An Evergreen Hump Day with Matt Wainhouse



Photo: Josh Thompson

Matt is a positive, hard working, humble kid that is always down for an adventure. He is the first on the hill and the last to leave, no matter what the conditions. All in all, just a good dude that if you had a daughter, you wouldn’t be mad that he was knocking the back out of her. — Johan Malkoski aka WWD.

What makes the snowboard scene in Washington so rad?

Washington doesn’t have any actual ski resorts, just ski areas. No towns, villages or hotels make for a lot less people working at and around the mountain so the local scene is relatively small and tight knit. There’s a mutual respect between everybody on the mountain – Tons of hootin’ and hollering on a powder day, cheering or heckling anyone who’s mobbing down chairline. It’s all in good spirit because people are genuinely stoked to be on the hill. Especially on a pow day. There’s just really good and mellow vibes here in WA. There’s hardly a sense competition, nobody is taking it too seriously and there doesn’t seem to be any distinct cliques. We all just ride as one.

The terrain and conditions are another contributing factor to WA’s awesomeness. We have really steep, fun terrain with snow that tends to stick to everything. Take a look at the inbounds terrain at Mt. Baker. What the hell were they thinking putting a ski area there in the 1920’s? It’s the most messed up terrain I’ve seen. Tons of sizeable cliff drops right after one another down the chairline. Turns out that’s the kind of weird terrain we love these days. Luckily we get absurd amounts of snowfall to cover up all the brush and make friendly landings. If you ever live here, you’ll learn to love to shred while it’s puking snow, just stay in the trees!


Mellow Washington terrain. Photo: Jordan Ingmire.

Why do kids in Washington try to ride park?

Although we definitely lack in park abilities compared to big-time resorts, Stevens has a super sick, long terrain park with a highspeed lift. The only other real park in the state is at The Summit. We ride it because it’s there, it’s fun, we hot lap, learn tricks, maximize airtime or railtime, and overall evolve our styles. You rarely see insane stuff going down like you would at a major resort, probably because nobody here is “training” for the Dew Tour or anything. Park in WA is based around pure fun with your buds. Park riding also helps carry over a polished style in natural terrain or pow kickers.

Who influenced your riding at Stevens Pass?

I love following people and seeing where they go, what they choose to do and how they do it on their snowboard. My biggest influences come from a handful of dudes who not many have heard of. Tristan Welch showed me how to haul ass, my brother-in-law Devin Elliot showed me how to spin in different directions, Seth Stusser showed me smoothness, and Michigan showed me how to ride smart and calculated. Ari, Hans, Kurt, Timmie, Elan, Schaefer and Ken Kelley are some of the local guru’s who’ve all shown me the Stevens lines and how to ride em. Watching my friends progress continues to inspire me to do the same. The people who I get to ride with and know in person have definitely had the biggest influence on me.

Who are some of the some of the biggest names to come out of Stevens Pass?

Back in the day, Matt Goodwill. That dude was going bigger in the early 90’s than what we’re doing today. I’ve been pointed out to lines and cliffs that he’s hit with Shawn Farmer and Robbie Capell that are straight nutty. Robbie Capell was his sidekick, a skier who was rad enough to ride for Snowboard Connection, and those two dudes have lines that nobody else has stepped up to since. Even though he’s from Chile, much of Manuel Diaz has been ripping around here since he was a kid and you can see how Cowboy ridge has shaped his riding. Other dudes like Kurt Jenson, Tim Carlson, Elan Bushell, Monty Hayes and Pat McCarthy have all called Stevens Pass their home. Lucky for us youngin’s, those dudes still rip on a regular basis and they seem just as stoked to ride with us!


Stevens Pass after dark. Photo: Jordan Ingmire

Are there any local legends that never got pro status but should/could have?

My brother-in-law Devin Elliot probably never got to the Stevens Pass legend status because he was more of a travelling pipe jock in the early part of the century. But this dude is straight insane on jumps. At 32 years old now, and riding only a couple of times per year, he still warms up with front 7s and is throwing switch back 9s by the next run, on our big jumps. I’ve never seen anyone else ride like him.

If you had one day, and could hit unlimited runs at Stevens all day who would you take with you?

I’d love to rip around Stevens with Aaron Robinson. J-Rob came to Stevens a couple seasons ago with Absinthe and it was a pleasure watching him dissect our terrain. I was lucky to take a single run with Aaron at the LBS a few years back and was in awe of his natural style and great attitude. I’m sure he’d find a line that hasn’t been done up there yet.

Do you ever skip a day riding due to conditions?

I stay away from icy conditions because it takes a far bigger toll on your body if you slam. I’m trying to keep all my body parts working properly throughout the winter and have longevity with snowboarding. My belief is that your body can take only so much impact before becoming more prone to an injury. It’s good to know when to send it and when to hold back. I hold back on icy days. Luckily we normally have pretty soft snow conditions; we’re spoiled up here.


The Great Northern Railroad. Me and my crew.. The Foss Poss

What’s up with the Foss Road?

Foss River Road was our residence in Skykomish all winter. It’s just outside the tiny town of Sky, deep in the woods. We have no neighbors. It’s very peaceful and secluded. Sasquatch lives out there somewhere. The Great Northern Railroad loops right around our house. There are no rules out there. We kill house mice for fun. Shoot guns. There are some really good hikes right down the road. We had a solid crew of diehard boarders living at our little secret compound: Kryn Allen, Trevor Kelly, Roho Tucker, myself, whoever is sleeping on the couch, and ODB Schaefer up the road a bit. We loved exploring our own backyard and definitely threw some raging parties out there, like the UHAUL season ender party. Schaef dubbed our place “The Ghetto” this year, which was the highest honor for a scumball Skytucky house.

How did your studies at Western Washington University go? What was your major?

I recently got a marketing degree from WWU. They have a great business school but they’re known for environmental studies and recreation. Western and Bellingham in general showed me the importance of sustainability and simple methods to live environmentally friendlier. B-Ham businesses have embraced more sustainable operations, which get passed on to the consumer. It’s a unique town because it seems most everyone is on the same page that way. Bellingham also has a ton of outdoor activities to offer. You’ve got the ocean, world-class mountain bike trails, climbing, Mt Baker, and Canada all within reach. Bellingham folks and Western kids are generally pretty active in those aspects. I think it makes college a much smoother ride than just partying all the time. One part I miss most about it is mobbing through the campus brick on my skateboard, weaving through the crowds, freaking kids out when they hear you coming.

Are you glad you went to college?

I am very glad. It was tough for a while, like some of the prerequisite classes you’re forced to take before you dive into what you’re interested in. When your mind is on snowboarding in school, it can be hard to focus. You just ought to know boarding will always be there. I had great love and support from my family and was very lucky to truly fall in love with snowboarding while I was at it. It’s one thing to have gotten a business degree from a pretty prestigious university, but it’s another walking away feeling like you learned something. The opportunity to be educated is something not too many people in this world get. I’ll be putting the degree to use someday, but I put my knowledge to use everyday.


Stevens Pass. iPhonedoh: Hans Jangaard

I hear you like to adventure. Been on any good ones lately?

I’d think my adventures are miniscule compared to what a lot of people think adventure is. I like exploring my own backyard first and foremost. Washington has a lot to offer, from the San Juan Islands, to the mountains, to the east side of the cascades. One mission our Foss Squad recently accomplished was a crazy summer step-up jump over a retaining wall of rocks. Called the “Meat-Grinder”, we hiked to the top of Stevens for 3 days in a row with gear to build it, then finally session it for half a day. My only actual adventure happened in summer of 2012 when I went down to Chile with my friends Ian Wood and Jordan Ingmire. Had the time of my life, just winging it, boarding, partying, and not knowing where you might sleep. Ian and Jordo, now those dudes go on real adventures, like going to the Himalayas or biking across the country.

Do you like to fish? How to you feel about the fishing trend that’s overtaking golf in snowboarding?

I don’t fish. If you love to fish, that’s great and a really awesome skill to have. It seems very peaceful and therapeutic to an extent. I hope people don’t do it just to be trendy.

You feel strongly about the environment do you do anything personally to protect our winters?

I do feel strongly about it but acting upon it takes a real commitment. I mean really it comes down to reducing your ecological footprint. It starts with awareness, recognizing where you can improve your EF. Simple things like carpooling to the hill, recycling your Rainier cans, knowing the difference between trash and compost, cutting down on using electricity, etc. I try to do the little things as much as possible because that’s where it starts. With more businesses integrating sustainability into their core values, I would hope it trickles down to the individual becoming more sustainable and educated about it. Stevens Pass is actually a great example of a ski area whose environmental initiatives are making a positive impact by educating people on composting/recycling, buying wind power, producing solar power, and switching all the lights on the hill to LEDs. So personally, I just try to do the simple things and find new ways to reduce my EF.

wain cab 5

Cab 5. Photo: Brian Schaefer

Hollywood bowl or Roostercomb?

Hollywood for kickers. Rooster for surfy or scary lines. Probably Rooster because it’s bit more rare that the conditions allow you to send it.

Shot gun beers or bong rips?


Who’s on the come up?

Kevin Hanson, the kid has such smooth style on any board. I always enjoy riding with Kenny. RoHo Tucker has come a long way since we started riding together. He’s very enthusiastic, works hard and that’s great to be around. We’ve got a good jump building chemistry going.


Sesh Yup. Photo: Austin Curran

Do you think you would have 10,000 Instagram followers if you had a chinstrap beard like your roommate Ryan Tucker?

I’m not sure if I want 10K 16-year-old girls following me begging for attention on my IG. The chinstrap definitely got him an extra few thousand.

Sponsors, shout outs?

Family first, Mom and Dad for all the love! Lauren and Devin. RyBo Ranger, Duane for boarding together since Jr. High. Foss Crew: Ryan, Kryn, TK Jack, Ted, Bos, Schaef, and Ari. 686, Capita, Union, Coal, VZ, Stevens Pass Snowboard Shop, Casual Industrees. McCarthy, Johan, Sweaty, Nate, Dubs, E-Mill, Jordo, Woo, Hans, Michigan, Seth, Park Crew, and the rest of the Stevens Pass Community.

8 replies
  1. chongo
    chongo says:

    Gotta love Wain going bigger on all the features at stevens pass than they’re meant to be.

  2. classic
    classic says:

    One of the best dudes and most authentic and genuine snowboarders in the PNW gets an interview and more people are hyped on the fucking summer of brooke…

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