Interview and Photos By Liam Kaska
I have known Ian for the past few years and we even lived together last season over in Tahoe. Ian is a quite sort of dude, and only has intelligent things to say, actually in most cases he wont talk a whole heap unless he has something interesting to say.
It has been refreshing to hang out and shoot photos with Ian. When every 16 year old seems to be sponsored and would love to tell you how good their back 900’s are, Ian just sits back and enjoys snowboarding for what it is. And also happens to shred the shit out of it with style and a massive smile at the same time.
Ian is a huge motivation for me when it comes to getting out and trying to get photos, he is the first up in the mornings ready to shred, even when the weather sucks. I can’t think of one time where I have suggested we go shoot and Ian has declined. And Ian isn’t out there shooting to stay sponsored or have pro hoes throw themselves at him at the bar, although that’s fine, he is more about creating images for others to appreciate and to be involved in the team effort, and snowboarding for the same reason why we all started, because it is fun.
This past season Ian would accompany me all day while we were out shooting and sometimes not even hit anything himself, just stoked to be out helping and motivating other riders to go big. I don’t know many people who do that, rather they bail to go cut laps in the park because they weren’t getting shots themselves.
That’s what I like about Ian. He is a team player.
Stance: Goofy, 24 inches +18, -12
Sponsors: Dragon, GNU, Union Bindings, L1 Outerwear, I-found, Melbourne Snowboards
Hometown: Otaki, New Zealand/Melbourne, Australia
Home resort: Turoa, Mt Ruapehu and Mt Hotham
Favourite place to travel and snowboard and why?
I love Europe for it’s beautiful scenery and Huge Mountains. It’s so good how you can stand at the top of a line and no matter which way you look there’s a sea of snow caped peaks, it’s kinda an airy feeling but exciting at the same time. But I’d have to say that Tahoe is where the heart lies aye, that place is so much fun, I’ve spent 4 winters there now and it’s always good times. I’m not really into solid parks and real cold weather all the time so the weather there’s perfect for me. It’s got so much accessible terrain for free riding and the parks are pretty sweet too.
The first time I met you was in Tahoe going back 3 or 4 years now, and because you were living with all the Aussie boys I just assumed, as do many people, that you were also an Aussie as well. I didn’t even pick up on the Kiwi accent until later. Then the following Australian winter you were again living up at Hotham. Why the move to the Australian resorts, we all know the mountains and snow are bigger and better across the Tasman?
Haha, yeah fair call, it just kinda happened. I moved to Oz after my 21st cause I new if I didn’t bail then, then I’d probably get trapped in a job. The plan was do a bit of traveling but I had no money so it didn’t really happen. I was working with this guy on the Goldy who did seasons at Hotham and we got talking bout snowboarding and he was like “you should come do a season there” so I got my gears sent over and hit it up. Ended up meeting some good crew and cause all my boys back home had pretty much gone there own ways I decided to stay. Despite the same-old kiwi jokes everyday, you guys are ok, ha ha.
Who did you first start kicking it with when you came out?
Hotham’s a pretty tight crew and everyone pretty much rides with everyone, which is real sweet cause all day your meeting up with new crew and hittin different shit. Hotham’s got a few of the older riders like Brad Watterson, Cowley, and Birky who just love to ride, so I found myself hangin with them as much as I could, those guys can read the hill so well and show ya hits where you wouldn’t even think to look. They always looked after the new/young crew too, which was much appreciated.
Bomb Drop Tahoe 09. Photo Liam Kaska.
Where do you base yourself in the off-season? Do you spend much time back in NZ?
I’ve moved around a bit but I always end up in Tahoe at some stage to finish out the season. I fell in love with the place, and we’ve got a pretty good crew that hang there now so it’s all good. I try get back to N.Z. a couple of times a year, but it never seems to tie in with the snow season, can’t seem to scrape the coin together. Everyone knows how expensive an Oz season is.
You had a pretty horrific accident in 2008 in the Squaw Valley park in California, Tell us what happened?
Yeah that was pretty much shit times aye. It was the last few days of the season and I was supposed to be flying out to Austria the next day for a week of glacier park riding. We went up to the park cause Jase wanted to get a few last shots on this real lofty 60 footer that they had in the park. I followed him into it a few times judging the speed and all that, then everyone was like why don’t you just hit it, so I did. Bro the takeoff had a lot more tang on it than I was expecting and it threw me in the back seat hard, but I managed to land it and was frothin to get back up and stomp it properly. When I came through this time I overcompensated and landed nose heavy, don’t really remember but I must of put my arm out as I fell. I propped myself up on the landing and thought I was holding my chest then I looked down and was like fuck that’s not where it’s sposed to be. (Sean)Radich was standing on the knuckle so he got the other boys to come down and close the jump off. After the rookie ski patroller finally got me off the hill I ended up in hospital with a shattered humerous and my wrist was completely snapped off and wedged up on top of my forearm. Spent 8 months on the couch and a few surgeries just tryin to get it to heal.
And how has this injury affected your riding, like having confidence to hit big shit again?
It definitely plays on your mind aye, I’d never really had a big injury so it was a bit of a reality check. It took a while to get the confidence back. The first day back in the park I ate shit on this rail and landed on my arm, which wigged me out a bit, so I had to just chill and ease into it. One of my mates who broke his back and was back riding the next season told me it’s after you have that first big stack and realize your all good that it all starts to come back together, which is fully true. I still haven’t really hit any big jumps again since but hopefully I can get that shit sorted this year.
What’s the best thing about snowboarding?
Hanging out with mates in the best places in the world with nothing to worry about but tryin to get the next trick dialed.
What’s the best thing about summer?
Don’t really get to session much summer time but when I do it’s all about Barbies, beach time, bikinis and sundresses. Never get board of that shit.
What kind of job do you work to sustain comfortable living while still being about to travel and ride?
I’ve had a few different jobs during the home season like working in bars, the park and now I work in a snowboard shop. In between seasons I work in a bar in St Kilda, I reckon it’s the best way to make heaps of coin in a short time cause you can pull heaps of hours and still feel like your not mission out on too much partying.
Any plans to get away this summer for a shred?
Yeah for sure, the cash levels are a bit low though this year as I had a few debts that needed to be squared up so don’t know how long I’ll last, but head to Cali for as long as the $$ last. Just wanna get as many days logged as I can, and work on tryin to get my riding back.
Droppin cliffs in his favourite spot to shred. Photo by Liam Laska.
You had a pretty shitty day last week, with your car being broken into in St Kilda and what not. How much did the day cost?
Haha, yeah that was fucked bro! So I went to grab my car the other day and found it sitting there with a smashed window, the neighbors reckon it had been like it for bout a week, (We park round the back of our apartment building so I hadn’t seen it or used it for a while) so I was pretty stoked to know that it had been sitting like that over new years and in the torrential rain! They only stole my Ipod too – junkies. So of course I had to get a special window from Holden, which cost me $320 to put in. After that I stopped in to clean all the glass and crap out of it, and when I pulled out of there to the lights this cop on her bike knocked on my window and was like you don’t have a seatbelt on can you pull over. Bitch gave me a $200 fine then thanked me for pulling over. I was pretty over it by this stage so I dropped my car home thinking sweet surely nothing else can happen now. It was a sunny day and we had a party to hit up so me and a mate were making a bucket of sangria, and I sliced my thumb all the way round right to the bone and had to go get stitches. Cost me anther $180, so off it the day cost me bout $700 bucks!! Sick start to 2010!
Favourite place to shred in OZ?
I’d probably have to say Hotham, even though the park isn’t the best thing round, the freeriding is so much fun. There’s just so much natural hits all around the hill, there’s endless fun to be had cutting laps with the crew up there. I haven’t really had a chance to have a decent shred in New South though so I can’t make a full call between there and VIC resorts, I here Thredbo’s got some pretty good stuff going on.
Favourite place to shred over seas?
As much as I love Europe, I’d still have to pick Cali. I just love the weather, there’s nothing like a hot slushy day, which are plentiful there. You still get the good dumps as well to keep that part of the hunger stoked.
Which countries has snowboarding taken you to?
My first Nothern Hemisphere season, I was lucky to have a few local Hotham guys let me tag along to Switzerland. They’re pretty solid riders and they taught me how to ride pow and got me hooked to keep following the white stuff. Since then I’ve spent the last few seasons in the States. And last year I went through Austria, Germany, and Switzerland again before back to the states.
Backside 180 tree popper with a splash of orange and mango juice for sweet-as style, Tahoe. Photo by Liam Kaska
Who’s style do you admire the most?
I rate Heiki Sorsa as one of my top riders, that dude kills it in pretty much everything. I’m a big fan of style that looks relaxed and tidy, I hate flappin arms that just looks whack! Danny Kass, Torstein Horgmo, and Simon Chamberland rep this tight.
Most motivating riders to shred with?
The little rat (Tom Pelley) is so ADD that he’s always stoked on everything which gets ya pumped, and all my mates like Kendall, Gusto, Roach, Kaska and everyone else that know how I ride so they give ya shit if your being a pussy, and keep pushing each other to try new shit.
Top 5 What’s Hot & What’s Not Hot for 2010?
- Dragon, GNU, Union Bindings, L1 Outerwear, ifound, Melbourne Snowboard
- Claybird shooting
- Sangria, I love that stuff
- Kat Von D
- My Boy beanz’s art, his paintings are real sweet!
- Cyber hate, leave that shit out
- Junky’s that roll your shit to sell for a quick score
- ED Hardy, seriously WTF!!!!!
Indy rock launch Tahoe. Photo by Liam Kaska.