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Lines, pillows, wedges, Ryan Paterson tackles it all with style and confidence. Another heated part from one of our favourite backcountry come ups. Watch and follow Out of Service for more, and meet the man behind the beard in his interview with Geoff Brown from issue 10.2.
RIPPING | RYAN PATERSON
Age | 24
Place | Squamish, British Columbia
Sponsors | Lib Tech, Bent Metal, 686, Spy, Pacific Boarder, and Saxx
I’ve never interviewed anyone before. Stoked I’m popping my interview cherry with you, but this feels kinda weird.
Ya, I’ve never been interviewed either and it already feels weird. Check it out, I’m drinking a raspberry framboise beer.
Let me know when you’re ready.
Let me skull this beer quickly. [Chugs his pink beer.] [We get a much more manly beer and then sit back down.]
Alright, let’s do this. Cheers. OK, gotta ask the classic question to start, where are you originally from? And where do you ride now?
I grew up in North Vancouver, about 15 minutes from Mount Seymour. So yeah, I was up Seymour pretty much every night after school. I had a lot of friends that lived in Whistler that I met through competing. One day my friend Dave Kinskofer said they were getting a house in Whistler and they needed an extra person. I just kinda jumped on it. I lived in Whistler for a couple years and eventually ended up moving down to Squamish with my girlfriend.
You mentioned you did contests. You don’t compete anymore do you?
Well… I think I, [stutters] I think I peaked… [laughs] I used to be on the BC Provincial Snowboard Team and I did all the local contests, thanks Coach Higs [Adam Higgins]. But I got kinda burnt out of that scene. I think it was two or three years ago that I stopped doing contests seriously and decided to just have fun. That’s when I actually won the Big Air at The Dew Tour Am at Sun peaks. That year I just didn’t give a fuck and I ended up doing really well. So I peaked and I haven’t been doing them since. But I have been going to the Holy Bowly and I plan on going to that gathering until I fucking die!
So how’d you get into filming?
The first season I moved up to Whistler when I was living with Dave, he was like, we’re gonna film Intersection with NuuLife. Do you wanna help us do it? That’s how I met John Swystun and Dave Craig. Had so much fun filming and the video was awesome. That really put me on the path of wanting to film and shoot photos.
How did you get involved with Out of Service?
I filmed with NuuLife for a couple seasons and then Johnny ended up moving back to Winnipeg and focusing on other stuff. I was bouncing around with other crews, before my friend Bruce [Johnson] invited me to join a crew of people that I didn’t know. That’s how I met you, Geoff, and we went to hit the E-Jack Hip. We had a pretty good session, but I don’t think a lot was landed … Wait, we ate a lot of shit that day. [Laughs]… Actually, it was a terrible session! But moral was high and we had a good time. I was really stoked on the crew, but then I hurt my knee and didn’t get out again that year. We kept in touch over the summer and we were fired up to get after it next winter for Season 2.
And you killed it that year.
When we’re out in the backcountry filming, what scares you the most, big jumps or big lines?
Street rails! [Laughs]
No, ummm, honestly, I think they both scare me equally but different fears per say. Maybe jumping is more the fear that you’re gonna go huge and eat shit, and hurt yourself. Whereas, riding big lines have different factors that you have to be thinking about and the unknown is very frightening. You can control most things when you’re hitting a jump but you can’t control the conditions on a line. You can only try to manage them, and that’s the art form of riding big lines that I love.
How many avalanches or “slides” have you caused since you’ve been filming with Out of Service?
I don’t know dude, I’d say somewhere around 10… Actually, can I change my answer to this? I can’t say the number, but I don’t think I’ve been in any slides that I thought were really a scary situation. I have made some jump landings slide and started some small avalanches that have been easy to ride out of, but I haven’t had a burial or any situation where I was like my god that was a close call. I’ve been lucky and I’ve been trying to make the right decisions to avoid that situation.
So you’re making all the right decisions?
They say that every day you go out into the mountains you take a coin out of the skill jar and you put it in the luck jar. There are times when I feel like I could have made a better call or maybe been less aggressive, but at the end of the day, it’s about how much time you spend out there and the odds are that eventually you will be involved in an incident, regardless of how cautious you are. I just try to be as aware of the conditions, snowpack and forecast as possible, have a plan, and be prepared for any situation.
We’ve been riding together for 2 years now and I think an interview situation is a perfect time to ask about the hair and beard.
Yup, when did you start growing it?
I started growing my beard about five years ago. I had to shave it once for work but since then I have never not had a beard. And it’s been like five years and a bit since I’ve cut my hair. I pretty much moved to Whistler and let it go. I think my hair’s maxed out. And this moustache, I haven’t trimmed it at all. This is as thick as it gets.
Does your girlfriend like it?
Ya, she was the one who first encouraged it. But now she’s like, hey you should probably get a haircut to at least trim off the gnarly ends, but I can’t be fucked with that.
Is it as scruffy downstairs as it is upstairs?
Oh god… Like I said, Five years [hard uncomfortable laughs].
I’m so glad I asked that. Alright, back to normal questions. What do you do in the off season?
I work as a carpenter in the summer building houses around British Columbia. I do some skating and surfing when I can, but living in Squamish and being surrounded by all this beautiful granite, I do a lot of rock climbing. I pretty much climb rocks all summer.
Cool, does anything transfer over from rock climbing to snowboarding?
Um, managing fear. The thing I love about climbing is that it scares me on a whole different level from snowboarding and it really challenges me to work through that fear. You have to be able to calm yourself down because the second you get super scared is when you start making the wrong decisions. I found, after a few seasons of rock climbing, when I go into backcountry snowboarding, I’m way more confident. When I feel that fear coming on, I’m able to manage it better.
Any people or things you’d like to thank?
My parents for being so supportive of everything in my life, especially snowboarding; they’ve played a massive part in setting me on the path I am on today. And a huge thank you to my girlfriend Jill for putting up with all the early mornings and late nights. I am lucky to have you to help me keep my shit together. Also, many thanks to all the filmers and photographers who come out and shoot incredible images. Especially Vanessa, Luke, and Kenny who have toughed it out the most with us over the past couple of seasons. And thank you to everybody I have had the pleasure of riding with, I have learned from all of you, especially you Geoff. I wouldn’t have had the past couple of seasons if it weren’t for you bringing me onto the crew and teaching me so much. So cheers to that!