Koch isn’t like most snowboarders – if you watch him ride, you’ll remember it. His insanely smooth style, creativity, and lack of fear for hucking render him a very unique rider, and perfectly explain why he’s rapidly on the rise as a snowboarder and on tons of peoples’ radar. On top of that he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. If you’re ever in his stomping ground of New Jersey, or anywhere else and see Koch riding, don’t be scared to say hi! Who knows, he’ll probably end up taking some laps with you.
Let’s start this off general. Who are you?
I’m Jonathan Koch, shortened to Jon. Im 21 years old, live in Little Falls, New Jersey, which is about 40 minutes south of Mountain Creek, which is where I snowboard. You might know me as a Creek Kid, you might know me from Copper Mountain, and you might not know me at all.
The ginger snowboarding community can be looked over sometimes, even though it’s full of heavy hitters. Who are some of your favorite fellow gingers of snowboarding?
Ben Bilodeau, he’s awesome. He’s doing some good stuff for Technine, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Technine until I saw him riding for them. Danimals, he’s like everyone’s hometown favorite. Parker of course, all of them.
What about Jeff Holce?
Jeff Holce, the athlete, I love that guy. I met him out in Canada when I was there last winter. He’s awesome.
What were you doing out in Canada?
I met up with the Trash League dudes and filmed a bit of street stuff with them. They were awesome, all super down to earth, really into snowboarding and photography like I am. Good people. I didn’t get too many shots with them but hopefully enough for a little cameo in their upcoming movie, haha.
Wallride Back Lip. Photo: Matty “Bistro” Bothfield
You ride with a super cool style, has anyone or anything influenced how you ride?
I’d have to say my main influence is skateboarding. I don’t do to many 270s on or anything, I just like blasting stuff and having fun. 270s might eventually work their way in to tricks I do more often, but I always do what is most fun for me. Nosepress is like my favorite trick ever and Ollies are right up there with nose presses. I just like to do and see things my way.
And also you ride with a helmet, care to explain why?
Well, I probably would have thought about ditching the helmet more if Jed had never come out with any of those super sick parts where he rocked one the whole time, or those parts with JOC rocking one too. It’s just never been that big of a deal to me, I’m not out here telling anyone to wear one or not, it’s just what works for me. I wear it for my safety and it’s crazy the number of times it’s saved me on the sketchy NJ ice.
Yeah, I think it’s cool, your helmet paired with your style definitely create a unique image for you.
It’s funny you say that, because wearing a helmet was actually the reason I started getting coverage. When Mountain Creek started doing the Creek Kids series, they needed at least 50% helmet shots, because NJ state law requires everyone under 17 to wear a helmet and they wanted to encourage kids to rock helmets, and that’s when I started filming with them. I think if I was riding the same way at the time but not wearing a helmet, it’s very possible that I could have been overlooked.
Koch doesn’t care which lip you’re supposed to use when doing front boards.
So, what happened at the 3rd rail Jam when you were 17?
Oh man, well, I had just turned 17 like a few days before this contest and I wanted to ride with all of my friends in the 16 and under division and not in the open division with people like Tom Weiss and other really good people. So I entered the 16 and under division and didn’t think it was a big deal. By the end of it, they’re calling my name saying I just won seven hundred some odd dollars. I had no idea what to do so I just went up with a nervous smile on my face and took my prizes. Meanwhile, Brandon Schmidt, the kid who’s on nitro circus right now probably backflipping somewhere on the other side of the world, came running up to the podium yelling “He’s not 16!” really angrily, but nobody listened to him. A few days later I got a call from Under Armour, which I assumed was so they could get my sizes for the outerwear that I also won. It turns out that Brandon Schmidt sent them a letter saying that I wasn’t 16, I admitted I wasn’t and they told my I had to give all my prizes back and they gave first place to my friend Nick.
I’m guessing you weren’t friendly with Brandon after that?
I wasn’t mad at him but I would give him shit and grill him when I saw him and stuff. One day he did apologize for doing it though, and that was nice and put us on better terms, but at the same time I had thought we were friends before that so it still kind of annoyed me.
Haha, shit talking will forever and always be a part of snowboarding, I guess
Oh definitely, haha. Thank God for YoBeat. I definitely comment on my fair share of videos here and have definitely gotten into some arguments with other commenters, but at the end of the day, it’s all laughs. One of the most nerve wracking things is seeing that there are a certain number of comments on a video of you and going to see what people say. I haven’t actually seen anything too negative on any of my videos that have been on the site, it’s either ginger jokes which I’ve been hearing since forever or the crotch joke which, come on, that’s been said since like fifth grade, haha. Commenters just need to think of better ways to hate on me I guess.
Eye Contact is key to success, and back 1s. Photo: Bistro
What did you do out at Woodward Copper this summer?
I was a counselor. Since it was my first year I had the youngest age group, seven to twelve year olds. The seven year olds were cool, but I liked counseling the twelve year olds better, they were way more mature, and actually listened to me more, haha. I tucked the kids in every night and woke them up every morning for breakfast, and then from 9am to 4pm I was free to do what I wanted, so just snowboarding my face off. I also went on hikes and got to see the beautiful things that Colorado has to offer.
Like legal weed?
…. You know, hiking and uh, mostly hiking. When I was going there I was actually worried about all of the people who just moved out there for the legal weed and having to interact with all of those kooky people. Luckily though, when you’re working at a camp like this there aren’t many people actually from Colorado. It was mostly people like me from all over who were all level headed and just out there for the love of snowboarding. I met a lot of cool people from the camp who are all doing cool things back home. I had a buddy there who drove all the way from Connecticut to Copper, and then after camp he continued his road trip to LA, once he got there he was homeless for a month just going with the flow, he’s sick. There were also a bunch of people who worked there who didn’t have anybody supporting them who just killed it. It was an awesome time.
Summer Fun! Photo: Chip Proulx
This last winter was also a big winter for you, why?
Well, since I had done some of the Creek Kids videos in the season before, and Mountain Creek was using me as part of the marketing for their hill, they thought they should give me a pass and put me on their team, which was super sick and I did not expect to happen, haha. Then, since I had some footage that I put together, my buddy Matt (Genovese) helped me out with sending it in to Dan at Flour City Distribution, the local C-3 distributor, and he hooked up with some boards, boots, bindings, and other stuff. Within the year I was heading out to Superpark and meeting people like Mark Dangler and all those guys, it was really, really cool.
You also started to work Park Crew at Mountain Creek right?
Yeah, well since I was put on the Mountain Creek team, I got to meet a lot of people from who were higher ups at the mountain, and I became pretty friendly with the head of parks there. Also, my boss at my job at the time, that I had worked for 5 years, was giving people who were hired later than me better benefits and stuff. I guess we didn’t see eye to eye, so I told him if stuff like that continues to happen, that I would not be continuing to work for him. So I talked to Marc (Tremain), the head of parks at Creek and he told me that if I quit my old job he definitely needs the help, and he would give me way better hours. So, after five years, I quit my job and started Park Crew work, which was awesome because I got to ride every day because of it. I’m super excited to do it again this year.
photo: Matt Wharin
Do you have any plans on ever leaving Jersey?
Recently I’ve been thinking about it a little bit, but not really, at least not for the near future. I like New Jersey and my current situation here, rent’s pretty cheap and it’s all working out. I’ll probably spend more traveling in the future but keep living in Jersey. It won’t be permanent, maybe I’ll move to Portland one day. Time will Tell.
Awesome, on that note, sponsors? Shoutouts?
Shoutout to Color Blynd, my good friend Andy’s company, check them out their new line of clothes should be out by time this interview comes out, shoutout to Dan Broadwell at Flour City Distribution, Mark Dangler at Capita, Everybody at C-3 worldwide, Cooper, Kevin Hanson, all the boys packing boxes out there, Union, Coalatree, Bobby at Board Buttah VT based wax Co., Crab Grab, Ryan at Thirtytwo, you know who you are, Sandbox Helmets, Coal Headwear, huge shoutout to Mom and Dad, and anybody who I missed. Also, shoutout to Jersey Shore, for giving us a terrible reputation. Stay out.