Portrait by: Crispin Cannon
Interview by: Eric Greene
Chris is a beast of a young man from Vancouver, Canada. His dad, Rudy, was a pro snowboarder once upon a time, and every interview Chris has done in his career has ended up being about his old man. So, although Rudy is quite the legend, we’ll pull Chris out from the long shadow of his dad and give him the full light and attention he deserves in the following pages. Shout out to Rudy Rasman.
Chris is kinda goofy. He’s like one of those nerdy kids who voice their weird ideas and opinions without really thinking about what they’re saying first. He also asks a lot of questions. Like, questions about anything and everything all the time. He’s a nerdy and curious little guy who doesn’t shut up. I’d wager money that he’s read all the Lord of the Rings books multiple times and spent his teenage years playing Final Fantasy and drinking Coca-Cola with his pointdexter buddies. He probably didn’t start mingling with girls until after prom night.
That being said, Chris is also naturally built like a jackhammer and was born with abnormal physical talent—Rudy’s genes. He runs at a high frequency with endless energy and goes at everything in life with the pedal to the metal. I guess what I’m saying is that Chris is a mix of nerd and hero, which makes him quite unique. On top of all that, he’s a real nice dude. Ambitious and motivated, he’s on a hell path to become successful, but always treats everyone with respect no matter how cool or how much of an asshole they are.
I recently had a tarot card reading done on myself in a creepy basement in Manhattan (don’t ask), and the gypsy woman told me that my energy and ability lies in seeing the true self in those I meet. I recognize if someone is trying to manipulate me and I seek out the kindness in people while deflecting their animosity. I drew good cards. As I write this, I wonder what cards Chris would draw. And I’m not talking about the Dungeons and Dragons cards he grew up playing with his nerd buddies. I’m talking about the real cards the gypsies use to show you your path in life. I bet Chris’ cards would expose him as an open soul who bares all his emotions for the world to see. I’d also guess that his energy is channeled into productive activities and he’s incapable of recognizing the flaws in others, so he just asks questions all the time. That doesn’t mean he’s a basic bitch. He’s more of an optimist. I’ll get back to you with the real answers after I connect Chris to my gypsy.
Frontside 1080, Whistler, Photo: Russell Dalby
I normally prepare for interviews, but I think because I know you well and we’ve shared a bed before, I didn’t bother.
That’s what I was thinking too when I was telling people I was doing this interview with you. Like, it’s different than when you do interviews with people you don’t know and it sounds kinda scripted instead of just shooting the shit. Well, let’s shoot the shit then.
You’re not snowboarding today?
I’m probably gonna go up this afternoon and ride for a bit. Jody [Wachniak] is texting me right now to go up with him. It’s raining and we randomly got pretty wasted last night. Well, it was just me and Rusty [Ockenden]. We went to Mojo’s [laughs].
Just a couple of best buds partying at Mojo’s, huh?
Yeah. There were a bunch of us, but then everyone left. I was about to leave, too, but then Rusty was like, “Wait. We have nothing to do tomorrow. Why are you leaving?” So the two of us stayed and shut down Mojo’s.
How is the party scene in Whistler these days?
Dude, it’s hilarious. I feel so old. Garf’s is totally different. There are all these rules now, like you can’t walk into the bathroom with your drink. It’s still cool and the staff caters to snowboarders and locals, so it’s still the fun place to be on Thursdays. There are a lot of young girls there. You can’t get as loose as you used to, but it’s still good.
But Mojo’s gets dirty.
Oh, it gets grimy.
You were just out for hangover breakfast with The Manboys?
Yeah. It was supposed to be a meeting, but it turned into hangover breakfast.
What’s up with The Manboys?
Well, it already had this history from the Crapneto days. Mark [Sollors] and Rusty were going to make a web series and they had been known as The Manboys in the Crapneto films when they were the younger guys. So they just made this crew of us and we’re all great friends, and we’re making this web series.
Are you the manliest of all The Manboys?
You might have to ask the other guys about that, but maybe.
I’m sure you are. Who’s the most boyish? Jody?
Hands down, Jody is the most boyish. He’s also probably the funniest, but yeah.
You used to have a reputation for being an idiot and jumping off everything without looking over the edge. Poor judgment, I guess. What’s changed and what have you learned?
Uhmm… Yes. I think I’ve always been a bit loose since I was a little kid. Not reckless, but… Yeah, a bit reckless. I’ve learned that’s a dumb way to go about things. You get injured and it makes you look stupid. Being like that is a way to get made fun of rather than seem interesting. If I want longevity in my career, I can’t be reckless like that. It also takes a long time to learn about backcountry snowboarding and I’ve figure out a lot more with how to ride the backcountry.
Remember that time when you were at a film premiere in Toronto and you went up the CN Tower and did a backflip beside the window for an Instagram photo and smashed your face on the railing?
Yeah. Oh my god. Of course I remember that. What happened was I backflipped off the railing and my feet hit the ceiling, stopping my rotation and I came down right on my face.
And you got a double shiner.
Instantly. That night was the premiere for Elektro, which was the first movie I had a full part in. I had to present it on stage to a full theatre and my face was fucked.
I’m guessing you didn’t get laid at the premier that night even though you starred in the movie.
No, I did not. I had a girlfriend at the time and the following day I went to Montreal to meet her parents for the first time. If you Google my name—I mean, who hasn’t Googled their name at least once—a photo of me with the black eyes is the top image that shows up.
How often do you Google your own name?
I haven’t done it for like a month. I’ve probably done it 20 times, at least. Another image that pops up is of me on the glacier when I was sliding down the hill on a big inflatable couch with this Roxy girl and the couch flipped over and we both scorpion’d and her board hit me in the head. So there’s this photo of my with my shirt off, covered in blue zinc with blood all over my face.
The Internet is so great.
It is. Like, everything you don’t want on the Internet is the stuff that stays there the longest and gets the most views.
Your little sister is attractive, correct?
Yeah. My sister is a good-looking girl. She’s hot.
Does she have a boyfriend?
She did, but they actually just broke up.
Have any of your friends ever dated her?
Frontside 360, Whistler BC, Photo: Chad Chomlack
Have any of your friends ever, you know, with your sister even though they weren’t dating?
I have a friend who got down with her, but I didn’t know him at the time. We became friends after. He still jokes about it.
Is she off limits to The Manboys?
She’s off limits to The Manboys. But all The Manboys are boring now, anyways. They all have girlfriends.
Are you still living in the Art Barn in Whistler?
I sure am. I’m holding the place down! I’ve come so close to moving out a few times, but where am I going to go? I can’t get a better place with this kind of rent.
How long have you been there?
Oh, man. Like eight years? Since I moved to Whistler.
How many roommates have you cleaned up after in that house?
Oh my god, dude. Honestly, I’ve had between 20 and 25 different roommates. It’s been a constant rotation.
But you’re the king of the house.
Oh, I’m the king of the house.
Who has been the worst roommate you’ve had?
Colin D. Watt. Absolutely. You can print that because he knows he’s the worst person to live with.
Do you think you’ll ever leave Whistler?
I know it’s the thing to do and everyone’s doing it, but if I end up being able to buy a house, I’ll get a place in Squamish and move there. That would be the next place for me, but I love living in Whistler. It’s beautiful here and the snowboarding is amazing. My family is in Vancouver, so it’s a great home base. I think I’ll be here for a while. It’s a good life.
Do you have a girlfriend these days?
I don’t. I’ve been single for a year.
What’s the story of your love life?
Well, I realized after a couple unsuccessful relationships—mainly the last one—that because of my personality I’m way more productive being single. Like, selfish in a good way by making better decisions for myself. I fall pretty head-over-heels with girls. I can’t really do the casual thing. Having a girlfriend kills my productivity with other things. For now, I’m enjoying being single and I’m not really looking for a girlfriend.
Do you come on too strong with women and scare them off? Creep vibes?
No. Usually I’ll start hanging out with a girl and then I blink and I’m in a serious relationship. I don’t even know how it happens.
Of the 20-to-25 roommates you’ve had, how many of them have been your girlfriends you’ve moved in?
Two serious long-term girlfriends have lived in the Art Barn. Having a bunch of roommates in a house and then moving your girlfriend in never ends well. I know that now.
That is very true.
I’m slowly becoming a man and learning these things.
You’re transitioning from boy to man. There are currently a lot of women in Whistler, yeah?
Dude, yeah. It’s insane. There have always been girls up here, but in the last couple years there’s been a big rotation. There are a lot of goodlooking young girls here. It’s awesome.
The pond must get pretty small real quick, though.
Yeah, it does. I think I party a lot less now, so I don’t meet all the girls.
But when you do meet a couple you realize they all know each other. So you need to be careful about burning your bridges.
Do you have a beard right now?
I have about a week’s worth of scruff.
But you have been dabbling in the beard game lately.
I have. I’ve been growing out my teen ‘stash and a bit of a chin beard. I can’t really connect a full beard, which is annoying, and I wonder if it’s ever going to happen.
Egg Roll, Cooke City Montana, Photo: Russell Dalby
Those French guys all have solid beards. Aside from the weak beard, what’s something that makes you very mad?
Hmmm. I don’t know, man. That might be something you’d have to ask someone who knows me really well.
You’re not really known as a tempered guy, but don’t you ever just snap and go insane with rage?
One time I fucking snapped on Jesmond Dubeau in the backcountry. I did it in front of Taylor Godber and she thought I was crazy.
Oh, let’s hear that story.
It’s probably the maddest I’ve ever been. It was a late spring day and we brought up a couple surfers, Noah Cohen and Blake Thornton, just for a mellow day. Those dudes don’t know the backcountry at all and Jesmond was kind of showing off and recklessly led them to this area where they almost went off an 80-foot cliff. They would have died. I waited ‘til the crew wasn’t around, but the only moment I had to confront him was with Taylor there, too, and I fucking lost it on him. I don’t know what I looked like, but I guess it was pretty heavy.
He must have been shitting. He’s such a little dude!
I was towering over him, screaming in his face [laughs].
I recently read a story you wrote for a Christian action sports website and it seemed like the angle of the article was you explaining how badass you are.
Is that a Christian site?
I think so.
No way. They sent me questions to answer and it was all about how people say I snowboard super agro. I answered them, but then the article was edited like I just wrote a story without any questions being asked.
You also mention that you’re referred to as “The Canadian Travis Rice.” Did you start that reference?
The first person who said that was Shawna Olsten when she was at Quiksilver. I think that’s how they wanted to market me. One time I was trying this Miller Flip off a cliff that was stupid and way too big and [Andrew] Geeves was like, “Oh my god! He really is the Canadian Travis Rice!” So some people joke and call me that.
I know you’re a humble and grateful guy, but you also have a website and endorse yourself as a brand. Do you think that’s mandatory for pro athletes these days?
I don’t know. I’ve come close to deleting my website. I created it a few years ago when I wasn’t sure where my career was headed and I spoke with a few agents. They all said to make a website and some of those guys were whack and had bad advice. I think it used to be important for a rider to have a website, but the way things are now with social media, it’s more effective to just be using Instagram or whatever.
Do you use your Instagram account as a self-marketing tool for your snowboard career or do you use it to make fun of your friends and post party selfies like the regular Joes?
It’s a personal account for me and I post personal vacation photos and things like that, but for the most part I use it to promote my snowboarding career. I try to keep it pretty clean, consistent, and snowboard related. Instagram is in most pro snowboarders’ contracts these days. It’s pretty crazy.
As a pro snowboarder, how do you define success?
That’s a tough one. I think success is being able to make a career out of snowboarding. Like, look at Mark. He is the definition of success in snowboarding to me. He’s a humble dude and genuinely loves snowboarding. He treats it like a job, but doesn’t feel like it’s his job, you know? He works so hard and is so on it with his sponsors. Mark is a successful pro snowboarder.
You’ve had ups and downs with sponsors.
Crail, Cooke City Montana, Photo: Russell Dalby
Does the luck of life play on your mind? I’m thinking of how the right sponsors make so many peoples’ careers just because they hit that opportunity and not necessarily because they’re the best person or best snowboarder, you know?
That’s a huge part of it because there are so many amazing riders out there, but it’s not all about how good you are. It’s how the cards get played and how you deal with it. Perception is a huge factor. How you present yourself determines how a brand wants to deal with you. I’ve made some shortsighted decisions in taking opportunities that ended up making me look kinda whack. And I know you shouldn’t care what people think about you, but you’re also dependent on what people think about you.
True. Take Scott and Ryan Decenzo in skateboarding—two brothers with arguably the same talent. Ryan signed with Globe, which led to Red Bull and superstardom, where Scott went with C1RCA, who painted him into a corner as they slowly died.
Yeah. So Scott is just as marketable and just as good, but his sponsors fucked him.
Do you think that’s kind of like Mark and Rusty, who came up together, grinding it out for years? Then Burton blew Mark up overnight and Forum held Rusty at the bottom for years before he went to ROME and they did the same thing to him. But would you say that Mark is a much better snowboarder?
I think they’re different snowboarders. Yeah, Mark had good cards dealt to him and Burton really pushed him. But Mark is so well-rounded. I don’t know who is the most marketable from a brand’s perspective. I mean, I’m my own worst critic. I look at a lot of my snowboarding and don’t like it, but it’s sweet that other people do.
You’ve been loyal with Lib Tech and they’ve been good to you, but you’ve cycled through other sponsors who haven’t done a lot for you.
Well, I haven’t had that many sponsors. I was with Quiksilver for however long and they kind of pushed me to the side. I was one of the first guys on the team and I worked really hard, but I don’t think I was getting what I deserved. I just stayed in the same spot the whole time. I’m with INI now and they’re so good. They push me hard and are proud to have me on the team.
What would you do if Target came at you with an offer to put your face on every bus bench in America?
Oh, god. How much money are we talking? I love snowboarding and want it to stay core and cool because there are so many things wrong and whack with it these days that I could go on a rant about, but I think I would take the Target deal. I’m 26 years old and I’ve dedicated my life to snowboarding. Maybe that brand would give me the opportunity to buy a house and do what I want to do in my career. It’s like the energy drink debate. I’m so backing what Bryan [Fox] and Austin [Smith] are doing with Drink Water, but look at the opportunities that energy drinks have given our sport and our athletes.
Target could be the brand to take you to Mark-level fame! Let’s backup to your rant about things that are wrong in snowboarding.
Oh, man. This is such a touchy subject, but you know Kickstarter campaigns? Have you seen the snowboarders who are using them to “fund their careers?”
Frontside 360, Cooke City, Montana, Photo: Russell Dalby
Yeah, like that MAKEACHAMP website? Those things are so awkward to watch.
Yes! I’m seeing them more and more these days and I always click on them to read the write-ups, and sometimes they seem kinda legit even though they’re whack. But some guys are making these crowd-funding campaigns just to get money to snowboard in Whistler. They have no credibility and have accomplished nothing, and they don’t really even have goals, but they’re straight up asking strangers for money so they can snowboard all winter and not work. It blows my mind!
The few that I’ve seen are grown ass man in their mid-twenties, too. It’s not like they’re teenage phenoms with big futures in front of them.
Obviously we all just want to snowboard every day and not do anything else, but you’ve got to make some fucking sacrifices and work hard to get there. I’m 26 and have no post secondary educating because I devoted myself to snowboarding and have worked so hard to build this life for myself. It actually blows my mind to see these people starting a welfare club on the Internet to fund money to go snowboarding. This one dude has made five-grand on his page!
Without your own crowd-funding campaign, you still get behind the shovel in the off-season. Do you feel like you’ve “made it” in snowboarding?
I haven’t made it. I’ve totally surpassed my goals of when I started snowboarding—been on more covers and filmed more video parts that I’m proud of—but I haven’t made it yet. I’m still coming up.
Is monetary success and fame the end goal for you in snowboarding?
I don’t know. I don’t really care about fame. As more people get to know who I am, I realize how much I value my privacy. I think I just want to keep pushing my own limits and pushing the sport. Yes, I want to make more money, but mainly so I can do everything I want to do in snowboarding.
And once a month you Google “Chris Rasman” and see how things are coming along.
If I Google “Chris Rasman” and one day the black eye photo is not on top, then I’ll know I’ve made it.
Let’s talk about Hawaii. What’s your relationship and routine with the community of Kauai?
I just got back from Hawaii two days ago. I’ve been going there every year for most of my life. I just took Beau [Bishop] there with me for his first time and he said that Hawaii is like my lake cabin. You know how everyone in Ontario has a family lake cottage? I’ve just always gone to Hawaii with my family. Over the years I met a lot of people on the island and developed a lot of really close family friends there. It’s one of my favorite spots in the world.
Becoming a local in Hawaii is impossible for a haole white boy mainlander, but you’ve got a bit of local status over there, right?
I guess you could kind of say that. I’ve been going there for so long, but am only ever there for a month at a time. I’ll never be a local, but I’ve grown up knowing Alana [Blanchard] and Bethany [Hamilton] and some other people there. I know enough people to not worry about getting fucked with.
What are The Manboys’ plans this winter?
We’re going to try to do a trip all together. Hopefully we’ll go to Japan, but we want to do something as the full group. After that, it’s pretty open and we’re just going to film in the backcountry here in Whistler.
I usually never ask at the end of interviews, but considering we’ve shared a bed more than twice, do you want to give any shout outs?
Yeah [laughs]. Shout out to the people and brands who have supported me. No shout out to Quiksilver, but thanks to the people who worked there and were behind me when I was a part of the brand. Alterna Films, who got me started with filming, all The Manboys and my snowboard friends. Uhmm, who else…
OK, that’s enough. Shout out to Google Images?
Yeah [laughs]. Oh, one more thing. I’ve had interviews come out before where I come off sounding like a total dick and felt like I was misinterpreted, so do you think you could send me this article to read over before it goes to print?
Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. But don’t worry, you’re not gonna sound like a dick.