Words By: Alex Buecking / Photos By: Dave Heath    
   
 

According to Tanner: WHEN YOU GUYS STARTED THIS INTERVIEW AND SAID YOU WANTED TO FREESTYLE IT, I WAS LIKE: FUCK YEAH- BOOYA!
 

2004 was the shit.
TEN YEARS AGO FROM NOW, 2004, WAS PRETTY MUCH THE SICKEST TIME IN SKIING. YOU HAD TO BE AN INDIVIDUAL TO COME THROUGH AND GO FORTH IN THE SPORT. EVERYTHING WAS A NEW THING.

And it’s been a while,
THIS MARCH, IN 2015, IT WILL ACTUALLY BE 10 YEARS SINCE WE DID CHAD’S GAP- SINCE I DID THE SWITCH 900 OVER IT AND BROKE BOTH OF MY ANKLES.  

But now, he’s back.
THIS YEAR I HAVE THE SEVEN-MINUTE CLOSING SEGMENT IN POOR BOYZ’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY FILM. IT’S MY FIRST TIME FILMING WITH THOSE GUYS IN A LONG TIME. IT’S THE BEST YEAR I’VE EVER HAD. I SKIED THE CRAZIEST PILLOW LINES, AND GOT DUMPED IN THE BIGGEST TERRAIN I HAVE EVER BEEN TO IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.

And skiing is in trouble.
TO SEE THE TRANSITION OF WHAT IT WAS THEN AND WHAT IT IS RIGHT NOW… I MEAN, SKIING IS REALLY GOOD RIGHT NOW, BUT I ALSO HAVE TO SAY THAT IT IS KIND OF AT A TURMOIL POINT.

Serious trouble.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT ROLLERBLADING AT ONE POINT IT WAS LIKE X-GAMES EVERYWHERE, THERE WAS, I THINK, 21-MILLION PEOPLE WORLDWIDE ON ROLLERBLADES. IT WAS ONE OF THE BIGGEST SPORTS IN THE WORLD.

MY WHOLE MESSAGE TO SKIERS IS THAT WE NEED TO BE INDIVIDUALS; WE NEED TO GO OUT, WE NEED TO CREATE EVERY DAY, AND WE NEED TO MAKE THIS COOL TO THE MASSES, BUT YOU GOTTA HAVE STYLE, YOU GOTTA HAVE FLAVOR. BECAUSE IF WE THINK THAT SKIING CAN’T JUST TURN INTO THE NEXT ROLLERBLADING…WELL, THERE IS A CHANCE OF THAT!

The Olympics didn’t help.
A LOT OF PEOPLE THOUGHT THE OLYMPICS WERE GOING TO DO A LOT OF GOOD, BUT IN MY MIND, WE JUST LET A BUNCH OF 70-YEAR-OLD IDIOTS FROM FRANCE COME IN AND PUT ALL OF THESE RULES AND REGULATIONS ON THE STUFF THAT WE CREATED. THAT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE PROGRESSION TO ME; THAT SOUNDS LIKE REGRESSION.  

EVERYBODY THOUGHT THERE WAS GOING TO BE THIS SHAUN WHITE EFFECT; LIKE WHATEVER SKIER WON THE OLYMPICS WAS GOING TO BE LIKE SHAUN WHITE. BUT TO WATCH THE OLYMPICS AND SEE ALL THE STUFF LIKE “I’M ADOPTING PUPPIES” AND “WIN A DREAM DATE WITH ME”, THAT DIDN’T MAKE US LOOK GOOD.

And credit isn’t being given to the people who deserve it.
IT’S GOING TO BE A BLESSING TO SEE WHEN IT ALL COMES BACK FULL CIRCLE- WHEN ALL OF THESE KIDS WHO ARE NOT GETTING A LOT OF RECOGNITION, WHO AREN’T IN THE SPOTLIGHT, BUT ARE OUT THERE SKIING HARDER THAN ANYBODY, FINALLY GET SOME CREDIT.

Like John Spriggs,
HE’S ONE OF THE MOST WELL-ROUNDED SKIERS IN THE WORLD, BUT I’VE HEARD BULLSHIT FROM SPONSORS SAYING: “WELL, HE’S TOO TALL, HE DOESN’T FIT A SAMPLE SIZE, ” AND I’M LIKE- IS THIS A POPULARITY CONTEST, OR DOES IT COME DOWN TO SKILL?

I JUST HOPE TO SEE ONE DAY THAT SOME OF THESE KIDS THAT PUT OUT THEIR ALL CAN GET MORE CREDIT THAN SOMEBODY GETTING A SHIT TON OF CREDIT FOR ADOPTING PUPPIES WHEN I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF HE LIKES PUPPIES.

A LOT OF PEOPLE THOUGHT THE OLYMPICS WERE GOING TO DO A LOT OF GOOD, BUT IN MY MIND, WE JUST LET A BUNCH OF 70-YEAR-OLD IDIOTS FROM FRANCE COME IN AND PUT ALL OF THESE RULES AND REGULATIONS ON THE STUFF THAT WE CREATED. THAT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE PROGRESSION TO ME; THAT SOUNDS LIKE REGRESSION.  

MY WHOLE MESSAGE TO SKIERS IS THAT WE NEED TO BE INDIVIDUALS; WE NEED TO GO OUT, WE NEED TO CREATE EVERY DAY, AND WE NEED TO MAKE THIS COOL TO THE MASSES, BUT YOU GOTTA HAVE STYLE, YOU GOTTA HAVE FLAVOR. BECAUSE IF WE THINK THAT SKIING CAN’T JUST TURN INTO THE NEXT ROLLERBLADING…WELL, THERE IS A CHANCE OF THAT!

Or Henrik Harlaut and Phil Casabon,
HENRIK HARLAUT RIGHT NOW… THERE’S NOBODY BETTER AND THERE’S NOBODY EVEN CLOSE TO THIS KID IN THE PARK.

WATCH HIS MOVIE, ROAD TO ZION- IT’S OUT OF CONTROL! HE’S STOMPING LIKE SWITCH DOUBLE CORK 1440s OFF OF NATURAL WINDLIPS INTO BACKCOUNTRY SHIT. THERE’S NOBODY THINKING LIKE THAT RIGHT NOW, AND THAT’S KIND OF BAD.

IN THE STREETS, NOBODY IS EVEN CLOSE TO PHIL CASABON!

THEY’VE BEEN GROWING UP SKIING THAT WAY SINCE THEY WERE EIGHT-YEARS-OLD, AND NOBODY CAN CATCH UP TO THEM RIGHT NOW. TO CATCH UP, THEY’D HAVE TO GO BACK IN TIME TO EIGHT-YEARS-OLD, AND THEN REDO HOW THEY CAME UP.

Or Parker White and Chris Logan,
IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL-IT IS SOOO BEAUTIFUL; TO SEE WHAT PARKER WHITE AND CHRIS LOGAN JUST DID THIS YEAR (Their web-series, The Big Picture).

TO BREAK AWAY AND BE LIKE: “You know what? We’ve gotta break away and be individuals. It’s time to do our own thing.” THERE’S JUST NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE LIKE THEM.

Or Sander Hadley.
SANDER IS ANOTHER KID WHERE IT’S JUST LIKE, FUCK, MAN. SUCH A GOOD DUDE, AND HE’S AN INDIVIDUAL. HE HAD IT IN HIS BRAIN TO GRAB HIS GOPRO AND BE LIKE EVERYBODY IS DOING PARK EDITS, LET ME JUST GO DOMINATE MY MOUNTAIN.

I WAS SO HYPED TO SEE THAT, THAT I CALLED HIM UP OUT OF THE BLUE AND WAS LIKE “WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF YOU GETTING OUT TO SQUAW VALLEY IN A COUPLE DAYS?” AND HE WAS LIKE “WE’LL LEAVE TONIGHT, WE’LL BE THERE TOMORROW MORNING.” I THINK HE LEFT AT LIKE MIDNIGHT OR SOMETHING, AND HE PULLED IN AT 7 IN THE MORNING. I WAS LIKE “YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR GOD DAMN MIND!” IT WAS ONE OF THE COOLEST THINGS I HAVE EVER SEEN, CUZ I WAS LIKE DUDE, YOU’RE HUNGRY, AND YOU GET IT! I JUST HOPE  COMPANIES REALIZE THE VALUE OF AN EDIT LIKE SANDER’S COMPARED TO THE VALUE OF A CONTEST.

Pointing it in Retallack, BC

Tanner at Beartooth Pass back in 2002 or so. Photo by: Travis Andersen

Big companies are blowing it,
I THINK RED BULL HAS THIS THING TO PUSH WITH THESE BIG PARK SHOOTS. IF THE MEDIA WON’T PUSH THINGS OUT OF THE PARK, I THINK WE HAVE A BIG PROBLEM.

WE ARE TRAVELING BACK BECAUSE COMPANIES SAY :“It’s a lot easier to make money off a 15-second Instagram of a kid in a park.” THEY JUST SEND A FILMER OUT FOR ONE DAY, FILM HIM, AND COME BACK INSTEAD OF GIVING MONEY TO BIG PROJECTS.

I EVEN HEARD A COUPLE OF MY COMPANIES SAY: “It’s hard for people to relate to powder and helicopters.” AND I’M JUST LIKE: DUDE, ARE YOU PEOPLE ARE OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MINDS RIGHT NOW?

I THOUGHT WE WERE TRYING TO SELL A FANTASY TO PEOPLE THROUGH THESE MOVIES. I DON’T KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE A FANTASY TO GO TO ASPEN OR PARK CITY TO RIDE A GOD DAMN PARK CHAIRLIFT!

And so is the media.
I’M GOING TO CALL IT OUT, BECAUSE I HAVE NO PROBLEM DOING THAT AT THIS POINT. THE SKI WORLD AT THIS POINT, IT’S PAY TO PLAY. WHATEVER SPONSORS ARE THROWING OUT THE MOST MONEY TO FILMS OR MAGAZINES, THOSE ARE THE GUYS WHO ARE GOING TO GET THE SEGMENT OR THE ARTICLE.

So loosen up.
THAT’S THE REASON WHY I QUIT COMPETING: BECAUSE AT THE LAST CONTEST I DID, X GAMES, ALL I SAW WAS KIDS GETTING YELLED AT BY COACHES. NO KIDS WERE LIKE, DRIVIN’ OUT WITH EACHOTHER, NO KIDS WERE THROWING HIGH FIVES TO EACHOTHER.

SHIT, BACK IN THE DAY, WE WERE SMOKIN’ WEED AND THROWING HIGH FIVES IN THE START GATE WITH THE FUCKIN’ CAMERAS RIGHT IN OUR FACE! WE WEREN’T GIVING A SHIT, DUDE, BECAUSE EVERY DAY WAS A NEW DAY. WE WERE CREATING THAT DAY. WE WERE CREATING SOMETHING.

And do what you love.
WHAT I NEVER HAVE TO QUESTION IS MY LOVE FOR SKIING. OR THAT I WILL BE IN THE MOUNTAINS EVERY YEAR UNTIL MY BODY PROHIBITS ME TO DO IT. IT’S JUST A BEAUTIFUL THING; TO HAVE COME THIS FAR AND STILL HAVE THE LOVE MORE THAN EVER FOR MOUNTAINS.

THAT’S THE REASON WHY I QUIT COMPETING: BECAUSE AT THE LAST CONTEST I DID, X GAMES, ALL I SAW WAS KIDS GETTING YELLED AT BY COACHES. NO KIDS WERE LIKE, DRIVIN’ OUT WITH EACHOTHER, NO KIDS WERE THROWING HIGH FIVES TO EACHOTHER.

So one day you can look back,
GROWING UP IN MONTANA, IT WAS PRETTY MUCH A BEAUTIFUL THING TO HAVE THOSE MOUNTAINS.

AND THANK GOD FOR MY PARENTS- BECAUSE IT’S PRETTY COOL FOR PARENTS TO DROP THEIR 7 YEAR OLD KID OFF AT THE RESORT AND BE LIKE “OK, IT’S 7:00 IN THE MORNING, I’LL SEE YOU AT 4:00 IN THE AFTERNOON!”

FOR THEM TO JUST NOT WORRY ABOUT IT, THAT WAS THE GREATEST THING MY PARENTS EVER COULD HAVE DONE FOR ME IN THE BEGINNING PHASES OF MY SKIING.

And remember the people,
MICKEY PRICE! THAT’S ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS IN LIFE RIGHT THERE! HE WAS THE BEST SKIER, HANDS DOWN, LIKE WHEN I FIRST STARTED SKIING WITH HIM. HE WAS THE GUY THAT FIRST OPENED MY EYES TO BEING LIKE: OK, YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT BECAUSE THERE’S NO LIMIT, AND IF YOU BELIEVE IN YOURSELF THAT YOU CAN DO IT, THEN DO IT.

I HAVE NEVER MET A HUMAN BEING IN LIFE THAT GETS SUCH A POSITIVE VIBE OFF OF SKIING. IT’S JUST ALL SMILES, HE DOESN’T WANT TO BE BIG, AND IT’S NOT ABOUT FAME OR MONEY. MICKEY JUST REALLY EMBODIES THE SPIRIT OF SKIING TO THE FULLEST, AND WHAT IT SHOULD BE TO EVERYBODY, EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD.

From that place,
BUT THAT’S JUST MONTANA SKIING. IT’S FUCKING AWESOME COMPARED TO A LOT OF DIFFERENT PLACES IN THE WORLD.

FONDLY.


Words BY: Alex Buecking


Photos BY: Dave Heath

   
   
 

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