Add some spirited disagreements and subtract some of the clothes on the Red Bull promo girls and I’d be in every newschoolers.com kid’s wet dream—seventeen-million dollar mansion in the Aspen hills, several bars with top-shelf liquor, a hip-hop DJ, familiar faces from ski movies walking around…how did I end up here?
A former Red Bull employee turned condom baron picked me up in downtown Aspen to drive me to the Oakley house where all the athletes stay for the duration of the week. I was headed there to interview Tanner Hall and Simon Dumont, among others, to see what knowledge they could impart, game they could spit before the X-Games started. Upon entering I was immediately handed a red bull-vodka and pair of Shaun White pro-model goggles and given a cribs-style tour of the 11,000-plus square-foot behemoth. I was then introduced to Tanner.
“So, how are the knees doing?”
Shit! I wasn’t planning on opening with the most obvious question.
“They’re getting there. When you have two ligaments redone it definitely takes a lot of time to make progress. The pain is all gone and I’ve got full range [of motion.] My knees are doing well—it’s just my sanity that is a little low watching the snow keep coming down. Early season was easy because no one had snow but at this point I’m starting to pull my hair out a little bit.”
“What things have you been able to work on that you wouldn’t be doing otherwise?”
“Oh, you know, started a few companies. Started a production company with Eric Iberg who did Idea a few years back, and a record company called Inspired Records. Started making chapter one of my documentary. Besides that, just going to the gym every day, up to six hours a day.”
“What kind of music is your record company going to get behind?”
“Mostly dance hall, reggae-type stuff. I just like the vibe and the discipline of reggae music and the rasta culture. Rasta is love and the music promotes love. I think it’d be a lot better if kids grew up listening to reggae instead of rap or death metal. I listen to it all day long. The [positivity] and righteousness just help you live your life. It’s great to listen to anytime, chillin with a girl, whenever.”
“Who are your top three picks for X-Games Superpipe?”
“Simon Dumont, Kevin Rolland, Xavier Bertoni, in any order.”
“Around the year 2000, the buzz was about people bringing their park tricks to the backcountry. Ten years later, what about the sport do you see evolving next?”
“It’s becoming harder and harder for skiers to be both film skiers and competition skiers. In snowboarding people specialize in one or the other, and that’s the direction I see skiers going. You can no longer expect to compete in halfpipe and go ski pow with your friends in the afternoons. To be competing at the highest level you need to be skiing halfpipe almost [exclusively.]”
Any concrete answer to the progression question earns my respect.
“Got any creative red-bull infused cocktails?”
“I’m not on the drinking program right now, even though I’m not skiing. I just want to let the knees get better and keep a clear head.”
Fair enough. I thanked him for his time, and left to take advantage of the gourmet, five-star catered sushi spread and play ping pong with X-Gamers.