Brandon Hammid, aka Buff Moose is not your average pro snowboarder. He didn’t start snowboarding until he was 19, and then it was only because there was a small resort near where he was stationed in the Air Force. While he’s the first American snowboarder I’ve ever interviewed to serve his country, this actually isn’t his first Hump Day. But since his Brighton Perspective is dropping tomorrow, and since we’re in Utah for the Holy Bowly, I decided to sit him down in a Park City gondolaand get his current thoughts on food, bombs, cars, pubes and more.
Mertz wanted me to ask you what color your pubes are right now?
Well they’re like blondish. Well the roots are dark and then blond with purplish tips.
Is that just a thing you do, dye your pubes?
I don’t usually do it, but the whole bleaching your regular hair is a trend. And you can’t follow trends, you’ve gotta start trends. So I was thinking the pube thing might catch on and be this cool thing.
I don’t think so.
How many shots of pubes have you done in your lifetime?
Well, it’s initiation for this gang that some friends and I started, BLK. The Blood Lace Krew. You pretty much wear this lace and to get into the gang you have to take a shot of pubes. You put some pubes in a shot of whiskey and do it.
Why would anyone want to do this?
It’s a pretty hard gang.
What’s your gang motto?
Eat Pubes or die. Oh, but how many have I done? I don’t even know. You have to take one to get in and then if you get caught without your lace you have to take another shot. So I’ve taken one to get in and then I got caught one time without, so I’ve taken two.
How many have you inflicted?
Ooh, several. The best one though, Sam Taxwood at Superpark last year. He’s hung over as shit and I see him in registration and I’m like, Sam, where’s your lace? And he’s like, what? All out of it. He looks down and he doesn’t have it, so right there in line I rip out a bunch of pubes and put it in his gatorade and make him drink the rest of his Gatorade.
Who else is in the gang?
There’s a lot of people. They probably don’t want me to tell anyone, but it’s Cale Zima, Justin Keniston, Little Jeff, Parker Duke, I don’t even know if half these people wear their laces anymore. Dangler was in it for a little bit. There’s probably more that I’m forgetting.
So how many push ups can you do?
No, what’s your record?
I don’t know, in basic training you had to do push ups. You had to do like 50 in a minute and a half, I did like 85 I think. Then I collapsed.
How’d you get so buff? What’s the secret?
I still don’t know how I got so buff. I don’t work out. I probably worked out for two months of my whole life. I heard a story of a genetic mutation and it makes it so you produce more testosterone so you have to eat more and it just turns into muscle. So maybe I have that.
Do you think you’ll ever get a pro model from Arbor?
I might, I think there’s talks of it. So as long as I don’t fuck it up.
Do you think kids want to buy a Brandon Hammid Pro model?
Probably not. I mean, I snowboard to get kids stoked to try to to pursue snowboarding. Who knows if anyone cares what I do. If one kid buys it and he’s stoked on me, I’m happy with that.
Does it suck have to deal with Sean Black regularly?
Fuck yeah. He’s the worst. I’ve been friends with him for like 10 years and now he’s my boss. It sucks. On a serious note, he’s kept me pretty sane with snowboarding. I’ve kinda lost my mind a few times and didn’t want to pursue professional snowboarding anymore. He’s kinda helped keep me sane.
Why wouldn’t you want to pursue snowboarding anymore?
I love being around people, but I get social anxiety. So sometimes just being around a huge group of your peers, I can’t just be myself. I don’t know, its just really overwhelming to me. And like sponsors and stuff. But that stuff doesn’t matter at the end of the day, it’s just snowboarding. That’s kept me doing it.
Next level shit. Photo: Amanda Hankison
Why do you clap and scream after you land every trick? Are you claiming or just that enthusiastic?
I just get so stoked. I don’t claim, I’m not like, oooh, did you see that shit? But I just get so excited. I’ve seen a few dudes, like Jonas Michilot he laughs after he gets shots. Jaws, the skateboarder always has a huge smile and his tongue out. I just think that’s awesome, when people are genuinely stoked on their own snowboarding. So now I don’t even care. I throw my hands up, scream, whatever.
How was Russia?
Russia was my favorite trip! Russia was fucking incredible. I’ve seen people go to Moscow and stuff, but there was no snow when we got there. So we drove cars 24 hours east. Snowboarding is crazy because the spots are not perfect. It’s not a good down rail, it’s all improvisation. It’s right up my alley. Like, alright, let’s see what we can snowboard on. No one speaks English. You don’t know if they’re yelling at you or what. There was one instance where Chip was sitting down and this guy comes up to him and is in his face, speaking Russian all crazy and we asked the guide that was with us what he was saying and she was like, oh, he was just asking if you needed help. Chip thought he wanted to fight. So it’s a huge language barrier. And the food sucked. They would eat like hots dogs and coleslaw for breakfast. Weirdest thing ever. It’s awesome to go to a city where you’re like, yeah, there’s the best spots everywhere, but when you’re actually in a place that’s unlike anything I’ve ever really experienced it’s pretty cool.
And you went to Dubai too. What was it like snowboarding there?
Well, it was a snow dome, in the mall. So you go to the mall, with your snowboard stuff, and there’s people all around you in full middle eastern dress. You’re walking right next to this family that’s all covered up and you’re in your snowboard gear. It’s pretty crazy. The food was awesome, we also went four wheeling one day on the dunes and it was incredible.
I take it you’re into food. Do you consider yourself a Foodie?
Yeah, I am.
How the hell do you live in SLC then? Worst food city…
It’s one of the worst, but there’s a few little sick spots. Like Roots Cafe, it’s a breakfast spot. They source everything locally, and it’s just good. But we go on trips and stuff. In Grand Rapids we went to this place called Marie Catribs and it was the best little spot ever.
What’s your favorite food city you’ve been to?
Grand Rapids, MI.
Yeah. It’s such a small little city and culinary is their thing. Art and culinary. It’s this sick little city, which you wouldn’t expect cause it’s in the Midwest. They have amazing restaurants everywhere. This kid Tommy Young, he’s friends with Marie Hucal and he just showed us everything. He’s a food snob and it was really cool. We ate really fucking good.
Photo: Stephan Jelde
Ok, back to snowboarding. What’s it like filming with Scotty Vine?
This year was a the first year that I actually went on a street trip with him. We went to this down rail and he tries a one-footed board slide. And I’m like, fuck, Scott, I know that’s your thing and it’s sick, so I didn’t say anything. Then all of a sudden he tries a hard way half cab nose press and does it perfect. So fucking sick. It was a good experience. I went to Minnesota for 10 days and he really changed my perception of him. Cause I’d just seen park stuff. I was really impressed.
Why don’t you have a car?
Well, I have a car, its in my garage.
Ok, why don’t you drive?
Well, I got my vehicle stolen from me five years ago maybe. A year after it got stolen from my driveway they found it at some apartment complex. Someone had ditched it and it sat there for a year. So I got really into biking. I just started biking everywhere. It’s just changed me. I would rather be on a bike then in a car in this closed little space. I figure I can get my car registered or keep biking. I’m only really in Salt Lake the nice part of the year.
What about getting to the mountain?
That’s the hard thing. Thank god I have awesome friends. I do my best to hook em up with gas and shit, but I know they’re probably like, fucking Hammid. Never gonna fucking drive.
I heard this is your first time at Park City in years?
Yeah, probably 2 or 3 years.
Why Brighton over Park City?
In Park City you have a lift that goes over the park and everyone can stare at you. Not that I care about what I’m doing. I’m snowboarding and that’s all that matters. But I’m a pretty anxious person and I just think about things way too much. There’s skiers. There’s giant fucking jumps. Sticky ass rails. I’ve like caught my edge and stuck to rails here too many times. I’m over it. I just feel at home at Brighton. I could probably get used to Park City, I just never really tried. I always just go back to Brighton. And a big thing to me is loyalty. Jared Winkler’s always taken care of me, so I can at least return the favor by riding there.
Tell me about the time you crashed your Bronco in Alaska.
I was 19 years old, just barely gotten into the military. I had been there barely a month and I had a fake ID and the Misfits were playing 15 minutes out of town. We drove there, pounded a bottle of Jim Beam right before we got to the show. Got maybe five mixed drinks and got kicked out. They kick us out and my friend is like, dude, I can’t drive. For some reason I thought I could drive. So we’re on this little road back to town and as soon as we leave the bar, a cop’s coming. So I’m going like 80 MPH, I look in the rear view mirror and he turns his lights on and turns around. I tried to think of what to do real quick and the only thing I could think of was to try and turn off the road and hide. I turn off a road going probably 50, hit dirt, and just slam into threes. The airbags go off, and I’m just sitting there like, fuck. In that situation I had no idea what to think. I had so many emotions running through my head and I was just like, I gotta get out of here. I just out of the car, run into the woods and my friend that was with me stayed in the car, but I just bailed. So I run through the woods for probably 15-20 minutes and then jumped into this house that was being built. I climbed up into the roof rafters and just hid in the house for probably a half hour. I heard cops with their dogs around the house, but they just didn’t find me. So they left. I ran through the woods for 6 or 7 miles, just getting bit by mosquitos because it was spring and mosquitos are really gnarly up there in the spring. I get out of the woods finally and I show up at this gas station. This crack addict mom and her daughter are there and I’m like, I’ll give you $50 to take me to the movie theater. They just looked at me like, what the hell did you just do? Cause I’m like covered in mud and mosquito bites, I looked like hell, probably smelled like booze. So they take me to the movie theater to meet up with my friends. I turned myself into the cops the next day.
They tried to give me an alcohol test, but I didn’t blow anything. So I pretty much went to court and got a reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident ticket. I had to do community service, but I didn’t get kicked out of the Airforce, I didn’t get a DUI. I paid my friend’s deductible for his truck. In the grand scheme of things, yeah it was probably sketchy, but it worked out.
So why did you join the Airforce?
I come from a pretty poor family. I grew up in apartments. Didn’t really have anything going for me after high school. I just partied super hard. Did a lot of drugs and just wasn’t making awesome decisions. I was like, dude, I gotta get out of this. I was working in this warehouse making like $10 an hour. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to be influenced by anyone. I just did it and it’s probably one of the best decisions I ever made.
Did you go to war?
Nope. Luckily with the Airforce you can choose if you want to get deployed or not, depending on your job. My job wasn’t important to be over there.
What was your job?
Building bombs. Munitions Assistant specialist was my technical title. It’s a four year or a six year contract and I did six year because you get an extra $2000 or something. I just did the six years and was done.
Do you think you’d be doing what you’re doing if you hadn’t joined the military?
I honestly have no idea. I think about that sometimes, I try not to think about it too much because it’s like alright, I made the decision I did. But I probably wouldn’t be snowboarding because I wouldn’t be able to afford it. I never even snowboarded before I joined the air force. That was why I started, because I had the money. Probably wouldn’t be a professional snowboarder or have traveled the places I did.
It definitely seems like a good option for some people.
I’m not saying it’s good for everyone, but it is an option. At the end of the day you’re doing something for your country.
I feel like our culture has really shifted to not respect the military, do you think soldiers get the respect they deserve?
It’s weird. If you think about in the 50s or 60s, that was a thing. You were a hero. Now a days it basketball athletes or football athletes or snowboarders. Those are the heroes. No one gives a fuck anymore, at least in our culture. It’s kinda fucked up, but it’s just how it is.
Alright, well on that note, any shout outs?
Arbor, and Sean Black, thank you, you’re the best. L1, Knut Elliassen is the funniest guy ever. Lance and Nima and Mike at Ashbury, they’re awesome. TOTF. Koala Tree organics, they make clothes. Charlie and Lars, they’re on some shit. Brighton, Jared Winkler, he’s the best. Milosport, all the dudes from Milo sport, I love them all like family. And Beaver Wax. I don’t really have a relationship with them, they just give me wax. Thank you.