Every scene has its local heroes. Whether they are the best at snowboarding, the kid who knows every line, or just a person who’s super fun to ride with, there’s always a guy that everyone wants to know. At Timberline, that guy is Ricky Hower. You may know him as Airblaster’s “Regular Guy,” the almost-mascot they adopted to represent the kid who just loves to board, but you’re about to realize he’s way more than that. He is the guy who will show you his lines, fix your bindings between runs, and just wants to make sure you’re having a blast — no matter who you are. He was also born and raised in Government Camp! On Christmas Eve, Ricky turned 27, and as a “real adult” he’s now in charge of all the events, promotions and social media at Timberline, but he’s actually been running shit since he was scrubbing toilets.
Brooke: Thanks for taking me along for you birthday boarding day. It was powdery and awesome. What’s it like being born the day before Christmas?
Ricky: Once you can get past the fact that most people can’t hang out with you, it’s pretty alright. My Mom was always really strict about keeping them separate, which looking back is really rad and my girlfriend Jez just likes to send it over the edge and try to go huge even if it is just the two of us.
“Grabbing is for dudes who get paid to snowboard,” Ricky Hower. Photo: Jared Souney
How long have you been strapping in and how did you get into it?
17 years of under my belt, damn, that’s a big number. I remember watching this dude just ripping down Pucci when I was 8 or 9 then out of nowhere he busts a 360 and I was like, Woah! I want to be like that dude ,he’s rad. My mom finally let me try when I was 10 and I haven’t looked back since.
Describe your ultimate day snowboarding?
Ultimate day… It’s snowing and blowing so hard that everybody stays inside so all the goodness is mine, bottomless pow turns that keep refilling, too many white rooms, an iced up beard, and a quality pal. And air time. Lots of air time.
Were you ever trying to go pro?Â
I can’t say I was trying, but growing up that was the dream. But while all my friends were riding the park, I’d bail and go ride six inches of pow instead. I think I made the right choice.
How many days do you ride in an average season? What’s your goal for this year?
80 plus for the average season, but I’ve ridden seven of the last ten days, so might try to go huge this year, let’s call it at least 117.
Timberline side country. Photo: Brooke Geery
Aside from Timberline, what resorts do you like best?
Anthony Lakes, Ski Bowl, and Cataloochie N.C. Any Ma and Pa resort.
Will you watch the X Games? How about the Olympics?
Are they going to have Extreme Modified Shovel racing again? Then probably not. Don’t need to see another two hands on the pipe 100. As for the Olympics, I’ll watch the shit out of Curling and Bi-athalon.
What was it like growing up in govy? Do you know anyone else who’s a lifer?
A: Growing up in Gov’y was funny — instead of raking leaves I’d shovel the porch. I hated shoveling. Everything you do, at least back in the day, you had to plan out heavily, instead of just running to the store for dinner fixins’ we’d plan out like a week or two weeks of dinners because it was easier than driving 45 minutes in a blizzard to grab eggs. There are some more lifers but they are at Legend Status now — Chucker, Mary Ann Hill, Lee Perry — the people that helped make the town what it is.
What did your parents do for work while living in such a metropolis?
My mom worked at Timberline for 22 years. I basically grew up in the maintenance shop, it was awesome, but it sucked at the same time. If I got bad grades or caused some sort of ruckus she’d put me in my place then everyone she worked with would do it too. I learned to be really sneaky.
Just running shit at Timberline Lodge. Photo: Jared Souney
People think Gov’y gets nuts now, but do you have any stories from “the good old days,” before it was filled with upscale condos and ski bunnies?
Jumping off the roofs of houses, stealing girls underwear, Picilo Pete bombs made in 40’s. I have stories.
Think you’ll ever move away?
I live in Welches now and it’s rad. When I moved out of Gov’y, I always thought it was going to be weird, but I really don’t miss a thing about it, not one thing.
Most people think of timberline as a summer shred spot. Which do you like better — winter or summer?
Winter all the way! I like to be able to rip the entire mountain, not do the same run over and over.
Timberline, or the moon? Photo: Brooke Geery
So, 13 years working at timberline is pretty impressive. Can you run us through all the roles you’ve had there?
Ever been elbow deep in a toilet? I have! Kicking off with Janitor, ticket sales, parking lot, dishwasher, busser, lifty, park crew, basically done it all.
What’s your day to day now?
Events, Promotions, and, Social Media Manager. My boss is rad and I basically get paid to make a bunch of rad shit happens with my friends.
What events should we look forward to this year?
Pretty stoked for revamping Friday Night Features. Had some meetings, made some moves, stepping our game up in a big way.
You’re also known as Regular Guy. How did you get involved with Airblaster and what’s your role with them?
I met Jesse [Grandkoski] while working at Timberline and just slowly got involved up to the point of becoming Regular Guy. The thing with Airblaster is the whole idea of bringing fun back into snowboarding is something I really back. Right now I guess you could call me a brand spokesman or just the OG Regular Guy.
Your parents moved to Jersey. What’s your take on the East coast scene vs West coast scene? Would you ever wanna live back east?
Live there? Never. Well, maybe in the fall, that shits epic. The scene to me is always the same, you got your jocked out bros, park rats, kooks, and gapers/joeys, but you also have people who live to board and people who love to rip powder. Like that cat who started PowderJet — that is the raddest thing I have seen come to snowboarding in a while, and he’s East coast. Respect to that dude.
Rumor has it your grandma made the world best fruitcake. what’s the secret?
It’s simple really. Booze, lots of booze.
Hangin’ at the Blue Ox. Photo: Jared Souney
Your grandpa used to run shit, so I figure you’ve got a good Timberline history story or two to tell. Do it.
My Grandpa was the general manager of the Lodge for a time during the “hey day” of skiing, I guess you could call it. Anyway one fine evening there was a dashing drunk man singing (quite loud) and playing piano in the Ram’s Head Bar and all of the hotel guests on that floor came out demanding that the General Manager put an end to the ruckus. The Bartender pointed at my Gramps (who was playing) and said, “That is the general manager.” I wish I could play the piano…
Let’s say people wanna follow you on the social media. List me all the handles and accounts you run.