It’s such a unique experience to have someone's full attention for an hour. When do we ever get that? Usually, people are in a group, have something to do, or, let’s face it, are on their phones. But with an interview, especially a good one, you get everything. It’s a unique experience, and there is nothing more fun than interviewing people you respect. This is an interview with Jake Kuzyk, who is one of the most respected rail riders to ever do it. Jake has iconic style, a fantastic eye for spots, and a particular precision to what he does. He is a ledge. In this article, Jake shares what snowboarding for all these years has either taught him or helped him understand about life. They are his “lessons,” per-se. Enjoy.—William Fraser
Gap to Bs Lip, Iceland [o] Marc O'Malley
Child Works Well With Others
In snowboarding, especially while working on film projects, the crew needs to operate together towards a common goal, but this can be hard. There are a lot of big personalities, egos, and individual interests that go into a project. This can make for many, uhh, let's say, very unique variables. Emotions can run high as everyone has their own set of specific needs. Through snowboarding, I think I've become pretty good at managing these needs for myself and others around me. I've slowly learned over the years when it's appropriate to make personal sacrifices for the group or when I need to share my thoughts if it might benefit what we're trying to accomplish. I didn’t recognize this as any sort of skill until I started to travel more with friends outside of snowboarding. That’s when I started seeing how tough it is for some to make immediate decisions while remaining flexible—it can be stressful to be away from the comforts of home. But I almost thrive off it at times. Snowboarding has helped me synchronize and collaborate in a group, which feels like a valuable skill at this point in my life.
Pushed To The Limit
As snowboarders, the challenges we deal with while making these videos can be so unique and nuanced. I almost can't believe the situations we are in at times. I think most people in my life would have a mental breakdown or walk away from it all after one day if they were put in some of these situations. Yet, here we are, up at 5 a.m., going back to a spot that is an hour drive away, for the third day in a row. We just knocked on someone's door to ask them to move a car from the landing, but they weren't home. Now the eight of us rock the vehicle out of the way, sliding it along the icy road in -30°C while it's snowing sideways… There are so many unique details and unknowns that go into filming for these projects. It's pretty wild. When I hang out with quote-unquote, "everyday people," there is a need for structure, routine, and a plan. At my core, I am probably that type of person too, but snowboarding has definitely taught me how to be more capable of going with the flow while still pushing hard to make things happen.
[o] Marc O'Malley
I'm Working On It, I Swear
It's weird. I have done this for sooo long, and snowboarding has given me so many freedoms in life, to the point of it being almost a problem sometimes. Don't get me wrong, it's incredible! I haven't held a "real job" since I was 19 years old. And early on in my career, I loved the lack of routine. It's a 20-year-old's dream! Running around all the time, seeing friends, and doing whatever the hell I wanted. You only need to think about snowboarding and getting to the next trip. But, as I've gotten older, I wrestle with how to spend my personal time in healthier ways. How to be a productive and high-functioning adult in the real world [laughs]. When you have a job that deeply ties into your identity and hobbies, it can be hard to switch off fully. It's a good problem to have. It's the blessing (and curse) of making your passion your career. But I'm now learning the value of sharing my time with family and friends, learning new things, and investing in relationships outside of snowboarding. I'm in my 30s and just recently became obsessed with exercising and eating better. I guess I have 13 years of destroying my body to thank for all that.