AJ Ogden may not be the official Mayor of the Boise snowboard scene, but he’s at least in the cabinet. Between running UNHLY Supply, hitting the streets and lapping Bogus, he has solidified himself as an integral member of the small but vibrant Boise snowboard scene. While he might not be a name you immediately recognize, he has paid his dues, digging at High Cascade, raking jumps at Bogus and even though he’s got a real job these days, he still snowboards more than most. Towards the end of my time in Idaho, I decided to sit AJ down on the couch to find out more.
Brooke: Who’s your favorite Idaho snowboarder?
Aj: Thats a really hard question, there are a lot of cool snowboarders.
OK. We’ll go back to that one. You said you’re an increasingly novice snowboarder. What does that mean?
That means I feel like the more I go snowboarding, the more snowboarding I do, I feel like I’m getting worse. The snowboarding gets as creaky as my body.
How much time do you spend looking at Instagram every day?
Too much, probably in maybe three hours range. Easy three hours. It’s a lot, it’s just a time kill.
How do you have so much time to waste?
My job kicks ass. I’m a graphic designer that nobody micromanages. I know my own pace, and can hammer stuff out if I need to. If I keep trying stuff and it’s not working in my brain, I’ll go take a walk or scroll the gram.
Tell me about your nickname “Juice.”
It was my first year digging at High Cascade, I think, it was me and Castro and we were trying to move one of the smaller pill rails and Corey asked if we had it. Castro responds, “Yeah we’re good, Juice is about to put my eye out with his bicep.” Everyone heard it and it stuck, at least that’s my recollection. Those summers were super awesome and it just stuck through everyone there. It’s also funny to me in my head because I love juice, juice is delicious. I’m also not nearly in as good of shape as I was then. Those dudes digging are killing it, to put in the work then be so hungry for boarding on top of it all, it’s awesome. It’s like auto Fitness. I’m just a desk jockey now and it’s crazy what a couple years behind a desk will do to your body. You gotta stay motivated to be active just to keep the body loose and avoid injury. PSA, GO DO STUFF, you won’t regret it, neither will your body.
Who’s your favorite person you’ve snowboarded with this year. You don’t have to say me.
You’ve been there on a lot of my favorite days.
We’ve had some good days.
Yeah I’ve had more pow days than normal days. My buddy Charlie Allen was in town for Christmas and I got to ride with him and also getting to ride with Ben Mouser. He’s usually on surf safari but having him here all winter has been really fun.
Boarder patrol Ben!
Yeah, he’s just really into the snowboarding. the act of it. Oh, and Dylan Metz. Other than that I haven’t really ridden with anyone, kinda how it’s been the last couple years on that solo train. Cause my friends either work at Bogus, so they get to ride, but we’re on different schedules. It’s so much easier, you get to go snowboarding, you don’t have to wait on anyone, you go on your schedule.
You mentioned Charlie, you guys run a company together. Sup with UNHLY Supply?
Charlie Allen, Brad Jameson and myself started a company called UNHLY supply things a couple years ago. We had all these grandiose ideas, I had all these sketches on napkins designed and making custom stuff. Simple basics we all used but I wanted to improve on em. We all worked together with Newt and Harolds and we thought, let’s make a clothing company. Fucking idiots. It’s been fun, it’s just terrifying too. Going to the bank to try and get loans. It’s all out of our pockets. The bank told us we didn’t want to borrow enough money for them to bother. We decided to focus on making stuff instead of getting money, so we just make what we can. Luckily we’ve had support and what we do make people are liking, it’s just on really small scale right now. A lot of people ask us about the Unhly thing, if it’s demonic, but it kinda started with people saying, you can’t snowboard here or you can’t skate here. Everything you’re doing is a waste of time. Oh you think what we’re doing is unholy, not deemed acceptable.
I like the name, I think it’s cool.
Thanks. It’s been fun.
Do you guys have an online store or a website?
Yeah we have a website and that’s where you can get most of our products, and then I’m super hyped that Prestige skateshop, here in Boise, brought it in. The guys who run that, Paul and Greg, are the shit. And they’re small too so the fact that they were able to take a little bit of their business and invest in us is really cool. Charlie kills it in marketing. I’m not good at talking to people. He lined up collaborations with Arbor, which has been our big bread winner, so thanks to those guys for that. It’s keeping us out of the hole pretty much. It’s been crazy. Working with factories they’re like yeah we can make em for $15 a pop but you have to order 20,000 of em. We don’t have that money. That’s all the exciting part is random learning curves like that.
Ok back to this one. Favorite Idaho snowboarder?
Ever or currently?
Right now, Loren Exon, and I have gotten to ride a bit with him. Riding with him you can tell he’s hyped on making the board snowboard with him. He’s riding for himself, and what he wants to figure it out. I think everyone does that but when I ride with Loren that’s apparent. Ever is hard.
I’m going with Greg Goulet.
Both those guys, Greg and Paul. That could be ever. Greg’s got so much board control. Rarely have I seen Greg not smiling. He’s genuinely curious about what you’re up to and how your life is going. He just maintains that stoke.
You lived in Salt Lake, but you moved back here. Why did you leave SLC?
I was working parking crew in High School up at Bogus. Corey Mac was mountain events and he gave me a job up there, which was sick, and I got to ride with some of those older guys and see how they snowboard and be like, damn this is what it looks like in the movies. These guys are good at boarding. I knew I wanted to have access to that sort of level of snowboarding, so I moved down there for school, but it was crazy expensive out of state. I was snowboarding way more than going to school and my grades reflected that. The real reason though. I was in the graphic design program down there and the first year you’re supposed to submit a portfolio to apply to get into the upper division. And I spaced the portfolio week, ended up going to USASA nationals or something and I got back from that week and all my classmates were asking if I got my letter back, if I got in. And I was like, what are you talking about? That was last week? And so I was gonna hang around, see what my other options were, and I called my friend up here and she was like, oh, we don’t apply for upper division until the end of this year in our program at Boise state. So if I come back, I could go another year, get a portfolio together and not have missed anything. I looked into it and it was super smooth. I moved home, and I got on a scholarship, and went to school for free. Ultimately I moved back because I missed my deadline.
You think you would have stuck it out otherwise?
Yeah I don’t know. I didn’t have a car and I came back to Boise a lot. The snowboarding is awesome there, but people don’t know that here but you have access to stuff really fast, so it’s not like I moved away from snowboarding. Salt Lake has a lot of shit, I saw all the talent down there, and was totally fanboy-ed out. So many casual rippers down there. Definitely opened my mind up and I would nerd out. Seeing people do things in person helped me figure out tricks more, and that was super awesome. Definitely expanded my horizon on figuring out snowboarding more. I will still pretty shy and I didn’t know how to integrate with the good kids. I had friends from school and they were good, because everyone is good. I was never really in the scene I wanted to be in. But now by the graces of Corey Mac letting me dig at High Cascade, now when I go to Salt Lake it’s cool because I get to say hi to people I am a fan of.
What’s the best part about Boise? The worst?
The best thing about Boise is the girls, the worst thing is the dating. haha I think every one of my friends, visiting or not, has fallen in love with a Boise girl. But really I think the best thing is that you have so many options of activity to access right out your back door with a plethora of people to encourage you and help you explore those activities in one way or another. From camping to awesome river systems to hikes to caves and waterfalls to hot springs to multiple 8000+ foot peaks you can explore to some pretty kick ass local mountain resorts to ride to a solid skate scene to tons of golf courses, there’s really no shortage of things to do in and just outside of Boise. And it’s all relatively affordable.
The worst thing is a toss up, the first two things that come to mind are that flights out of Boise are pretty spendy and our governor (I realize that’s a state thing not a city thing). But on the Grand scheme of things, that’s not too bad, Boise rules pretty much.
Do you get free snowboard gear?
Are you like a sponsored boarder. You get stuff from a rep?
(Laughs) This is gonna sound dumb. I just started using the GoPro and one of the first powder edits I made at Bogus I got hyped cause Von Zipper shared it on their facebook. But yeah, I’m lucky enough to get free stuff, which stemmed from getting in with Newt and Harolds back in the day. They let me ride for them. All of us that grew up here would go linger in there. A couple years after I moved back from SLC I got to start riding for them. That was the biggest catalyst.
Do you think losing shops like Newt and Harolds is destroying that?
It sucks. Not having kick ass shops around sucks. At least where I’m coming from. You go into shops and you look up to the guys there because they know what they’re talking about. Whether they actually know how to snowboard or not is another thing, but it gives you a place to hang out, see all the stuff, immerse yourself in the culture. Without shops you’re not doing that. You might see a crazy energy drink movie they poured a bunch of money into and be like, oh thats snowboarding. It’s not relatable as much when you just see it online and you’re buying stuff online, there’s personality. So yeah, it sucks.
Agreed. Wanna give me some shouts and thanks?
Bogus Basin Park Crew, Prestige Skateshop, Capita, Union, Vonzipper, 32, UNHLY Supply Things, Charlie Allen, Brad Jameson, Corey McDonald, Dylan Metz, Scott Downing, Bowie, MJ, Rihanna, Mom and Dad, All of you.