Photo: Erik Hoffman/Yawgoons.com
Brian Skroupski may not be the prettiest Yawgoon (that’s Mary, duh) but he’s close. He’s also a hard working, motivated kid with a heart of gold who’s main prerogative in life (aside from snowboarding and lifeguarding) is to have the best time and make everyone around him happy. After spending a week at Camp of Champs and a few days as Yobeat Intern, we sat him down to like, get his thoughts stuff.
How did you get the nickname that girl Brian?
I think that name originally started from somebody on Yobeat commenting. “Oh that chick Skorpuski is really good. ”And then it kind of just kept going any time I was in a post or a video. But now it’s kind of faded out. I don’t know where he is, so if he’s out there, I’m waiting.
Can you explain Dylan Gamache?
I’ve known Dylan since our first lesson together at Yawgoo. We started the same year, and after that we began riding together everyday. Our parents would drop us off at Yawgoo and it grew from that. Dylan is Dylan, he’s a silent killer, he does his own thing, he shows up to Yawgoo and might not say anything for a little while and then you just look over your shoulder and he’s dragging something out on the hill or he’s posted up making things happen.
The Yawgoons are pretty much the hottest shit in snowboarding right now. I can’t have a conversation without you guys coming up. How did you get involved with the crew?
Brendan and Marcus are older than Dylan and I, so when we were younger, they were the guys we looked up to. We watched them when they came to the mountain with other guys riding at the time. Brendan went to dental school and Marcus was pretty much always up at Loon. Dylan and I and the rest of the guys we grew up snowboarding with were just always at Yawgoo, and then Brendan got back from dental school, and he and Marcus were making videos at Loon. It just kind of started one night when Brendan came to Dylan’s house and we had a session on this irrigation tube in Dylan’s yard. I think Brendan filmed it on a Cannon G10 and just shot some still video. No panning or zooming shots, it was all just still shots from a few different angles. That was the first edit that I was ever in that Brendan filmed. Dylan was in a couple other ones when he was younger. After that, the next year we started filming at Yawgoo trying to make random edits. Then there was one year that Yawgoo closed, and Brendan, Dylan, Marcus and I sessioned all day from about 9:00 in the morning till 7:00 at night. We sessioned two or three things that day. We set up the 4-bar on a down to a flat bar on an up, so it was like a V. Then we dragged the infamous 2-bar all the way to the top of the bunny hill and sessioned that. I think we also set up some weird BMX style ollie course with all sorts of little jibs and stuff. We were all training into it and pressing record. That was one of the first edits and then Yawgoons 1 began with Marcus, Mary and Rego, while I was living in Vermont.
Photo: Erik Hoffman
Do you think you’re the first person to move back to Rhode Island to pursue snowboarding?
I moved out of Vermont because it’s easy to get stuck up there doing the same old things. Plus it sucks when it is negative 100 degrees and you can’t go to the mountain because it’s too cold. The last year I lived up there we went though two weeks where the park crew wasn’t even going up the hill because the ground was like a brick. I just sat inside my house for those two weeks. Then after that I was driving back and forth from Vermont and Rhode Island to film at Mount Snow and film at Yawgoo to the point where I decided just to move back to Rhode Island. Yawgoo is sick and I can get so much more done there than at Mount Snow because of lift lines and other variables that come into play.
Do you consider moving out West at all?
Yea, I think about it, and I think I would like to move out west. I got to ride powder for my first time this year out in Salt Lake City. I met up with some homies out there and I got to ride Brighton and Solitude one day with super fresh powder and I kind of got addicted after that. It was a nice change because when you get more than 6 inches at Yawgoo, you can’t even ride. I think home base will always kind of be in Rhode Island, but I definitely intend on trying to spend time out west this winter. Especially powder; I want to get into hitting some backcountry stuff and open up my realm of just riding chairlifts and rope tows on the east coast.
Remember when the Yawgoons won a Trip to Mt. Bachelor in the Crew Clash and you didn’t get to go? What happened?
Yea, that was a pretty fun point in my life. I was with all my buddies from high school and it was just a normal day hanging out playing basketball, and I jumped up for a rebound and landed on my buddy’s foot, which then made me tear all the ligaments in my ankle. It put me out for five to six weeks and that was one week before the Bachelor trip, which resulted in me missing out on a massive trip where everybody got to ride powder. Everything happens for a reason I guess, so maybe it wasn’t meant to be.
Tell me about some of the good opportunities you have gotten from being a part of Yawgoons.
When I got out to Brighton this year – I was able to ride for free and stuff like that. I think the biggest thing, especially right now is going out to Camp of Champions this past week and got to shred out there and for them to extend the invite to actually not just be guest pros, but actually have a Yawgoons week. For me that was one of the biggest things because Marcus, Mary and I used to be campers there. So it was pretty crazy to go back and be on the other side of everything is pretty big. So think that is gonna be one of my most memorable thing is getting to COC and getting to just go hang out with kids and give them stuff and get them hyped on snowboarding.
Photo: Erik Hoffman
I gotta ask, is filming with Dr. Brendan like pulling teeth?
(laughs) No it’s not. I mean, he’s precise and even though you think you might get the trick he runs it back and is like, nah, you gotta do it all over again. He’s just looking out and he’s got our best interest in minds. I guess when you think about it, you can’t really screw up when you’re messing with someone’s mouth, so I gotta make this the best that we can get it. That’s cool and I’m ok with it. He’s got a vision and we’re all ok with that.
How long do you guys spend filming for each edit?
Sometimes it can go really quickly – if we have good snow and the weather is cooperating I feel like we can put em out. Yawgoons 15 went really quick. Just because we had such a solid spring and we were being very productive at the hill. Plus, Yawgoo closed pretty early, which was a bummer, but allowed us to just go there and start digging. Like, Dylan’s trench, that wouldn’t have happened if they were open. That’s where we can start to shine is when we can get right to it. Sometimes it’s quick and sometimes its not. If the weather is freezing cold in RI, it’s gonna take a little bit longer. The conditions really make the difference, which is think is like anything from a normal mountain to a street spot.
What have you learned from Marcus Rand?
I’ve learned a lot from Marcus. Marcus just inspires me to snowboard a lot. His mindset and the way he looks at things. He can take the something that your normal person wouldn’t wanna film, put his own twist on it, and you run it back and people are like “oh shit, that was fucked.” I think the Yawgoons as a whole is a lot of creativity, and I feel like it’s sick because I think we all bring something to the table. Dylan can do something as basic as carve and it looks good. Marcus can take something small that anyone can do and and make it look really fun. His tube set ups are nuts, I don’t always hit all of them cause sometimes they are fucked, but I think we all have something to offer.
Right, and that’s probably why it works. It’s like the perfect storm – insane filmer/photographer who’s so precise and has a vision. Then you’ve got Marcus who is a wildman and Dylan who is so insanely talented, and then you’re not scared to go huge.
Yeah, I think when you get us all in a room we all can get in that same mindset, and that’s when we can get really productive. Some days we all get there and are asking, what do you want to do? We try a few things and none of it works out. That happens all the time. That’s not the Yawgoons, that’s just how it is.
Oh Canada day! photo: Brooke Geery
That’s the real world, speaking of which, you’re a lifeguard in the summer?
Yeah, so I’ve been lifeguarding for eight years, which is pretty dope. It’s definitely a second passion. I think if for some crazy horrible reason I had to stop snowboarding tomorrow, I would definitely think about packing up shop and moving to a crazy beach and becoming a full time lifeguard. I love the beach and I love the ocean and I love the whole first responder aspect of it – being able to swim through crazy surf and stuff like that. I really love it, it’s something that is pretty close to me.
Are you able to lifeguard all summer and then take the winters off?
When I graduated high school in 2010, I went right into lifeguarding and I would work all fall, and then take my winters off and when mountains started closing in the spring go back to the beach. Maybe work a couple odd jobs here and there. This past year I just worked one day at a restaurant back home in Rhode Island – Manatuk Oyster Bar – what up – just because I really liked working there. Now I’m just lifeguarding and traveling for the summer.
Sounds like you’re living the dream.
Yeah I’m living the dream. It’s nice. I get to do two things that I really love doing. I love snowboarding and I want to snowboard for the rest of my life and I love lifeguarding just as much. So that’s pretty much the dream. And I’m not in debt!
Right, why did you decide against going to college?
I was supposed to go to college and that would have been a crazy point in my life. I was supposed to Colorado and go do photography and graphic design, and then I got an opportunity from my friends Ryan Mathes, Sullivan Brownhill and Sean Overend and they were like, hey we’re gonna move to Mt. Snow, VT. Carinthia was on the cusp, it was just starting to get crazy – and they were like, we’d be down to have a forth roommate. I had just got done looking at school in Colorado and I was up in the air, so I opted out of going to school. I felt like I was gonna end up not in school and snowboarding at the mountain every day instead because I had Buttermilk/Aspen 25 minutes down the road. But instead I moved to Vermont and I lived there for three years and after first year up there they put me on the Carinthia Parks team, which was sick, because then I didn’t have to buy a $1300 pass! I lived up there for a couple more years – one year I lived in a big house with tons of people and then next year I was over that, and when back to living in a nice house with one roommate. And then after that I moved back to Rhode Island, out of all the things I thought I was gonna do, I moved back to the place I originally started to snowboard, which is think is awesome because it’s where it all began.
It is awesome that you can go to Rhode Island and snowboard. People talk about how inaccessible snowboarding is, but it’s not if you live somewhere with a little hill like Yawgoo right down the street. You can make it happen if you want to.
I have friends in Rhode Island that do not go to Yawgoo. They’ve been there like twice in their lives, but they’ll like drive to Vermont a few times a month. I guess you gotta be a little bit committed and willing the make the drive. But in Rhode Island it’s sick because there is snow and there is a place to learn how to snowboard and ski and you just gotta go there.
Tell me about the Thumbulator at Mt. Snow.
The Thumbulator is the shit. It’s a pretty gnarly contest as a whole, it is a big party, it’s right off the side of one of the trails called the Thumb. It’s a really narrow trail with power lines and really tight trees and branches everywhere. I don’t know what year we’re on now, but it’s been happening for a really long time. There’s two thumbs, out of rocks, one for male and one for females up for grabs. It’s a snake run, bmx thing. There’s a middle section where everyone’s partying at and that’s where you get speed for the massive jump at the bottom. At the very base is a massive backflip jump – well that’s what I do. Like 50 backflips in a day. It’s all about who can touch the power lines and I’ve touched em! It’s a big party and everyone’s going crazy. When you land something people throw beers at you to drink em. It’s dope, it’s the best event that I’ve been to. And it’s not a contest, it’s a time to shred with your friends and have fun, but everyone wants to get that rock, which I’ve never gotten. Still working on it. Maybe some day.
Photo Eric Hoffman/Yawgoons.com
What’s the biggest difference you notice between the East and West coast?
I’ve only really been to Brighton, that is the only place that I can say I’ve really snowboarded. I haven’t been to California – Bear or Mammoth, and I’ve only snowboarded in Colorado once midweek by myself, but when I went to Brighton is was sick. Super tight homeys, everyone is trying to shred and have fun. The East Coast you just make the best out of everything. The East Coast provides a little more of a go-getter attitude. Like sometimes you’ll go to bed and the weather forecast is for sunny and 30 degrees but then you wake up and its 20 and cloudy. But you get to the mountain and you take a couple laps and maybe take some actual time to hike something. But I haven’t experienced enough time on the West coast to really say.
I feel like people can get a little jaded on the West Coast, because when it’s good it’s really good, so it’s easy to just stay in bed when it’s not.
Yeah but when I lived in Vermont sometimes it would snow a foot and I would wake up like, I can’t ride the park, I’m staying in bed! Unless we wanna go ride street I’m not going to the mountain. Mt. Snow is the best park, but it’s kinda flat for powder. Especially the first year in Vermont my roommates would be banging on the door trying to make me get up and I was like, man, let me sleep. I got up at 8 the other day because it was bluebird and kinda warm. Leave me alone! But now I try and shred pow. I’m still a park rat at heart though – I grew up at Yawgoo riding rails.
Whistler vs Mt. Hood in the summer?
Whistler all day. 1) Canada is the shit and Whistler is the absolute shit. If you haven’t been there and you’ve only been to Hood you literally can’t talk. Gov’y is cool, but it’s not, because you’re in the middle of nowhere. You can go do things. You can’t go get a nice dinner in Gov’y, but in Whistler if you’re feeling like eating a really nice dinner you can go get sushi or the steakhouse or Italian food. In Gov’y all there is to do is go skate, and I don’t really skateboard. You can’t go swimming in Gov’y, especially as a camper. Up in Whistler you get off the mountain and you’re like, I wanna go swimming, I wanna go fishing, I wanna go have a beer outside and chill, you can do that. The routine of Hood is pretty much always the same, where everyone I know in Whistler tells me, “my schedule is never the same.? Sometimes you can drive down two hours to Vancouver, which is a dope city. I guess you can do that at Hood, but it doesn’t happen as much.
Yeah at Hood you snowboard all day and then you get down and get a Cobra dog, take a nap, get drunk at Charlies, then repeat.
Yeah, Whistler doesn’t sleep it seems. People go snowboarding until two and then they go swimming or skating and then they go mountain biking until 8 at night because it’s so bright up there. And then they get up and go party all night, and then they get up and do it again. I love that, why wouldn’t I want to do that? You’re an outdoorsman if you live in Whistler. You’re about being outdoors if you live there and you’re encouraged to do all that. That’s another thing I love about Camp of Champions. You’re your own adult whether you’re 15 years old or not, that’s just the vibe and I love the way it operates.
The Stinky Fam. Photo Geery.
Shout outs? Sponsors?
Definitely shout out to my Mom, Ann Colleen, great lady. Definitely Dylan Gamache, Marcus Rand, Mary Rand, Brendan Gouin and Andrew Racine. Blue Montgomery, Mark Dangler, Johan Malkoski at Capita. Riley Goodwin and George Kleckner from Union. Brad Schuefelle at Coal. Big shout out to Stephen Duke at Von Zipper, Ryan Winters and Risto at Stinky Socks. Dave Franz and Dylan Demers from Mt. Snow. High Def Jeff and all the 32 dudes.