Interview by Justin Phipps, photos by Ben Birk and Danny Kern courtesy Benny Milam
Benny Milam is easily one of the rippingest up and coming riders out there. While kids from the Midwest tend to be the best at rails and street and Benny’s got that, but he can slay jumps too. Walking comfortably in the footsteps of some huge Midwest riders, the future years are looking bright for 17-year-old Benny. The interview was a quick hitter and it’s a fast read for even the shortest of attention spans. We talked a little about contests, academies, trends, and the expectations of what comes next in snowboarding for him.
JP: So what are you up to right now?
Benny: Ha I’m at a hockey game…
JP: I saw you were out filming with Halldor the other day?
Benny: haha yeah Halldor, Sage Kotsenburg and Joe Carlino were in town for like a week so I went out with them and like showed them around a little bit. It was tight.
JP: Let’s give the audience a little information here, how old are you, how long you been strapped in, and where’s your home?
Benny: I’m 17 year old, I’ve been strapped in.. 12 years or so? and my home mountain is Wild Mountain, Minnesota.
JP: Who got you into snowboarding and how did you get hooked on it?
Benny: When I was little I got a snowboard for Christmas. My brother and I would always go out and ride in the back yard. My dad finally took us to Trollhaugen and I remember sitting there on the park and watching kids rip around. I thought it was the coolest thing.
JP: Do you still go to school or do you have some sort of other plan for that, and are there any challenges between snowboarding and school?
Benny: Yeah! I do online school right now, I kinda slack on it a lot, but I always end up getting kind of good grades. But, yeah, I haven’t been in school since the 2nd grade, so it’s been awhile.
JP: What’s the best part about competing in the Rev Tour stops?
Benny: It’s pretty fun just to be able to ride with different kids from all over. I get to ride real jumps and different rails. It’s also super tight to be able to ride with different kids from all over the place.
JP: Yeah.. So how was the Hot Dawgs and Handrails comp? There are some really heavy hitters at that thing! What was it like ripping around in front of all those snowboarders and industry crowd?
Benny: It was super fun! It was like one of the funnest contests I’ve ever done. Kind of intimidating because there were just so many heavy hitters. Everything was like so big, but yeah it was a blast!
JP: There are lots of kids doing the snow academy thing and get on the hill every day. Have you ever, once in awhile, felt like you would become even more productive if you were?
Benny: Haha I’ve never really thought about it. Almost every resort in Minnesota has lights so it’s pretty easy to ride a lot here. The only cool part about going to a snowboard academy would be to hit bigger and better jumps.
JP: Where do you see yourself in five years with snowboarding?
Benny: Hmm, I don’t know. I feel like I’ll probably still be filming video parts. Probably will be filming more, that’s like one of the more fun things to do, just getting out there and riding and filming with all the homies.
JP: The Midwest has a history of producing amazing street talent, so do you feel any pressure to try and maybe add your own chapter or add to that story?
Benny: A little bit, yeah. Seeing all your friends putting out pretty good parts, it gets me hyped! When I watch or hear about one of my friends getting a hammer, It makes me feel the pressure for sure, but at the same time I’m super hyped.
JP: What mountains do you look forward to riding most when you come out West?
Benny: I really like Mammoth, it’s pretty much always warm there and the rails slide really bomb. They also have some of the best jumps in the county. Usually when I go there I have a super good time lapping with the boys.
JP: Yeah so do you ever plan on moving out West or do you like it better in the Midwest?
Benny: Yeah, maybe in the next couple of years, I’m not too sure yet but maybe. It might be good to relocate but the Midwest is tight. It would be a cool experience to move out somewhere else.
JP: So do you ever get bored riding Trollhaugen EVERY day? How do you keep it refreshing?
Benny: Um, yeah sometimes. There is another resort called Wild mountain which is like 10 minutes away from Troll. I’ll ride Troll for a little bit in the morning and then head over to Wild Mountain in the afternoons. It’s pretty cool to have 2 resorts so close to each other.
JP: What’s the most consecutive hours or days you’ve ridden Troll?
Benny: Maybe like from like 9am until 10 at night? Haha I don’t really keep track.
JP: Let’s talk about the standard kit in Minnesota, what does that look like?
Benny: haha the standard kit is pretty hesh. The standard kit has been changing a lot but right now the big phase is track pants. A lot of kids wear those.
JP: What snowboard trends are you into at the moment and what would be some you’d like to see go away?
Benny: Ha I’m not really into any trends right now. I’m just not a very trendy person haha.
JP: I notice you’re also filming and editing, maybe talk about this a little bit.
Benny: yeah I’ve always been into filming and editing. My brother and I used to do it a lot. It’s always been fun to me.
Benny: Shout out to My parents. I wouldn’t be anywhere without them. Shout out to all my sponsors, Mike Petit at the Youth Shelter Supply, Dan Tyler and Derek Combs at Cryptic, Emmet Klocker and all the Troll homies!