to come in and work on this problem. I thought it would be a short term project, but it has turned into a much longer passion. We are looking at how we could get more women into the organization. Then we had to create maternity programs and flex programs. We were investing in women right up until the peak of their career in their 30’s, and then they were leaving when they had children and they wouldn’t come back. So we have done a lot of work around that.

Originally this program was only going to be an internal initiative, but it was Jake who said it should grow beyond that. Burton has been making products for women from the very beginning; the US Open has always been equal prize money from the beginning. The X-Games just changed two years ago, so I think Burton was really progressive in that way.

I realized early on that the people in the office making the decisions about product and marketing have the biggest effect on what the end result looks like. In the beginning the women’s line was just a part of the men’s line. One of the big things to come out of this initiative was to divide into a men’s and women’s creative group.

For example, take the outer wear. Originally we were just taking a men’s jacket and making it a little smaller and changing the color. (Laughs)

Burton has such a great process with the team on the men’s side, but we just weren’t using it on the women’s side. So we had to create that process of working with our women’s team to build the needed product from the ground up.

N: So you have seen big changes?

D: Huge changes. The outerwear has changed so much for the better, plus we have more women at the director level of the company, and the market has grown for us globally. I think that does help keep a company fresh, but we still have a lot of work to do.

One of the great things that came out of this program is our mentor program. We learned that women really crave a mentor in the company. So we created this mentor system and it has been recognized nationally. It was so successful with the women that we expanded it to all employees. It is the same with all the changes to the maternity system. Now we give men paternity leave and they love it. So it has helped the whole company.

So MY goal is to have 51% of the employees be women and 51% of the sales be to women!

N: If you had not met Jake, how do you think your life would have turned out?

D: I can’t even imagine it. In college I was majoring in International Relations and I knew that I wanted to do something internationally, and I have always been passionate about helping women and girls. So I have been able to transfer that to what I am doing today. So I don’t even want to think about life without Jake!

N: Japan has a lot of domestic brands who build their women’s teams based not on riding skills, but more on looks. How do you feel about this?

D: All I can say is I am glad that Burton uses real team riders! (laughing) For me it is really important that women drive women’s snowboarding. We are the ones who need to decide what is cool or core for us! And that might be different from the guys. I can remember even ten years ago we were starting to make some cool women’s product, but our women’s team was not wearing it. So I asked our women’s team, why are you wearing an XL black jacket with baggy pants and they said, “when you play with the big boys you have to look like the big boys.”

Now that is changing, there is a whole new generation of female snowboarders who are defining what’s cool and what’s right for them and how they want to look on the mountain. So it is important for me to use real team riders to get that message across rather than models. That has always been our philosophy; the riders are driving the sport.

N: Is there a team rider you are really excited about?

D: I love all of them and for the last three years there has been a real team spirit and that is what I really love. At the Olympics, it was great watching Hanna and Kelly support each other. They are real friends; you don’t see that in other sports. In women’s skiing there was a public fight going on between the two main athletes. What I love about snowboarding and our team is how much they support each other, and how happy they are when the other does well.

You see the same thing on the men’s side with the Frends crew; I think it’s just the mentality of the sport.

N: Do you have any message for Japanese snowboarders?

D: Get out there and ride! I think Japan has some of the most amazing mountains and great terrain. Whenever we ask a team rider where their favorite place to ride is they say Japan. And seven years ago when we took a year off to travel around the world, I asked Craig’s wife to come with us for part of the trip. I said where do you want to go, anywhere in the world, and she said Craig always talked about Japan, so I want to go there. You have something really special in Japan, so get out there and ride and appreciate what you have.

N: The snow girl readers might not get to the mountain many times each season, what do you say to that type of rider.

D: I would say keep doing it as much as you can. It is hard when you are working, or you have kids, and if your life is in the city, it is hard to get away. But even if you are only going a few times that is great. I would say to those people be aware that your equipment is even more important. Make sure you are comfortable and warm so that you can have a good experience.

Kevin Pearce interview English version

This is the English version of the KP interview that is being featured in this months Trans-World Japan.  The magazine did the translation and editing, this is the raw English text that I wrote.  So there might be some slight differences if you were to compare both.  Big thanks to Kevin for letting us visit and chat!

On December 31st 2009 while practicing at a half-pipe in Park City Utah Kevin Peace hit his head just above his right eye.  He was knocked unconscious and sustained a TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury.  Any hope of competing in the Olympics was lost, now it was just a matter of survival.  Nine months later KP is back home and well on the road to a full recovery.  Trans-World has arranged for me to meet and interview this star of snowboarding.  How has he been affected, will he snowboard again, does he even remember the accident?  These are the questions on my mind as the fall colors whiz by my window.

A two hour drive into the Vermont country side ends in the middle of green fields and classic New England style barns.  Our navigation system has given up with the simple statement “you have arrived at your destination”  but there is no house in site.  Just then a truck pulls up and a smiling man in his 50’s leans out the window. “Hey are you here to meet Kevin?  I am his father Simon, he is waiting to see you guys at the house just down this road”  He points down a long driveway.  Kevin’s father is a well known artist who runs a company that makes pottery and glassware.

Ten minutes later we are all sitting in the spacious living room of Kevin’s family house.  His older brother Adam is there as well and his Mother Pia takes a moment to serve coffee and show us some pictures from Kevin’s injury and hospital time which she has gathered into a file folder.  There is a picture of Kevin moments after the accident, laying at the bottom of the pipe. Unconscious, his face already starting to swell.  It is a hard picture to look at, but it does show how far Kevin has come in the last few months.

Kevin yawns occasionally while we talk at the coffee table in his house.  He is not tired or bored though. The yawning is a natural side effect from the brain injury. A way for the brain to get the extra oxygen it requires. If you didn’t know that Kevin had a TBI you would never guess by looking at him.  He looks fine, but he is still suffering from side effects.  Eye sight is an issue, his focus is good now, but he sees everything in double vision.  The stylish Volcom eyeglasses he has on are affixed with a special film on the right eye that fixes the double vision.  Balance is another issue, and of course memory loss is a common side effect of brain injuries.  I had met KP in Japan a few times, the last being the X-Trail Jam contest in the Tokyo  Dome.  I had a feeling he didn’t remember me, so I decided to start off the interview about his general memory of Japan.

N:  Do you remember your filming trip to Hokkaido with Absinthe crew?  And how about the contests Toyota Big Air and X-Trail Jam?

K:  If people bring something up I can remember it, but if no one says anything about it, I can’t remember it.  I can remember that contest pretty well, the Toyota Big Air.  And I can remember that pow trip because it was with Nicolas and it was so much fun, but if it is stuff that I don’t really care about, then I don’t remember it.

Like the other day we went in to see this eye doctor, maybe about two weeks ago, or maybe about a month ago, and I didn’t really like her that much.  We didn’t get along that well.  We went back a week later and I didn’t remember her at all, like nothing.  Then my Mom was acting like she really knew her and I said, Mom how do you know this lady?  And she said, “we were in here last week”, and I am like, wow I don’t remember that at all.

N: So if you’re not passionate about it then it doesn’t stick in your memory?

K:  Totally, riding with Nicolas was so fun and crazy for me that I totally remember it.

N:  What about childhood stuff, what can you remember from your youth?

K:  It is kind of the same situation really, if someone brings stuff up I can remember it, but nobody has really brought that stuff up.

Adam:  You can remember all the high school soccer games and stuff.

K: Oh yeah I remember all that. and when we used to have that sand… what was it called.

Adam: Sandbox

K: Yeah that sandbox out there, (Kevin points to outside the house) I remember playing in that, but we were pretty young then.  I remember that stuff.  And like mowing the lawn I was really big into that.  How old was I when I was doing that?

Mother Pia:  Probably like 6 or 7

K:  I was talking to my dad the other day about the lawn mower, and I said do you remember when I was too light for the seat and it wouldn’t work?  you have to be a certain weight for it to run.  I remember that stuff.

Pia:  This is off the topic, but do you remember your one Japanese fan who sends you all the candy.  What are those candies called… something chews?

K:  Hi-chu’s!  They are my favorite candy ever.  She asked me if she could send me something and I said oh yeah!  Her name is Yayoi.  She is like a super fan.  She even made the Hi-chu package with a “Frends” logo!  I would show you, but we ate them really quickly.

N:  We know that you don’t have any memory of the actual accident, but what is the last memory you do have.

K:  I think it was the day before the accident, no I think it was two days before because Jack’s birthday is the 29th or is it the 30th.  It happened on the 31st right?  His birthday was the night before the accident and I totally remember that, just because that was a pretty big occasion and important occasion for me so I remember going to the bar, I totally remember that.  The first bar we were at was so crowded we were not into it, so we left that one and went to another bar and it was totally empty and you had to pay to get in and then we had this dance party there and I totally remember that really well and that was the last memory I have.

Luke Mitrani told me that we played rock scissor paper to see who went first and I lost so I went first, but I have no remembrance of that at all.  Nothing of that day and for a month and half after that.

N: So what is your first recollection after that?

K:  It was getting on an airplane leaving Salt Lake City going to Craig Hospital in Denver and I remember them taking me in the ambulance on a stretcher to the airplane.  He (Adam) sat in the front next to the pilot.

Adam: It was a medical plane

K:  it was really loud and loud noises didn’t work really well for me and I remember the flight attendants were really annoying and I was dealing with them thinking, God this is really not fun.  That was my first memory.  I don’t remember at all being in Park City in Salt Lake.  So that is pretty weird.

N:  Did you even know where you were going?

K:  I think they all told me where I was going right? (asking Adam)

Adam:  Yes but you were still not functioning enough to really know what was going on.

K:  It is weird because I remember feeling really fine.  I felt like I could do anything, I felt like I could walk, but I couldn’t walk.  I would always try to get out of my bed at this hospital called Craig to try and go to the bathroom, and they would tell me no you can’ t walk yet.

N:  So what was the first stages of rehab for you when you got to Craig hospital, do you remember?

K:  You know that is weird, I don’t really remember that stuff. do you? (to Adam)

Adam: Yeah it was like starting learning how to walk, how to get up out of a wheel chair.

K: I was in a wheelchair for a while right?  Like three weeks.

Adam: After the walking came the whole balance thing, a lot of balance work. that was the main focus in the beginning.

K:  We did that for a while and my balance was really bad, like really really bad.  I would walk down the hall and look either way and fall over just from that.  But it is crazy now to see how good my balance has gotten.  It is totally crazy to see how much better I am getting.  It is happening pretty fast.

Another part of the brain I messed up makes time go really slow.  Like crazy slow, weeks feel like months, you know a lot of stuff has changed in the last nine months, but that hasn’t.  A nights sleep, you know how they go like that (snaps finger). A night takes forever, it is so weird.

N: Are you waking up a lot at night?

K: Not a lot. I will get up like once to go to the bathroom, but I have always been a deep sleeper. I have always slept really well so that hasn’t changed.

N: So it is kind of like slow motion?

K: Yeah totally.

N: What about the day time.

K: It is pretty weird because the days go really slow too, because like we went to Idaho for this Nike trip and it was a ton of fun, so I thought that would speed things up, but it really didn’t it still went pretty slow, which is kind of cool because we were having so much fun.

N: What about your daily routine now that you are home.

K:  Yeah there is a daily program, but as you can see I am not doing anything today because I am hanging out with you guys, so it has mellowed out a lot.  When I was in Craig, the rehab hospital, I would do rehab from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, 7 days a week, never a break, never time off, never anything.  That was pretty crazy doing it that much, I never tried to rebel against it or say I wasn’t going to go.  Now back here at home it is usually like once a day.

Adam:  He does occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy so it can be three classes a day.

K: Yeah three classes a day and he comes to all of them with me so that is fun, just to have someone I like to be there is great.  Adam drives everywhere.

Adam:  Kevin is still working on a lot of balance stuff and just getting stronger.

K: A lot of cognitive stuff, just getting the brain working, trying to remember things, my memory is still really bad, so just trying to work on that, a lot of stuff.

It is obvious that Kevin has lost a lot of his memories even from his childhood. He remembers events of importance but has trouble to remember the order things happened. When we spoke about his trip to Japan he remembers the ASAHIDAKE trip because he had so much fun riding powder with Nicolas Muller, but he doesn’t remember much about the Toyota Big Air contest right after that filming trip. It strikes me how selective the human memory can be.  Kevin remembers playing in a sandbox with his brothers, but he has no trouble with his favorite Japanese candy, Hi-Chu’s”.  Obviously fun memories seem to have stayed with him much more.


N:  So this is a new house for you, you just moved in here.

K:  No this is the house we started in, we lived here until I was in third grade.  My brothers and I are all Dyslexic.  My Dad is dyslexic, our older brother Andrew is dyslexic and then David the one in between me and Adam has downs syndrome.  So the school here was not good at all and our mom was really into getting us into a good school, so we moved about 20 minutes away where “the barn” is and that is where we have been for the last 15 or 20 years.  We weren’t really into moving, but then when we did we were really happy over there.  As you can see here we are really in the middle of nowhere and there we are right in town.

At this point we decide to go visit “The Barn” where the brothers all grew up together.  I climb into the back of Adam’s truck for the 15 minute ride to their former house.  There is a single story family house and separate from that is a large converted barn.  Originally part of a farm, the barn was still filled with hay when they moved in. Soon they had built a loft and three separate bedrooms for the brothers. The walls are covered in a variety of snowboard related gear and memorabilia. Classic snowboards including Kevin’s very first snowboard a custom creation from Jake Burton himself. There are lots of banners from a selection of contests like the US OPEN.  Kevin tells me how most of the banners were snatched on late night missions under cover of darkness with a pair of scissors. After many years of snatching banners, Burton finally just started giving them the big banners outright. Now with all the brothers grown and Kevin’s injury to deal with, the barn and house have been sold. All their stuff still sits there but it is a matter of time before they have to take those banners down and box everything up. The brothers look a little sad as they walk around the barn. Obviously there are uncountable memories they will be leaving behind. Then again Kevin has already left a lot of memories behind.

N: Obviously you have had an amazing amount of support from your family, what are your memories of your brother being with you at the hospital.

K:  Yeah I think I have had so much support from all the fans of course but even more than that is the amount of support I have had from my family.  They have been with me everyday, somebody was with me everyday at the hospital.  They have taken a few days off, but that is it.  The hospital food wasn’t very good so they brought me dinner and lunch every night, so that was amazing for me.  I have a lot of good memories because Adam and me get along so well that it has been cool to have him there with me the whole time.

I am also very close with my parents so that has been super nice to have them around, I am glad we don’t argue and stuff.  I think that is the main part of why I am doing so well right now and why I feel so good.  Some of my fondest memories of Adam are of all the therapies I go to with him.  Everyday he is taking me to some kind of therapy.  He does the physical therapy with me and the cognitive therapy with me.  He kind of sits in on all of them with me and it makes it so much more fun for me.

N: You got the buddy system going on.  Were you guys always close or did you fight as kids.

K: No we have always been tight, but this has brought it to a whole new level.

N: How about the Frends crew, you guys are a very tight crew.

K:  Yeah we still are super tight, but it has been kind of hard for them because they are super busy and traveling a lot, but they definitely came and hung out with me a bunch but they have been so busy.

Adam:  I think it was hard too because at the time when Kevin got hurt snowboarding season was full on and Kevin never really got to witness how much support and energy they were bringing to him and that was really good to see.

N: What did you think of the whole “I ride for Kevin” thing.

K: Yeah that is just crazy how much that has caught on and how many people know about that.  We would be driving around Denver and we would see stickers on the back of people’s cars.  That was the craziest thing how big that has become and how much people are still into it.  It is almost like Lance Armstrong’s “Live Strong” thing  Not even close to that big, but it has caught on in the same way.

Now the next thing is to make a documentary about it all I think that is going to be really awesome to get those pictures out and to show people what really happened and why they have been helping me in such a big way.  Because unless you have had a traumatic brain injury or have witnessed something like that you have no idea what I have been through.  I look so good now, it is hard to believe that all these people are still supporting me and they have no idea what really happened.  Everyone knows I got in a very serious accident and almost died, but besides that…

I have seen at some of the contests at the bottom of the pipe everyone had some kind of sign about me and that was really cool to see.

N:  So you do remember watching the Olympics?

K:  Yeah I do remember that,  You know how I talked about remembering stuff that matters to me, and obviously that was a monumental moment for me.

I remember watching the Olympics on TV and that was really hard for me but it was cool to see how well Scotty did, and it was such a crazy contest it was cool to watch.


N: So what hit you when you walked in the door here at home,  and how have you changed in the last 5 months since you got home.

K:  You know that is the crazy thing because I feel exactly the same as when I got home.  I can’t tell that I am getting better.  People who come and see me and then come back three weeks or a month later with say, “oh my God Kevin has changed so much”.  But it is so weird for me because I don’t feel like I have changed at all.  I can see my balance getting better and stuff like that.

But I was so excited to get home, I was getting to my breaking point out at that hospital.  Then being back here was the nicest thing ever, just getting to be with all my friends and family.

N:  There was a big party thrown for you somewhere right.

K: Yeah there was a big party at the green which is a park near our house and a ton of people came out for that.  Probably like two or three hundred people came out for that.  It is was cool to see the amount of support the town has shown me.

It was really fun, and then after the party we had all the Burton people and sponsors come around to our house so that was really nice too.

N:  You said in another interview how you understood the risks you signed up for when you became a pro snowboarder, do you still feel that way?

K:  Yes totally I feel where the sport has gotten to and how dangerous some of the tricks are you have to kind of understand that is the risk you are taking, doing these double corks and these crazy tricks, you have to realize the risk you are taking.

I am going to try and put out an awareness about helmets because they said I would be dead if I didn’t have a helmet on.  So just to let people know the importance of that.  It is so easy and mellow to wear a helmet, especially when things are this dangerous at this level.  It is insane to me to think that some people won’t wear a helmet.

N:  At this point are you even thinking about snowboarding again this coming winter?

K: yeah that is a pretty exciting thing for me at this point.  I am in this kind of shape where I know I will get to snowboard again, I am not sure what point during the winter it will be.   So many of the people I have talked to could never even dream of getting to do something like this.  This one kid who goes to the same hospital I do.  He was walking down the stairs at his college here in Vermont and he fell down and hit his head and now he still can’t even talk and that was 5 years ago.  So the amount of luck I have had to be back at this level and knowing that I will be able to snowboard again.  it is obviously going to start off really mellow, but I am just excited to see how I am going to feel on a snowboard again.  I really have no idea how I am going to feel.

Do you know the skier CR Johnston?  He had a traumatic Brain injury and he recovered and actually skied and competed again and was even winning contests and unfortunately this last season he was skiing in Squaw Valley and had a freak accident and hit his head again and died.  But just to hear how well he was doing has given me a lot of confidence and hope.

As we talk and walk around the Pearce Brothers barn I get to see first hand some of the improvements Kevin is making.  There is a ping Pong table in the middle of the living room and Kevin and Adam start  casually playing.  Kevin has no problem returning Adams shots.   They play fast and Kevin even mixes in a smash shot.  Adam wonders aloud “I don’t know how he can even see the ball”

Kevin smiles and shows us his first ever snowboard along side dozens of trophies and snowboard gear.  There is a brand new Volcom suit laying on a chair still wrapped in plastic.  “I wonder while they sent me a suit to wear”  Kevin says.

A documentary film is in the works with Kevins  brother Adam leading the way shooting footage of Kevin’s recovery and rehabilitation. Adam tells me that they are searching for the right director and financing right now,  with the goal in mind to have the film ready to show at the Sundance Film Festival next year.  This family has been through so much together I take it as their way to share the inner experience and maybe also pay back all the support that they have been shown.

Kevin spots the dart board on the far wall and strides to it with confidence.  “Last time I tried to play darts I couldn’t even hit the board”  He lines up his first shot, a solid hit on the board.  He second shot bounces off the wall and onto the ground.  “Dang”  He concentrates on the first shot, “Bullseye!”  “Adam, did you see that?, a bulls eye shot, boy I am getting better”

Special thanks to @KojiIshihara for setting up this trip and interview and thanks to Trans-World Japan @Daisnow for the opportunity!

Thanks to Casio and G’z One

Check it out, a few weeks ago I did an interview talking about the new edition of Casio’s outdoor styled cell phone the G’z One.  I used the waterproof/shock resistant phone for two years and thought it was the best phone on the market for outdoor multi purpose use.  So when I was asked if I wanted to be interviewed I was stoked to have the chance.  Check out the rather high tech web design and interview, Japanese only folks!


I have two Casio cameras a phone and of course a Casio calculator so I guess I am an Ambassador!  Now looking forward to the next generation Waterproof, shock resistant Smart phone G’z One???!!!  Somebody please make it happen.