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Raul Pinto via Satellite for Hump Day

Raul- Lifers Project silver print

Raul Pinto may not be a name you immediately recognize in the snowboard world; but you should probably listen to what the guy has to say. Raul, and his business partner JG Mazzotta, have built one of the more successful shops in the industry (Satellite). Raul has been a part of this game since way back and has his finger firmly planted on the pulse of the industry. Satellite has done a TON here in Colorado to grow snowboarding and skateboarding the right way by listening to the people who give a shit about skating and riding, maintaining a team of shop sponsored riders, and developing things like the LoveGames in the winter and Ride with Us skate tour in the summer. He’s the real deal and proves once again that you don’t have to be a household name to be a legend.

When did you start snowboarding?

1990? Or as we call it the glory days.

Why did you choose to get into retail?

So random! The short story. Our club house, “Brothers boards” was closing my partner JG had the idea and I just figured I could help… But it wasn’t my idea. I was recruited by Travis Towe our graphic designer now. He helped plant the seed.

You said before that people always ask you what snowboarding needs, and your reply is always what it doesn’t need; but what are you seeing today that you want to see more of?

Snowboarders taking ownership of their industry.. And doing it in a professional manner.. Take a fucking community college course organize your shit. Read a book and look at some other industries to make our shit better. And above all, be creative and inventive.

Why do you feel it’s important to keep major commercial interests out of snowboarding?

They have their place but the tastemakers need to steer the ship, those relationships should be geared to help creativity happen not stifle it.

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What’s changed from when you started riding?

Everything! Except SNOWBAORDING is still rad! And right now the new bloods remind me more of back then than ever before. It’s so sick to watch!

What’s changed in the industry since you first opened your shop?

Number one. Distribution. Now you can buy a snowboard from whomever. There is a high probability the board you buy will be sold to you by somebody who has never even ridden a snowboard, much less have any knowledge.

Why do you think it is important for a shop to have a team of riders?

You need to have that youth driven attitude for it to evolve and change. The industry needs it more than the shops. But the shops need those tastemakers to influence their friends and get people wanting to be a part of it.  A good team spreads the stoke thick like butter!

Do you see any parallels between skateboarding and snowboarding from an industry perspective?

For sure! 80’s vert era to the 1/2 pipe downfall…big biz jumping in and skewing its direction.
90’s small wheels and tech, to triple corks… Progression vs style.
They are all necessary growing pains, people just forget snowboarding isn’t that old. Much to learn! But it’s in a great place and what is shaking to the surface is a lifestyle an image that kids and adults can relate and want to be a part of – it encompasses Freeride, freestyle, travel adventure and family.. Much like surfing and skating have evolved.

That is to say, skateboarding seems to have balanced staying true to its core while maintaining some presence in the mainstream without becoming the weird spectacle that competitive snowboarding has become.
Don’t get it twisted.. It has its issues too. But what skateboarding has overall is community. That group is tight enough to keep things in check. Someone calls bullshit on anything out of line. Snowboarding could use a little more of that. It’s needs its voice back.

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Do you feel like we need to re-visit the layout and design of slopestyle courses?

Yeah it should always change. It’s already happening the public is demanding different, Creative parks etc.. But that takes time. It has its stringent 3 jump, two rail line for comps. But if you want the masses to ride you just gotta give them a good set up and the mountain.. The average person would be thrilled to ride the hill with confidence and power. But the way things are sold most people will be lucky if they make it to the bottom much less get buck on some wild park feature. Satellite just wants to make great snowboarders.

Should we still hate skiers?
Hell no, skiing is sick! You know how fast you can go on those things with two edges. I’ve never skied but I know you can rip the shit out of those cut in 1/2 snowboards..

But cannibalizing our two of three events…bullshit! Events that snowboarders fought hard to get recognized and even respected on a competition level. Terrain that snowboarders fought hard to get built. ( Park and pipes) ones that show style and creativity only to get partitioned off to skiing as another event.

I’ve been curious if pipe riding became so uncool that all the riders were like “fuck it, Let’s race gates!” would world cup skiing would make a category? Snowboarding aerials?! Bahaaa we are almost there.
Skiing is skiing and it should just step off the tip! Give it some room and some fair playing space. From “ski school” to the notion that a little kids needs to learn to ski before he/she shreds. Let’s us do our thing and if you wanna play on our team I’ll strap you up.

You own one of the more successful shops in the industry. What have you done right? What (if anything) would you have done differently?

The best partner ever Jg Mazzotta. No chance without him. The best staff.  Past and present. Always evolve. Learn from mistakes. Both Jg and I were exposed to some amazing shops growing up and going into Satellite we wanted to address the vibe (always positive) and the experience (helpful/ educational) but we also learned a lot looking at other industries, knowing that customer service is paramount.
Differently..? I don’t think I would change much. No matter what biz bs tries to cause some drama, it’s just snowboarding.. So it’s all good!

Tell us a crazy story from ‘back in the day’ that still makes you laugh when you think about it.

Well my favorite JG story to tell is when a kid shoplifted pants by replacing his on the rack then walking out. But he left his phone and we knew his friend so we called him told him if he didn’t come back and pay for em that we were gonna call the cops.
He came back with the pants. But wearing different pants. Paid for em then Jg said “you gotta take ur pants off and leave those here” he was like “what?! But I just paid for em.” Jg said, “I can always call the cops.”
Kid took his pants off.  I don’t know who was more embarrassed, The kid or his friend. So kid left with a tall t stretched around his knees to cover his tighty whiteys having paid for the pants. That we got to keep and sell again. And we kept the pair he left to steal in first place and the pants he was wearing when he walked in. Margin building! That’s how you stay in business!
“That’s some Satellite family Mazzotta mafia shit”
Another kid who tried to steal from us got his leg crushed in the door and I’m sure still walks with a limp but that’s another story 😉

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Satellite basically started up the ‘LoveGames’. Please explain why you felt it was important to develop and host such an event? What can we look forward to in the future from the ‘LoveGames’.

Well first off it does not take place at a resort and is “not an event” wink! Wink! it’s just a random time of year when people build and ride natural features that have been ridden for years in the side country.

If you started riding in the last decade then you grew up riding features that have been built for progression. But creativity sometimes gets lost. There is something about riding natural terrain and using the mt. In fact it makes a better rider.. There is so much great riding in Colorado, but it sometimes gets dwarfed by X Games, Dew Tours, it’s part of the rider disconnect that I spoke of.  The event is meant to be more accessible to snowboarders and build that community.. Not to mention the education and history that’s so great about Colorado. It’s always a mystery what you will get at Lovegames but it will always be snowboarding..

It’s no secret that we here at Yobeat like to poke fun at Colorado and the scene here; but you chose to set up your business here and you’ve made Colorado your home for many years, so it begs the question, what keeps you in Colorado when there are other parts of the west that offer better terrain, more snow, and less crowds.

When you’re top dog you’re gonna get shit on.. Colorado is a huge state with a lot of terrain. From a business standpoint.. you are talking about 12 million skier/rider per year.. “Bookoo Dolores amigo”!
All being made by skiers…

The style, the trends that YoBeat does such an amazing job at poking fun at is where snowboarding is distributed thru..That’s the broken part of it, nobody to keep it in check , nobody to say “that shit sucks” just some sporting goods store selling another piece of equipment. No culture, no community.
That challenge is why we are posted up!

As a state .. Well just give us the opportunity to show Yobeat

Countless backcountry (virtually untouched), side country (for more novice riders) every level of park and pipe. A season that begins in October and ends sometimes in July. It is a mecca of snow sports.,
Colorado is to snowboarding what Southern California is to surfing. But without all the independent surf shops putting people in check. Currently the likely hood of you coming to Colorado and getting gear from a sporting good store is 99%. Satellite has been pinned against independent shops. But we have always made it very clear that we only want big boxes dollar so we can grow snowboarding.
Know who you buy your shit from support a snowboard shop. Riders buying their boards from skiers.. It’s insane 😉
that’s what we should be making fun of… But this is part of my why colorado is rad..

Silverton.. Steep deep and way beyond an expertise level in most states.
Telluride.. Steep and beyond scenic
Red mt pass.. Watch any old video .. It went down in CO.
Steamboat .. always consistent with powder
Monarch.. A secret I didn’t even ride until just a few years ago..
Wolfcreek.. Deep and almost untouched

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Anything else you’d like to add? Shoutouts? Etc….

The entire Satellite crew from employees to Teamsatellite, you are responsible for moving the needle.. And the loyal customers that keep coming back and helping us grow! Yelp about us and use technology to change our lifestyle into something we control.

Just another old crusty fuck.
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Comments (37)

  1. #keepsnowboardingsnowboarding

     
  2. Raul and JG are the shit. Thanks for keeping snowboarding in the hands of snowboarders.

     
  3. WTF does “putting people in check” even fucking mean anyways?
    Snowboards in all actuality are and have basically been the same for the last 5-7 years…they’re a touch lighter, maybe some have a channel, some have some rocker…..but no real advancements. Buying brand new gear from an overpriced shop so you can stay looking cool is stupid as fuck. Save your cash so yiu can ride more. The only way it makes sense to to to a shop and get your ego stroked is if you don’t know what the fuck you’re buying and or you can afford to do so and need the ego stroking. Online is cheaper and better in most all regard….what I’ve found is I know more than 90% than shop employees……they bring little in the way of value.

     
    • If you knew more than 90% of shop employees then you would know what MAP pricing is which would mean that you know that unless youre buying last years stuff then the prices should be the same at the shop or online for the majority of the season. You should also know that when you buy online not one dollar goes back into the community. Lets set aside the benefit to the boarding community like sponsoring events, riders, give aways, clinics, demos, etc that all benefit local snowboarders and skater and take a look at the other community. When you buy something at a locally owned shop then those owners not only pay their local employees and local taxes (which pay for your services, roads, etc) they also spend their money on buying groceries, cars, renting or buying a place to live, clothes at stores, doctors when theyre sick, food at restaurants, and all the other businesses that you, your friends, and your family work at and depend on money flowing into to maintain a living. I’m sure you knew that though. After that lets take a look at the introduction to snowboarding. If you only buy your stuff online then you likely have nobody helping you find the right gear. Now i know thats not a problem for you because you know it all but for the beginner they will often buy the wrong item based on the wrong factors and that makes for a bad experience. If people have a bad experience then they dont want to continue snowboarding. When they dont want to continue then snowboarding loses a life long customer. When you lose that customer then the money goes with them and the ripple effect shuts down companies which will leave the internet sale houses with nothing to sell and will eventually leave you alone on your computer with nothing to buy. Purchasing strictly online is a solitary experience. Local shops (the good ones, because i know there are bad ones too) are doing more than selling gear, they are creating a community and welcoming people into it so they can share the experience and enjoy snowboarding and skating with others. I know that may not be important to you but it is important to the longevity of theses lifestyles. Since you already knew that then that means you must not give a fuck and if you dont give a fuck about snowboarding and skateboarding then go away. If you do care then take a minute to understand the value of shopping locally goes far beyond the $20 you save buying your shit online.

       
      • Jason,

        Your shop Blue & Gold has an online store.

        Why don’t you support shops like Satellite, The Youth Shelter, Milo, and Darkside who also sell products online?

        Does your statement “You should also know that when you buy online not one dollar goes back into the community.” still hold true?

         
        • Ummmm…..pretty sure Borgestede was siding with Satellite. Maybe it’s the language barrier that has you confused?

           
        • Well Japan, if you knew Alaska then you would know that there is a huge bush(rural) community that has no access to local shops. The online store was set up so that people all throughout Alaska can support a local shop and get good gear without having to pay twice as much as the product on shipping which is so common up here. So, yes the not one dollar goes back into the community remains true because that is the idea behind the online store.

           
        • Japan, yes my shop has an online store. I do support the shops. My whole rant was that people should support their local shops. My rant was against the online discount houses. I cant speak for most of the small shops but for me, our online site is a tiny revenue maker, not the core of the business model. My online store serves more as a way for locals to browse the shop from their home or phone. It’s also a way for Alaskans that live outside of AK to get shop gear or support the shop where they came from. The main thing to take away from what I said is that I hope you see the value in supporting those places, stores, and people that support you and your community.

           
  4. wonder why so many of those backcountry spots are “virtually untouched”…

     
  5. great CO. RULES …good to see somebody STAND tall for COLARADO …. SICK OF THE OREGON HATERS RIPPING ON THE STATE THEN CALLING YOU A HATER IF YOU LIKE CO.

     
  6. I’ve heard a story about a kid who stole some sunglasses, hahaha lol!! 😀

     

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