Ted Lavoie’s Almost Famous Hump DayBy admin • Feb 27th, 2013 • Category: Features, Hump Day Interviews, Latest
Ted Lavoie is about as east coast as you can get. He’s a carpenter. He’s a fisherman. He loves beer and he rides his snowboard for all the right reasons. He may not be a pro snowboarder, but he’s pretty much pro at candlepin bowling. Read on to learn more about one of the elite members of snowboarding’s working class. — Sean Black
Sean: Word on the street is that you’ve been using performance-enhancing drugs while filming your video part this season. Care to explain?
Ted: Beer. It’s the only performance enhancer needed for snowboarding. Sometimes, I think you need a little bit of a loose aspect to be able to do shit. Straight up. I’m just not a good snowboarder. I know a lot of people who are very refined at tricks and really good at shit. I’m not that guy. If I’m scared of hitting a spot and I have a couple of beers, I’ll just fucking do it. I think it just turns a little something off in my brain and allows me to snowboard with less hesitation.
What do you think it is that motivates you to push yourself into that uncomfortable zone and push your limits?
I don’t know. I think it must have started a long time ago. Probably the first time I got a legitimate clip. It’s a cool feeling to know that your shot is going to go into a movie that people are going to see it. At the same time, I’ve gone through a lot of shit since that first clip that has made me want to quit snowboarding or has made me think I could do something better with my time. But for some reason, every time I almost quit I get sucked back into it. For the first spot of the year, we went to this super gnarly spot. I didn’t really want to hit it but my friends convinced me to do it. Once I hit it and got my trick, I got that tingly feeling. You know, it’s like almost orgasmic. It’s like a drug. From that point on, I just knew it was on.
So once you get that feeling, you just want more?
Yeah, its all for the feeling I’d say, but when I’m filming with you guys (Think Thank), you guys just hit so many spots. I can’t do that. I have to be selective with what spots I hit because I can’t afford to get hurt. If I’m hitting something I want to know that its worthwhile and it’s gonna make the cut.
You can’t afford to get hurt because then you can’t work right? Explain your current situation with working and snowboarding.
Well this year has been fucking crazy. I moved back to New Hampshire and I have job as a carpenter. Basically, it’s just me and my boss running this company. He lines up the jobs and I do a lot of the work. I’ve been working two weeks on, two weeks off all winter, stacking money and then taking two weeks to film. I got 5 icy days in at Loon before I started filming. I haven’t ridden a resort since December 5th but I’ve been filming whenever I can since then to try and get a part in the Think Thank video (Think Thank is Brain Dead and Having a Heart Attack).
So after all this time, you’re not making money off of snowboarding but you’re still putting all your money back into it; taking trips and filming a part. What keeps you going?
I’ve been asking myself that for a long time. This is my fifth year out of college. I already have a degree. I can go be a teacher. I could go get a masters and do something else. I love carpentry. I like what I’m doing but every since I saw The Resistance and found out that you can be a professional snowboarder, it’s just been in my mind that you don’t stop until you get what you want. No matter what. My mom taught me that as a child. Honestly, I don’t know what I want out of snowboarding. I recently got an interview in Bliss Magazine and I was ecstatic. Its not a big deal, but I felt like I could retire and then I just want more. I want to keep going. Right now, I want a video part. I see everyone else doing it and getting help from sponsors and I’m just like….fuck it, if I’m not gonna get any real help, I’m just gonna do it myself.
It’s just more for yourself then?
Yeah, I could give two fucks about little kids coming up to me or knowing my name. I don’t want any sort of recognition. I guess it’s more of a self-driven thing. I don’t know how to explain it. I just do it because I want to. I know that right now…I can, and in a couple of years I won’t be able to. If not now…when?
Cheers. Lets bring it back a bit. Explain to me how you got into snowboarding in the first place?
I got my first snowboard from Play It Again Sports. The old man bought it for me. I had that thing for a couple of years until I decided I needed something better. I saved all my lunch money for my entire freshman year in high school. I would just bum snacks off my friends. Finally, I had enough cash saved up and I bought a Ride System 151 off of thehouse.com. [laughs] I just wanted a brand name board. Soon afterwards, I entered a contest at Powder Ridge in Connecticut and broke it because I was trying to impress the guys from the local shop. I couldn’t snowboard after that but I was going on a trip to Okemo with my best friend and his family. His dad ended up buying me a board so I could go on the trip. After that I was like, I can’t afford snowboards, my family can’t afford snowboards, and I can’t be having my friends family buying me snowboards. I just decided that I was gonna get really fucking good so I could get snowboards for free. I never ended up getting really fucking good, but I did get snowboards for free. Haha.
So who was your first sponsor?
My first sponsor was Elevation. Chris Coulter came to a rail jam at my local shop, B-17 in New Haven, Connecticut. He ended up giving me one of his boards afterwards. I still have it with all of his stickers on it. That dude would probably never remember that shit but he would remember the board if I showed it to him.
After that, you rode for Weekend and Bond for a while right?
After Elevation, it was K2 for a while and then I rode for Weekend and Bond until they dropped me.
What’s the story behind that?
It all pretty much happened at Superpark 2 years ago. I got to the top of the mountain. I was a little drunk in the morning because I had had a good night. I went to see Danny Garrity’s band the night before. I didn’t have sunscreen and neither did anyone else, but my buddy Reid Casner had black zinc. That was my only option so I put the black zinc on my nose. I started sweating and rubbing my face and before I knew it, the zinc was everywhere. Haha.
So you went to Superpark in black face and the Bond/Weekend guys weren’t impressed.
I didn’t paint my face black. I just had black zinc on my nose, but it did end up everywhere. Everyone was partying that day so I just partied with them. I kept having a good time that day. We were drinking but we were also snowboarding. I went 100 feet on my snowboard that day. I don’t think I’ll ever do that again. Haha. Anyway, about a week later they pretty much told me that they weren’t reimbursing me for the trip, weren’t going to give me product any more and good luck with my life.
Sounds like those guys weren’t down with the on-hill party.
Well I didn’t kill it by any means. I had broken my kneecap earlier that season so I was feeling pretty timid. I wasn’t even supposed to be snowboarding. But fuck it; I was on vacation in Mammoth. Are you shitting me? I had never been there before. I was gonna have a good time. It just didn’t work out with those guys. I ended up running into one of the co-owners the next summer at High Cascade. I sat down with him and just asked him why they made the call on cutting me. He told me straight up that I wasn’t good enough for what they were trying to build. Whatever though. I’m not mad.
That’s harsh man. Do you think the people who are running snowboarding know what they’re even looking for most of the time?
I think that a lot people running snowboarding have no idea what they’re doing. No clue. You can put that in there. I don’t give a fuck. I guarantee you 80% of the industry doesn’t snowboard more than 10 days a year. And that’s fucked up. I’m not trying to call anybody out, but who are these people that call the shots? You’re not the one trying to kill yourself. You’re not the one progressing the sport. The people running the brands try to get around paying people by hooking up the younger hungry kids with nothing but boards, or they just see some little kid who has one crazy trick and they just decide to pay him. But those kids don’t know how to film a video part. They don’t even know how to build a lip. If you want people who know what they’re doing to support your brand, you’re going to need to spend some money. That’s where snowboarding has lost it. These companies don’t have the integrity to actually pay people who have put their lives into snowboarding.
You wouldn’t say that about every company in the industry though.
No, definitely not. I’m not hating. There are people out there that have it going on for them and that’s great. I have friends making money off of snowboarding and I think they deserve it. I would fucking kill for that, but I don’t have it and there are a lot of people out there that kill it and they don’t have it either. You have a lot of kooks running the industry and you have kooks hooking up kooks. And then you have people who are putting their heart and their soul into this shit and they just get shit on. I guess it’s just the luck of the draw. You know what though? I don’t give a fuck. You know why? Because I’m still here and I’m gonna be here as long as I wanna be here. No one can tell me to leave so I’m gonna fucking stay until I’m content.
This is a pretty funny follow up question but…sponsors?
Eastern Boarder, Bataleon, Switchback, I/S Eyewear and Ass Industries.