This week I catch up with two stars of a generation in Hyland Hills history. Two kids who rip: Billy Bjork and Robbie Roethler, They left their handprints on Hyland’s snowboard scene through popular edits, insane parts, killing the park every day (and night) and of course, the legendary 40 minutes of park footy that is the Wildcard movie. Today, we learn what they got from Hyland and where they are now.
When did you guys start riding, and did you start at Hyland?
R: I started riding Hyland when I was 3 actually, got into snowboarding when I was 7 and been shredding ever since.
B: Same exact thing with me. Rob and I weren’t really homies until high school though I remember being jealous of (Rob) because (Rob) learned backflips before I did.
What is the coolest part about Hyland?
R: I feel like the best part about Hyland was the balance between being able to take endless laps and seeing the boys at the hill day AND night.
B: The hot laps are definitely my favorite part about it. Being able to try the same trick 100 times in an hour is pretty awesome, and it’s also pretty convenient for filming.
Collectively, did you like your years riding Hyland?
R: Hyland really taught me how to love snowboarding. I feel like I owe Hyland for all the progress I’ve made in that 300 foot radius. Not only as a snowboarder but also as a human being, which also in part goes to my coaches.
B: Couldn’t have asked for a better place to grow up riding. I miss it sometimes, but it’s always going to be cool going back to see how it’s changed. Hyland was a completely different place when we started riding there as kids, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens to it in the future.
I would say you guys were/are famous (in a way) when it comes to Hyland, what do you think?
R: I’m honored to hear that honestly. Personally, I believe that the spotlight should remain on the real legends like Tommy Gesme, Brady Lem, Joe Sexton. I think Billy really changed the game as well throughout his time there.
B: When I think of “famous” guys out of Hyland, the names that come to mind are like Danimals, Fronius, Jake OE, and all those dudes. Whenever they’re all back taking laps it’s kind of like seeing a famous person. I just hope I’ve been a good influence in the way that they were for me. I think it’s cool how each generation of Hyland learns from the last in terms of style and stuff like that. I think that’s part of the reason why midwest riders are pretty recognizable among others.
Billy just hanging out.
Where are you guys now?
R: Chillin in my apartment at Westminster, playing Irish poker with the boys. Shouts out the Portal
B: In a random parking lot in LA, don’t ask me why.
What are you doing for snowboarding? Still riding?
R: Currently riding for the team at Westminster. Really just doing as much as I can to make a name for myself.
B:I make it out to Bear and Mammoth when I can, but it’s tough because I’m so busy with class and stuff now, and I don’t have a car out in LA. I’m not really competing anymore, but I’m trying to stay involved. I’m starting to focus a lot more on filming now.
If you could go back to riding Hyland as a home hill, would you?
R: At this point in my life I couldn’t say I would rather be anywhere other than SLC. I miss Hyland a lot but it was the place to be growing up rather than living out my years.
B: If there was somehow a Hyland Hills in LA that would be the dream. Looking back, we were so lucky to be able to ride Hyland every day, so it’s kind of weird not being able to ride as much now. It’s always fun going to bigger mountains and stuff, but at the end of the day, Hyland is where I have the most fun.
What do you think of the next generation at Hyland?
R: Some of the kids at Hyland are insane, Lukas Caye, Nick Belbas, AJ Ronning, they’re really stepping up and it’s sick to see the young guns putting your own hyland edits to shame.
B: From what I saw when I was back in January, kids are getting pretty nuts. They’ve all got pretty good style too. Some of the really young kids are already killing the style game and there are some pretty rad filmers on the come up which makes me happy.
Robbie can also do that trick.
Do you like Utah/Cali?
R: Utah has been amazing. I’m living the dream out here and it isn’t getting old. I’d have to say the biggest downfall of moving out here though was leaving my friends and lacrosse behind. Other than that, all I have to complain about are inversions (smog trapped in the valley due to change in weather).
B: Loving it so far. There’s definitely a different vibe than Minnesota and that’s taken some getting used to, but I think it’s a pretty good fit for me. I do kind of miss having seasons though. Like it was so weird walking outside in the middle of January and not seeing snow on the ground.
Do you think growing up riding Hyland denied more opportunities or gave more opportunities?
R: I don’t think Billy could’ve said it better, Hyland made me the snowboarder I am today. I’m so thankful to have gotten to take laps all day and all night on top of a 15 minute commute to the hill. Hyland also had a great vibe, there’s nothing like going to snowboard by yourself having no doubt you’ll have 5-10 people to ride with when you get there.
B: Definitely gave us more opportunities in my opinion. I think the main thing is the mindset we developed riding Hyland. Snowboarding is so much about being creative and making the most out of what you’re provided, and Hyland really forced us to do that. It’s also a huge advantage to be able to ride at night. Going after school every day was the best thing ever.
So, Wildcard got a lot of hate, what was life like after that?
R:Haha a lot of park footy can be a lot to handle and you can’t please everybody. Billy has always done an amazing job with his edits. Life’s been good haha thank for asking.
B: Hahaha yeah it got a ton of hate, I’m actually glad I did. I was like 15 or 16 when I made it so I hadn’t really learned a lot of the things that I know now about making snowboard videos. If it didn’t get any hate, I wouldn’t have learned from it. I definitely came back the next season with a different approach, and I think it helped a lot. FIlming is a lot like snowboarding in that there’s always something more to be learned and it’s always a continuous process of improvement.
How’s film school and Mammoth/Bear?
B: It’s been awesome so far. At first I was skeptical about studying film in an academic environment but it makes sense to me now. It’s really helping me think differently about how I approach filming snowboarding and the other videos I make. There’s also a rad crew that stays at a house in Mammoth pretty much every weekend, so I’ve been trying to make it up as much as I can.
Robbie in the white room.
Rob, how’s Utah, riding for Westminster and filming with ETP?
R: Westminster hooks it up. I got to do a lot of snowboarding this year because of the team. The trips to Colorado, California and New York were a blast. THe portal has been *100 emoji*. Filming with the squad is really what sparked my passion for snowboarding.
Do you guys wanna stick with snowboarding?
R: duh, I can’t really think of anything else that brings me more enjoyment. Not gonna stop now.
B: Gonna be snowboard as long as my body will let me. Not really pushing myself as hard as I used to with tricks and everything, but yeah of course I’m going to keep snowboarding, Someday I’ll be that dad riding the Hyland rope with his kid.
R: Hyland, Guf, Westminster, Chris Owens, Billy, Cal, ECL, and really anybody who’s supported me as a snowboarder. And Scotty P and finally, burritos.
B: Shout out Pancheros, Guf, and my boi Scotty P ( @scottyprocks )
Which pro do you think the other person’s riding style matches?
R: (About Billy) I feel like Billy is the healthy mix between Seb Toots and Zak Hale
B: (About Rob) Lol shit, not a huge fan of either. Rob is Dillon Ojo, and not just because he’s black. Actually no, combo of Dillon Ojo and Spencer Schubert.
Worst trend in snowboarding?
R: When people’s jump game is way better than their rail game. Also Mute grabs.
B: I can’t think of one
Trend Prediction for next year?
R: Cuffing jackets like people cuff their snowpants
B: Powder boards in the streets