Life after the Dream: KC Kyle’s Guide to Making Snowboarding Your Life

Some of you know me as KC Kyle and while commenting on Yobeat is no longer my life, I still get on the site, check an occasional vid, maybe even leave a hate comment or two. Although recently I have run out of hate. I asked myself this: “Why hate on people trying to make it?” That’s all we are trying to do, right? All everyone wants is to make it doing what they love. Most of us never will actually make it in the snowboarding world. I sure didn’t, at least as a professional snowboarder. It didn’t take long for me to realize that, especially after miserably losing to Jerm in Comment Con Round 1. After a little bit of growing up, I have shifted my sights from becoming a professional snowboarder to become a backcountry snowboard guide, specifically in Alaska.

BOV Ocean
Sugar Loaf Mountain, Valdez, AK

I still love snowboarding, and at some point a few years back reality started to hit me. I realized that if I want to continue to snowboard all the time and not be a total dirt bag I have to make changes in my life and career path. Thats when I got into guiding. I was traveling into the backcountry of Colorado on a regular basis, and taking friends to places they never thought they would encounter right in their backyard. I was like shit, I could do this and get paid for it! Sounds easy enough right?

Step 1: Get the experience

You can’t become a backcountry guide if you have never even used a beacon. Try dedicating some time to the backcountry. Surround your self by people who know more about the mountains than you do. People are killed every year in avalanches so it is best to be smart and safe about it. Your life is never worth risking to tell your buddies that you ripped that one line you have been eyeing all winter.

​Backcountry ColoRADbro Pillows, Yo

Step 2: Get the Certs

Just like the real word, the guided snowboard world requires pieces of paper saying that you actually have your shit together, (even though you probably don’t). It is best to start with a basic avalanche class, Level 2 is the minimum to be a guide. There are a bunch of avalanche schools out there from AIARE to AAI to the Canadian program. All of them are good, the most important thing is you take a class, and use put your new Avy Skillz to use. Also a medical class is a must to get your foot in the door. A Wilderness First Responder Certification is the only way to go. Skip the EMT, OEC yadayada. WFRs are accepted world wide as the standard.

​What happens when the whole thing slides and everyone gets f*cked? P. Mike Hamilton

Step 3: Get Your Foot in the Door

Get involved with a backcountry operation. Whether it be splitboarding, snowcat, or heli you must bow down and pay your dues. Chances are your first gig is going to suck, and consist of fetching coffee and wiping clients dirty buttholes, without pay. I started as an intern at Silverton Mountain, which Brooke actually came and visited me. I actually got to go heli skiing with her, which was rad, and was probably my best experience of the winter. I can tell you that year at Silverton was amazing and shitty, it was amazingly shitty. Regardless, I am extremely grateful to have spent that year at Silverton, and even though I hate that place, I still have a ton of respect for the people of Silverton, Colorado. It made me realize my potential, and the possibilities.

Learning the ropes!

Step 4: Keep With It!

Chances are you will question your self over and over, “what the hell am I doing?!” But in reality, everyone does that. If you truly want to make a career out of snowboarding then you have to listen to your gut, and never give up. Just because you didn’t make it at the first gig, doesn’t mean the second one isn’t going to work out. I didn’t make it at Silverton, but that only brought me to Alaska, where I busted my ass and finally after 3 years it’s starting to pay off. I can tell you, it still sucks sometimes, but if you really want something you have to stay strong. Be yourself, be humble, and listen to your instincts is the best advise I can give anyone trying to make it as a snowboard guide. Those 3 things have definitely paid off for me, and I constantly have to remind my self, “mouth shut, head down”.

​Filming with the pros! P. Nic Alegre

One thing to remember before you take action. Even though, “the life” may seem glorious, turning your passion into work is a good way to kill your passion. Sometimes it’s good to ask your self what your really want. Do your REALLY want to live in a super small town and bust your ass for 5 years to maybe get somewhere? Or do you just want to impress girls and have a family and live the basic lifestyle? Those are questions I still can’t answer my self, and I don’t think many people can. But hey, sometimes you just got to say screw it and just do what you feel is best at that given moment. Best of luck to you all, may your faceshots be abundant and landings be stomped!


17 replies
  1. ha
    ha says:

    LIFE AFTER THE DREAM: KC KYLE’S GUIDE TO MAKING SNOWBOARDING YOUR LIFE – I didn’t make it at Silverton, but that only brought me to Alaska, where I busted my ass and finally after 3 years it’s starting to pay off. – haha what dream and how can you write a guide when you hardly have any experience or knowledge?! This is funny.

  2. TROOF
    TROOF says:



    Been saying the same thing for years now, get lost Kyle you schmuck, you aren’t inspiring and this isn’t the guide to schmeckle touching I thought I was going to read from you. ??

Comments are closed.