By on February 21st, 2018

Sometime around 2015, a recently-transplanted New Yorker named Herman Neal entered a local Mt. Hood rail contest and let his riding do the talking. He was very humble about his rail wizardy when I asked his name, so the judges could award him the win that first event. A few more events and Herman had established himself as ‘The New Jack’ of Mt Hood; the rider to beat. What most around Oregon don’t know is that he has a signature pro model with a boutique brand called Live2Ride snowboards out of Seattle, WA and also holds down a job in the highly respected Cascade Dining Room at Timberline Lodge. More importantly, Herman’s passionate approach to snowboarding fuels his trick innovations like ‘one-footed 720’s’ that he is really, really close to landing. For more, read on. -Mike Estes

Current Hometown and how long have you lived there?

Government Camp, Oregon. I have been living the Govy life for about 4 years now.

What/Who pays the bills?

Timberline Lodge has paid the bills ever since I moved out here year around 2014 (from Queensbury, New York). You can find me serving tables in the Cascade Dining Room just about every night.

Give the kiddies the results from the last 5 contests you entered?

I haven’t really been doing many contests lately. 2nd place in the Adidas Das Tables event last year. A few 1st places and 3rd or two at some Ski Bowl Rail Jams last year. I’d really like to start doing more contests again; they always have the sickest setups.

Who supports your riding habits?

My dad has always supported me, along with the support and filming of @MtHoodRiders of course. It’s a crew of rad local’s who are down with snowboarding and the Government Camp Lifestyle. We’re known to get pretty rowdy from time to time. Causing a little trouble here and there, but we keep each other in check and have more fun than anyone.

Describe a typical weekend?

Typical weekend for me would usually consist of snowboarding with all my friends until the lifts shut down. Chilling’ for a bit, before heading down to Charlie’s until close, stumbling home and then doing it all over again the next day.

Have you ever entered the Mt Baker Banked Slalom? What event would you like to gain entry too?

No I haven’t. I enter the (annual) lottery every year. Who doesn’t love going fast and taking turns? The [Legendary] banked slalom would be a pretty cool one to get entry too, also (Volcom’s) Hot Dawgs and Handrails. The setups every year are badass and it just looks like such a fun vibe. The Rat Race every summer always looks pretty rad too. Not really a contest, but Superpark is by far my favorite event. I look forward to attending every year and always have fun there. Thanks to Pat Bridges for putting together the dopest event in snowboarding year after year!

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I don’t know. I don’t like to think that far into the future. I’m more of a spontaneous type of person. I don’t even know where I’ll be in 5 days.

Have you landed the elusive “triple corker”?

Not quite, I attempted to pop my ‘Triple Cherry’ last year at Superpark 21, landed on my feet on the first one but couldn’t quite handle the compression on the landing. The second attempt, I came in too fast, overshot and over rotated. I definitely want to add at least one triple variation to the bag this year. If the chance comes up. I like to go upside down.

Are you filming any new video parts and with who?

No, not currently, that opportunity hasn’t presented itself to me. I took a long break after an injury. I’m all healed up now. I have been doing a lot of filming with MtHoodRiders and all of the locals having a blast, making edits and just doing some good old fashioned party boarding.

What was it like to receive word that your snowboard sponsor wants to give you a pro model?

I was mostly surprised. Never really expected that to happen. I’m stoked on the fact that we got to create a Mount Hood themed snowboard using my favorite local artist – Bryan Miller.

What do you do when the chairs shut down in September?

I usually try to go back home to upstate New York for a month or two. My dad operates a custom cabinet and counter top business and I love being in the shop building stuff with him. I did that my whole life before I moved out to Mt Hood. Other than that I’m usually taking long road trips. I love seeing the country. I’m actually trying to drive all 50 states in my 2002 Subaru WRX that I’ve owned since high school. By the time I come back from NY this (upcoming) November I’ll have (driven) all of the lower 48 states. Hopefully I will have Alaska done by September 2019, and then my car is getting shipped to Hawaii to knock out the last one on my bucket list.

Charlie’s or Ratskeller?

Charlie’s for sure. The building is actually part of the top sheet for an upcoming (soon to be released) 2019 snowboard from Live2Ride. It’s pretty much every Gov’y Rats living room and the greatest place on earth. The pizza at the Rat is awesome and a lot of my friends work there, but if I’m drinking, you will find me stumbling around Charlie’s.

Huckleberry Pancakes or Taco Shoppe?

Taco Shoppe, all day, every day! The Carnitas Burrito is fire. The Huck is good, but I love my Mexican Food.

Mt Hood Bus or Hitch a Ride?

I drive to the mountain, everyday.

Who are the riders that inspire you?

Halldór Helgason has the sickest style I have ever seen. I love watching him ride. Funny story, Like four summers ago, he stopped me in the public park at Timberline after the jump line to find out who did this laid out backflip, said it was dope and wanted to know who did it, he asked me to take off my goggles so he could remember my face. I had music playing and thought he said nice goggles or something, so I just sort of waved and rode off. Funny thinking about it now. My friends still laugh about that day I accidentally ghosted Halldór. Scott Stevens with that one-footed shit is on a completely different planet. He’s a very outside the box rider and I love how he looks at snowboarding, from a different perspective. He changed the game forever.

Anyone you would like to give a shout out too? Sponsors? Friends? Family?

My Dad. Justin at L2R snowboards, Findlay Hats, Mountainology Board Shop, Blackstrap, Dabz Snowboard Wax, Timothy “Big Tim” Douglass, Ian Smith and the Mt Hood Riders Crew, all the Gov’y Local’s and Timberline Lodge.