Photography and Interview by RC Cone
I made a trip to Lost Trail Powder Mountain in Sula, Montana recently, home of Will Moss and the LTPark crew. Lost Trail was closed, but Will, the marketing manager at the resort, brought out the sleds for laps on a mountain filled with pillow lines, chutes, powder parks, super-ish parks, really anything one could imagine. Along with being a bomber photographer, editor, and journalist: Will is actually pretty ok at snowboarding, for a 30 year old. He’s not 30 yet (August), but with his recent announcement that he’s moving to New York for an assistant editing position at a major television network, I was stunned by his voluntary, so-called responsible maneuvering to a completely different lifestyle. It made me think about the future of snowboarding in my own life. Do I turn 30 and get issued a suit and tie to chase a career? Do real-world people have fun without snowboarding? If I stick to snowboarding past 30, do I end up like The Dude? I thought Will might have some insight to my quandaries:
Will, what happens when you love snowboarding and turn 30?
I don’t think it’s as bad as people might think. Ya know, I had more fun this winter than I had any winter previously and it seems to go that way pretty much every year. It’s weird to think that I’m about to be old. But, I don’t feel that way. I think over the last couple years snowboarding has become more important than it ever has before. I don’t know if it’s just because as you grow old you need something to help you retain your youth or what.
If it keeps getting better and better every year, why are you walking away from it?
I’m not walking away from snowboarding. I am going to continue to snowboard. I’m not going to have the freedom I’ve had in the past to really get after it. I think it’s going to become even more important now, it’s the best release that I have in my life. It’s the easiest and most surefire way to having a great time and it’s definitely not something I’m leaving behind. I guess you start to feel guilty for having too much fun, so that’s one thing that’s going to change. I feel I’ve put in a lot of good seasons on the snowboard and even though I feel like I’m getting stronger, you still get to that point where you realize you’re never going to be sponsored in the traditional sense. At the same time you realize that’s not why you ever started snowboarding in the first place. Because it’s fun, and it’s still fun.
Almost 30 and still jibbing trees.
When participating in watercooler conversations at your new job, you can’t exactly talk about how sick the deep gnar pow was and how stoked you are because of it. I mean, basically, what ARE you going to talk about?
Well, A. As far as watercoolers, I don’t drink a whole lot of water, so I might just be passing by but, you know, whatever is on TV, Dancing With the Stars. I get pretty serious about that stuff. I’m definitely going to brag. Whether or not people want to hear about it I’m definitely going to brag about how amazing the snowboard culture is out west, and how much better it is than out east. I’m probably not going to make a lot of friends doing that but this has been pretty much the biggest part of my life for a decade, so it’s going to be tough to not to talk about it and not go there. I guess I’ll be talking about what people talk about out east, in corporate America: the NASDAQ, probably going to have to familiarize myself with the Dow Jones and the CK Markets in Japan. I’m really looking forward to it.
Tell me about the ‘golden shred years’, 18 – 29.75, the ones you’ll remember fondly as a crusty, rich, conservative media mogul…
The golden years of the shred: I feel super lucky. I feel really really lucky to have had the time and the opportunity to put as much energy and effort into just being able having fun on a snowboard. I started snowboarding at 14, and I thought I was pretty hot when I started snowboarding in Montana at like 20. I started working for the ski school at Lost Trail and learned that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was and kind of started over, and got a lot better. I have gotten the opportunity to work with some really awesome people and basically create a freestyle culture in a rural area that wasn’t there before. That’s probably the coolest part about the last decade or so, the consecutive years of work that I’ve gotten to be apart of as far as building this freestyle mentality in the Bitterroot Valley in western Montana.
Another awesome part has been a transition into the backcountry. I split my first snowboard 4-5 years ago, and I’ve always been someone who likes to get out into the wilderness and being able to combine that with snowboarding is just amazing. I’ve had plenty of amazing resort days, but my most memorable days that I’ve had in the past 5 years are just a couple of buddies all alone out in the middle of nowhere.
Being able to do it all, being able to the do backcountry stuff, being able to do the freestyle stuff, the retarded powder days, and to have such a tight knit group of friends that I’ve been able to share all that with. It’s hard to leave them and realize that that period is over. There’s no other way I would’ve spent my 20’s, putting all that effort, time, and money I really didn’t have or could afford into something that is just so rewarding.
A lot of 30 year olds are not this limber. Thanks snowboarding!
Lost Trail is obviously awesome, why do YOU feel so partial towards it? Do you feel your shred experience has been influenced differently by living in such a rural place as compared to a Truckee, Portland, etc…
Lost Trail probably had the biggest impact in my life. I started working there in 2003 and immediately found the most amazing little ski community tucked up in the middle of nowhere. One of my best friends in the world, Andy Shultze, started in the ski school a year before me and I think the first day I was working he came up and shoved me, asked what level of instructor I was, was kind of being an ass and we immediately became friends. I think making those connections so quickly and being welcomed so easily into that community really just put me in that position to want to stay there and contribute. Over the last 8 years, I’ve gone from working in the ski school to working in the terrain park and working with the media and then this last season I’ve worked full-time doing their marketing. Every year I felt more at home, I could be living in Missoula, but somehow I found myself living in a town of 40 people solely because its the closest town to Lost Trail. It’s that awesome of a place, it’s got this local draw. It’s the kind of place where the management is laid back so there is a lot of freedom to be progressive there. Even though it’s such a small rural place, you don’t have the corporate powers looking over your shoulder every move. There was a lot of times when we had run of the place.
Over the years I’ve been to a lot of these snowboard/ski hotbeds California, Oregon, etc… where the industry actually lives, and I was always have a lot of fun but coming back to Lost Trail is always such a great feeling. The freedom that you have at a small resort is unmatched by anything that you find at some ready-built scene. LT’s scene, it’s nothing crazy, but we’ve built something there and I can’t tell you how rewarding that feeling is. I see these kids that were just little gaper groms 5 years ago and because of how we sparked that scene, those kids are good. They’re way better than me now and that’s awesome.
Are you going to slay urban powdah next winter? What ARE your plans for the shred? How does this new job fit into your long-term snowboarding goals?
Urban shredding scares the shit out of me for the most part, and when I see the stuff that’s coming out from an eastern based production companies, it’s a crazy game over there. It’s going to be interesting, I’m not going to have a lot of time, I’ll be working a ton, but I’m definitely going to make time to travel around and get familiar with the snowboarding community in the New England area. I’m definitely not going to be getting 80-100+ days on a snowboard, but I feel like the days I do get out, it’ll make them that much more important. I am going to be snowboarding the rest of my life, whether that means I get 5 weekends on some flat, icy hill out east, or whether that means I’m living in a van when I’m 40 at Jackson or something: its always going to be a big part of my life. I will find ways to go snowboarding. Who knows, maybe I’ll become some hesh street rat.
It’s ok to shoot a rock trick when your subject is a marketing dude, not a pro, right?
Seriously though, is ending up like The Dude such a bad thing?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that as long as your not fooling yourself. If you’re 30 years old and still sending in sponsor-me videos, I mean maybe you’re almost there, but at some point you have to be ok with what snowboarding is now in your life. If snowboarding is still something makes you feel cool, and makes you feel like you’re young and doing something that’s honest and makes you feel alive, I say go for it. For me, I want to make some money so I can have more opportunities to explore other places to snowboard around the world. If you think you can do it without making that sacrifice, then do it, its the greatest thing in the world.
We’d like to wish Will good luck in his adventures into the East and hope that he sends picture when he achieves hesh street rat status. But just so he never forgets what he left…
Keep up with the happenings at LT Park at http://www.ltpark.com/
See more of RC Cone’s work at rccone.com