Ripping | Michael Modesti

Frontside 5050, Calgary, Alberta
Words + Photos: JJ Westbury

Mike has come a long way from being a shithead kid on the handle tow at Rabbit Hill—but not that long. He's so fresh in the game that we had to sit him down to watch Déjà vu just a couple years ago. Mike is rambunctious yet respectful—a calculated loose cannon. He carries an infectious energy that can rally the troops on a dark day and magically suppress the risk perception of those around him. Good kid, and a hard worker. I could say more, but I think his snowboarding speaks for itself.—JJ Westbury

Michael! Where are you from, where do you live currently, and what’s one thing that people don’t know about you?

I’m from Edmonton, Alberta. I moved down to Calgary about five years ago now. I guess people don’t know that I really, really hate insects.

Interesting. What was your exposure to snowboarding like in the Edmonton scene? Were there any older snowboarders up there that you were like, "Holy shit, you're from Edmonton?!"

Off the top, I’d say Layne Treeter. I would see him around Rabbit Hill. Josh Powell, Conner Felix, Spenny Rennie, [Mat] Tam, all those guys were around.

The home team is stacked. Were you watching snowboarding videos as a young kid or was it just exposure to actually snowboarding?

It was mainly natural, just being around the hill and seeing those older people riding. I had a few snowboarding videos as a kid, but I didn’t really watch many videos. I got a free one with a snowboard once, but I don’t remember the name. I think I had Art of Flight, too. What really got me into street snowboarding was 3:00AM. That's my favourite all-time snowboarding film. I got more into watching videos later, once I was already pretty into it.

3:00AM is an amazing video. That one is pretty recent, all things considered. On the topic of street snowboarding, what's up with Upper Management?

Those are my brothers. We filmed another video this year. I linked up with them two years ago now. I met those heads competing, and we were just vibing. A bunch of us moved in together before last winter, and it’s been awesome. It all happened pretty naturally.

What was your relationship with competitive snowboarding like, and how did that transition into filming?

There was a point where I really liked competing. Traveling to different resorts, meeting new people and whatnot. That was fun. Suddenly it felt like it got super competitive, which I didn’t like. It took the fun out of it. I almost lost my love for the “sport” during my last year competing. When I had free time, I rode the street in Edmonton for fun with Conner [Felix]. Then, as I mentioned, meeting the UM homies at contests and then all being into filming made it smooth.

I’ve seen you step to some pretty hectic spots, and it seems like you don’t get hung up for too long. What's going through your head when you break the fear barrier and just go for it?

It's kind of messed up, but I think of the worst, and I just do my best to avoid it. I get scared, and I'm prepared to get burnt every time. I focus on surviving and hopefully being able to snowboard the next day [laughs]. I just want to make it through it.

Honestly, that’s a twisted approach—I love it. Who is Uber Mike?

[Laughs] Uber Mike made his first appearance at the Magic Trick premiere in Calgary. He was way too turnt up and tried to take multiple Ubers home but kept getting turned away. After that, there was a temporary ban from Uber, and now, when I have a big night at the bar, the homies call me “Uber Mike.”

I’ve had some good times with Uber Mike. What’s getting you fired up to go at it again this winter?

I feel like watching Kalin [Park] edit the video is getting me fired up. Even just being at Mount Hood this summer—I can't wait to do this again every day.

Hell yeah, Mikey. Thanks for your time.

Watch Mike + the rest of the UM crew in their latest video, 'FACEOFF'.

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