If you pay attention to snowboarding and snowboard videos, you’ve probably heard of Dylan Thompson. The FODT staple has been killing it for years. But a little while back, another Dylan Thompson kept popping up, Tahoe-based and nothing like the first. As he’s begun to make a name for himself as a COMUNE rider, artist and general soul shredder, this latter Dylan Thompson has wisely begun going by a different moniker. Not that this Hump Day is really about this name, but just wanted to clear up any confusion before we get started…
Isn’t your name Dylan? Why Gray?
Gray is my middle name. Changing your name really shakes things up a bit and brings around some good stuff. I would recommend it. We also don’t need another Jeremy Jones situation, figured I would just nip it in the bud and call it what it is.
Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from The City, San Francisco. Now I live in Tahoe, Truckee to be exact.
What brought you there?
This thing called snowboarding, in case you haven’t heard of it. I was coming up for years and then my junior year of high school I moved up to Tahoe City and haven’t left.
Did you move up by yourself?
I moved up with my Dad. He and I lived in a condo by the lake. Just livin’ the bachelor pad mountain life!
What brought you from moving to Tahoe to where you are now? Who were you riding with and did you get all over those wood rails in Tahoe?
My whole time growing up snowboarding was just my Dad and I. We learned on my 6th birthday and shredded together forever. We rode Alpine meadows, loved storm days because they were the shit. Then I was on this little snowboard team for a couple years and sophomore year of high school I met all of those bHappy kids and started filming for the first time. That got me into rails, believe it or not. Hitting a lot of jib features in Tahoe with them. Got a mini part in one of their first movies called Happy Thoughts. After that Jordan Michilot hit me up. I was shooting a lot of photos at the same time when I was filming with the bHappy kids. I would just document my friends boarding and stuff. Somehow I got involved with Academy to shoot for one of their camps at Boreal in the spring. So I linked up with Jordan and rode with all the Comune dudes and shot stuff with them a few more times. Later I started riding with Ryan Scardigli and he hit up Corey and I just kinda started riding for them. And then thanks to Ryan and Curtis (Woodman) I was able to film a full part for their movie. Its weird how it worked out. Just kinda happened through photography, which is pretty bitchin’.
That sounds like “classic way that Comune finds a rider through some artsy outlet.”
Well it’s rad because I really get along with all of them. They’re really creative people and it’s just so fun and interesting to be around them. It’s this huge collective of artists. I love art and taking photos, you can even follow me on the ‘gram @snowshoe_thompson. But I’m even wearing my fancy coat right now, bein’ a stunna for all them Truckee ladies who are nonexistent (laughs).
Yeah, buddy. I’ve asked people this question before and it seems to be different for everyone but what is your idea of “Tahoe life?”
In my eyes there are two Truckee lives, or Tahoe life. There’s all these kids that come up here for “school” but they end up falling into this crazy party scene that I’ve never seen anywhere else. I’ve been to quite a few places, I like to think, and I’ve never seen anything like it. Just insane dubsteppin house parties. One of the first parties here was Durell (Williams) doing the top 40 DJ party starter thing but it’s evolved into this crazy dubstep scene here. The trashiest girls just go get wasted, do a bunch of drugs and listen to this robot music. I can’t even go out anymore.
Right? It seems like crazy flop house life.
Oh, the flophouse. Dude, I lived in a flophouse a couple years ago for a few months and it was insane. We threw Durell a birthday party and it was ridiculous. There were hundreds of people there, some guy threw up all over our couch.. It was wild. I like to think I got my partying out from when I was like 15 to 18. Now I’m on the other side of Tahoe life, which is all about the mountains and the outdoors! Now I’m living with Curtis Woodman and we’re like health fanatics, basically – not quite. An hour ago I took a shot of apple cider vinegar with garlic and cayenne pepper. We do a bunch of yoga, we stretch, we eat well, we drink juice and we don’t party. We get up early and hike the mountains and go on crazy adventures all the time. It’s nice. Down the street from me is the river so I can go and fly fish whenever I want. Take girls on snowshoe dates; girls love nature even though they’re materialistic.
That’s true. I was talking to you the other day at 9:30 and you’d told me you slept in!
The last 10 days I’ve been out of the house by 7 am and then I come back around 8 pm. But it’s cool, that’s the other side of Tahoe life. And there are all of these people but they hide out. I went to a yoga class the other day and there were all of these babes there that I’d never met before. It was awesome. But now all the dirty party girls are starting to do yoga, so I don’t know what I’m gonna do man.
Photo: Ben Birk
What else have you been doing this winter? Outside of Tahoe, that is.
Tahoe has NOT been having a good winter, as everyone knows and same as the rest of the US. I was going to art school last fall in Oakland, California College of Art, it’s a good school. Made me realize that what I want to do for art, I don’t need to go to school for. I’m glad I got that out of my system. But I moved up in December and had all of these plans to do all of these things and go on all of these adventures and there was no snow when I got here. So I headed to Montana in January and met up with Alex Yoder and Blake Paul, the Of Life and Love dudes, and they are just boarders! We did the Aaron Robinson memorial banked slalom in Big Sky, it was pretty awesome, JRob was the last to go but the timer broke since he was going so fast. We took it as a sign from Aaron and just party boarded down, hootin’ and hollerin’!
What do you think about banked slaloms being so prevalent this year?
Dude, it is the year of the banked slalom! It’s so awesome; finally people are focusing on just TURNING! It’s a full circle, apparently. I’ve been going crazy with Totally Board videos lately. I did the Big Sky slalom, which was really fun, Dirksen Derby and I also got to go to the Legendary Banked Slalom, which was insane. That place is insane, dude! Whew! But it’s crazy because they all have this big following now with all of these huge names and legends showing up. It’s so humbling and awesome to see. It’s good, it’s the push that we need to get back into soul shredding. Making one good turn, getting all low and crankin that toe side turn, that’s the best part of my day. I keep my edges sharp.
That can’t be good for gettin’ sideways.
It’s too much pain for me. I always fall and there’s a lot of consequence. Between concrete stairs and metal bars, my body doesn’t like it. I’d way rather jump into a cloud of pillows than stairs. Anyway, then I rallied out to Cooke City, MT and went snowmobiling out there. It was a different experience. I’ve been riding with a lot of new people and it’s interesting to see how people do it differently. Honestly, it can be frustrating because some people aren’t that smart in the backcountry. For example, not sitting around smoking spliffs instead of snowboarding or using your snowmobile as a toy instead of using it for snowboarding. It really opened my eyes that you gotta be smart and safe otherwise bad things can happen. Aside from that we really enjoyed Montana.
Onward with the winter, any crazy stories?
Funny you should ask, we left Montana for Tahoe and just decided to send it through the night and drive the whole way. We showed up in Reno at like 3 in the morning and realized that we didn’t have a key to our house so Curtis called this girl who he knows in Reno who happens to be a stripper and we stayed at a stripper’s house.
She was probably awake, huh?
She was, she was WASTED! It was crazy, I passed out on her floor, and her and Curtis did whatever. Then we drove home. Then I went to Washington before the LBS, rode some crazy powder at Steven’s. Then got kicked out of where we were staying, given the friendly boot by one of the guys that we stayed with in Cooke City. That was weird, so we headed to Baker and stayed at Matt Edgars house for a few days and ripped all around Baker. Living the nomad life up there, basically. It’s a lot of work but so worth it.
White room access. Photo: Ben Birk
What do you do in summers? Govy Life?
Every summer has been so different for me. One summer I worked as a digger for Mt. Hood Summer Snowboard camp — never doing that again! I like to go up there for about a week, max. That’s all I can handle, it’s just quite a scene up there. It’s super fun with the right people and the lap park is the best thing in the world but I can’t keep up with the scene and all of that partying. Honestly, I try and work in the summers. I’m working construction this summer in San Francisco.
Geez, you’re gonna get paid so fuckin’ much!
Yeah, it’s gonna be rad. I’m gonna need it though. Hopefully I’m goin to South America in August. Maybe link up with the Of Life and Love dudes. Just wanna ride pow down there so bad. Curtis keeps telling me stories and I just get so jealous. I’m trying this new thing where I live in the moment (laughs). I used to live, like, a year in advance and it’s just so ridiculous and unrealistic because that isn’t “now.” Take the days as they come. I’m going to Alaska in April!
Really? Who with?
Think Thank dudes. Me, Curtis and Ross Phillips; getting and RV and campin’ out! I’ve wanted to go up there for like 10 years and I’m so excited to take a fat chunk out of my non-existent wallet to make the trip. You should actually include that I’m accepting donations! Anything helps. Anyway that’s the next endeavor. Riding some man shit, I’m pretty nervous. We’re gonna be planning on some big lines. I want my heart to be beating out of my chest, scared shitless. That’s when you know you’re alive, when you’re scared. It just sucks because I’m gonna get hooked and spend all of this money that I don’t have to get back up there every year and crawl further into credit card debt. I’m ready for that! You can’t be American without some debt.
Sounds like you’re living winter right. Who are you filming with this year?
Think Thank’s Mind the Video Man, and Of Life and Love for ARob. I’m also actually up in this women’s store to talk with my friend, Love, about putting on an art show here. She’s pretty much like my big sister, so she’s helping me out in May and also gonna be the release for this new project that Eric Messier is doing. It’s more of an art project but it’s gonna be crazy. We’re gonna take all of our resources and all of our creativity and make a movie. Be on the look out for some weird shit.
A little mood lighting makes the ladies swoon. Photo Jason Tackitt.
Weird boarding or weird film?
I don’t wanna spoil it too much but riding-wise it’s gonna be an ode to our past and a wink at progression of the future. It wont be your typical snowboard movie, more of an art project, but that’s all I’m gonna say. It’s like video art meets snowboarding. I’m excited to do some shit and blow some minds, hopefully. It’d be nice if people took a liking to it but if not, Fuck ‘Em! I do what I want. I also just want to tell the world that split boarding will change your life! Do it because that shit is rad. It opens up this whole new realm of places you can go and things you can see. Adventures to be had and things to be done!
Ok, we’re about to go deep. You seem like someone who truly appreciates the absolute luxury of being able to stand on a snowboard. What do you get out of snowboarding and why does it make you so happy?
Well, this is crazy because I always think about this, but every time I go out and it’s… It’s just crazy that something like snowboarding can dictate your whole life. I like snowboarding for the adventure, exploring and destroying, man! It’s endless. There is endless terrain, endless experiences to be had, it’s just happiness. Pure happiness. When I’m ripping the biggest turns of my life down an open pow face, that’s all I’m thinking about, that’s all I’m caring about and I’m just stoked! It’s like flying man. There is so much in the world that can bring you down and I feel bad for people that don’t have something like snowboarding. There are people that work and do nothing with their lives, maybe they have a hot girl that they can get down with every now and then. I like how I can leave the world and go out to the most beautiful places with myself, my snowboard and a few friends just in it. In the mountains. That’s why I prefer powder to rails because with urban spots there is all of this hustle and bustle going on around you, this city life, and there are too many people and no fresh air. Its like a game almost, you can get creative but so many people are judging you on what you can do on what rail and what’s already been done and hasn’t been done. I mean its cool, I like watching that stuff and I take a lot of inspiration from that and try to take it into the backcountry almost. When you’re out in the backcountry its like a blank canvas, just Mother Nature and you, there’s nothing like it! You make of it what you want and it’s totally up to you. There’s nothing else like that, it’s like an art. You just take your brain and go crazy. You get this crazy spiritual feeling that you’re in touch with nature. I spent a lot of time backpacking with my Dad when I was a kid and I feel like that love and respect for the outdoors just naturally translated into snowboarding. It’s the path that I wanna take, I wanna go deeper and get weird in the woods. You don’t have to be doing crazy Jeremy Jones shit or hiking up Everest and riding down or even have a snowmobile. Half the shit I ride is a 20-minute hike off of the road and it’s amazing! I just love snowboarding because its endless opportunity. I’ve been into art my whole life and this is the best and most creative outlet that I’ve found.
Who are some people you look up to?
Noah Salasnek, Tom Burt, Brian Savard, the old school dudes. They just knew what was up, just ripped so hard! Eric Messier is one of my favorite snowboarders, I could watch him surf and slash for the rest of my life and be stoked. I’m a huge fan of Muller, the way that he picks apart a mountain; no one else can do it like he does. Curtis Woodman. Alex Yoder has something that’s gonna last and he’s gonna take it further. Tim Eddy knows whatsup with snowboarding right now; he went from rail rider to really comfortable and amazing boarder. I respect that a lot. Style is another huge thing I take into my snowboarding. Just making it look good, like you’re owning it. You gotta work that body!
All natural baby. Photo: Ben Birk
Who are you riding for?
Arnette, they make sunglasses, goggles, stickers and hats. Comune Clothing. Rome Snowboards. Boards In Motion, a shop in Auburn, CA. And Nike Snowboarding, I don’t think I’m gonna be in their 2-year video project but if it’s anything like their skate videos then it’s going to blow minds.
https://yobeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Gray-Arnette.jpg00Toby Wittehttp://yobeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/yobeatdotcomsite.jpgToby Witte2012-03-28 09:36:072012-03-28 18:40:02Hump Day Keeps it Natural with Gray Thompson