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Kyle Clancy lives outside the snowboard industry’s box.
Here’s a rider that bailed on Mack Dawg’s program to film on his own terms with Grenade until he took matters completely into his own hands and filmed “Who Cares” under his own production company, Mongo Pro.
Here’s a rider that won Red Bull’s Heavy Metal rail contest among the world’s best jibbers and then never hit another street rail again.
Here’s a rider that’s done what he needs to do to make sure he can shred as much as possible in any given season on his own terms.
He’s been called a lot of things:
“The next Jason Ford.”
“The expensive underground guy”
“The guy who’s survived career suicide.”
“That asshole that wouldn’t take me to Jackson the first year I had a snowmobile.” – (Okay, that’s just me.)
The truth is that Kyle is one of the few riders that’s been able to carve out a long term niche for himself that doesn’t require fashion accessories or overbearing team managers with your whole career planned for you by contract.
So, meet Kyle Clancy: one of my oldest friends in snowboarding and the one I respect the most for doing it on his own in the most unique way possible. – Tim Zimmerman
Do you think the nickname “panties” helped you land your Under Armor sponsorship?
Nobody knows Jenner Richard called me that. Now they do.
Is there a fun story behind said nickname?
It rhymes, and makes my sound like a pussy, so they like it.
Everyone knows Colin Langlois was a rollerblader, but not sure a lot of people are aware of your sweet BMX skills. Why did you choose snowboarding over BMX?
Honestly, I started traveling for snowboarding all year round, it was to hard to bring my bike. I started skate boarding alot more, it was so easy to carry along. I miss the BMX scene though, nobody is too cool.
I feel like the YoBeat readership may be interested to know who you lost your virginity to… care to kiss and tell?
That’s easy, you.
Any other fond memories from living in Vermont in the 90s?
Well let’s see, Stowe Mt. didn’t give a shit about snowboarding, so we had to travel to the mountains who did — Okemo, Killington, Stratton. It was fun because all my friends went to the snowboard schools, so it was like teenager vacation at all the events. Partying under the super vison of coaches, ha ha. Thats what coaches really do; they do the sober driving, pick up the bibs at the meetings, and keep you from getting yourself too wasted.
How’s the family life? How did your lady make an honest man out of you?
Family life rules, It’s a shit load of work. We both travel for our jobs, so it can be real tricky, but it’s way more rewarding that way. Being married doesn’t make you honest by default, that takes work too.
Where are you living and riding these days?
Alpine, Wyoming. I ride everywhere, but when it’s good here, it blows away most places. I still love to travel and explore, though.
How many times have you tried to ruin your snowboard career? Why don’t you think it’s worked?
I have seen so many pros come and go in my time in snowboarding.Â It only ends when you say it does, if you stop learning new tricks, that’s it.Â People get really burnt in this industry too, and they take it personally.Â Â I just like flying down the mountain, and some people just want to be pro, and when they lose a sponsor, they quit trying. I have made my share of mistakes too, my focus would shift to music or BMX or Skating and that didn’t help either.
Given the number of sponsors you’ve had in the recent past, how do you keep who you are riding for straight?
It’s not like skateboarding where pros build an image and a legacy at a company. Most companies in snowboarding have very little respect for the sport (maybe cuz that person was dropped by a sponsor in the past and their bitter). Everybody just wants to sponsor a new person every two years, so they can catch a Shaun White for cheap, early. And guys like Chad Otterstrom or JJ Thomas get fucked. We need to take care of our sport and build it’s personality and not just a revolving doors of “up and coming” riders.
What is your longest standing sponsor?
At the moment Bluebird Wax and Liberty Boardshop. It would have been Grenade Gloves- but they ditched most everybody from the early days- don’t know why!
Obviously snowboarding is fun, and you are kind of good at it, but how do you stay motivated to be a “pro snowboarder”?
It’s a living thing, it’s different every year, the tricks, your favorite spots. It’s like surfing, meeting a challenge and overcoming it. Some years the snow sucks, so you ride pipe, and some years it’s all about powder.Â It’s all about the lifestyle too, sleeping 4 hours a night and going out when it’s -40.Â It can be more spirtual then like, high school. Look at Jeremy Jones, he didn’t burn out.Â So many people in snowboarding hate the sport, we all have that friend who talks shit about snowboarding but they loved it at one point.
What’s more important to you than snowboarding?
Family. That doesnt just mean your aunt and uncle. It means people you can trust and love. Your circle of people you build in your little world.
How do you feel about the current state of the world? Think Obama is doing a good job?
Who? I don’t talk politics in public anymore. Though it would be fun.
Do you ever get in fights at cowboy bars over politics?
I don’t go to bars really.Â I go to skateparks, and there are no cowboys there.
What do you actually do with yourself during the season? Any projects in the works this year?
I have my hands in a bunch of cookie jars this time around. I’m making my own video part with the help of Under Armour. Then I’ll have shots inÂ Transworld’s new movie, the Bluebird movie, Commotion (Snow Rev), and a new T.V. show coming out soon.
What’s your favorite film crew you’ve worked with over the years?
I have spent some time with every crew, anybody who still likes to ride is best. A lot of filmers are stuck filming snowboarding even though they don’t love it. Just the motivated ones.
What is it like being on a photoshoot with THE Tim Zimmerman? Does he ever blow the shot?
NEVER. Tim and I get into little fights here and there, but he is so talented, overqualified.
Most people I know agree, you are super underrated. So who do you think doesn’t get the respect they deserve in snowboarding?
A lot of people, the industry is so fixated on contests right now.Â It’s destructive. It’s becoming like baseball: riders are just trying to go to as many contest as they can.Â Who won the US open last year? I don’t know. Who was in That’s It, That’s All? Everybody knows that shit.Â I want my riding to last and change things for the better, not just get TTR points. And thanks for the compliment!
Any other thanks, no thanks, sponsor plugs?
Under Armour Mountain sports, Gordini Goggles, Bluebird Wax, Liberty Boardshop, Masa accessories. Thanks for the interview, the best I can remember.