Contributor Archives: Gerhard Gross
In the early ’90s The Guch was killing it. He was one of the leaders of the freestyle/jib movement coming out of Big Bear. He became the first rider for Volcom and held down a top spot on the Burton team. Then, in ’95 he moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. His sponsors thought he was dropping off the map so they promptly cut him and he disappeared from the public eye. That’s often the misfortune of visionary people: sometimes they’re a little too far ahead of the curve. But what The Guch realized is that he didn’t really know anything about mountains. Even though he was shredding slopes around the world, somehow the terrain he ended up riding always seemed the same. For him, leaving SoCal and embedding himself in Jackson and the surrounding Teton Range was the only way to truly progress. Taking a cue from street skaters who constantly scavenge cities for new spots or surfers who travel to find new waves, he set out to explore new backcountry terrain. And, well, we know how the whole backcountry thing turned out—a generation of pros have built their careers finding spots and filming in the middle of nowhere. Meanwhile, The Guch has been quietly pushing forward, until at age 38 he’s breaking into the spotlight once again.
Top Photo: The Guch in New Zealand by Scott Sullivan
After my last post about finding the value of snowboarding’s legends I wanted to get in touch with some of the riders who have reemerged in the spotlight to see why they’ve stuck around and why their experience is important to the future of the sport. By chance I ended up spending two weeks with Mike Basich in Japan this February. It was my first time there and close to his 50th. After 25-years in the game Mikey’s done some shit. Most noticeably he started the outerwear brand, 241, built a secret backcountry zone in Tahoe complete with snowcat and off-the-grid hand-built cabin, made his own documentary, pioneered the action self-portrait, did the most ridiculous heli drop-in to date (eat your heart out Travis Rice), and, at 39, still throws down laid-out backies over 40-foot road gaps. We chatted about where he’s at, what he’s learned, and his role in helping the next generation of pros through his position at Flow. Read more
“Just a bunch of old guys about to do some ugly freestyle,” says Andy Hetzel as we strap in for a run post-Supernatural at Baldface Lodge. Along with Jamie Lynn, Bryan Iguchi, Temple Cummins, Shin Campos, Tom Burt, J.P. Martin and marketing men Nate Nash and Frankie from Contour, we roll off the edge of the cat track, traverse hard right 200 metres, and drop fall line. The run is full of little poppers, and if you line it up right, you can bounce from one air to the other next. A pow field full of airtime assholes indeed. Hetzel and Guch charge, blasting off everything. I follow. It’s hard to choose between watching them ride and getting mine. We stop when a creek bed comes up fast and the three of us realize we missed the traverse back to the pickup for the cat. Panting, grinning, we hike up and cut over to the rest of the group. From the looks on everyone’s face, each of us could have just won the contest the day before.
I’ve always loved single panel comics from The Far Side when I was a kid to Penthouse as a teenager, and now The New Yorker. I’ve wanted to do my own comic for a while, but I’m no artist, so Toronto illustrator Smolik agreed to put pencil to paper and bring my stupid ideas to life.