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Scotty Vine is a pretty out there. But how many creative people have you met that are completely normal? The best inventions and creations of all time come from minds that are slightly off kilter. Snowboarding is at a stalemate. There are so many good riders and so many tricks have already been done. It’s my opinion that if snowboarding is going to manage to stay fresh and exciting, we’re going to need more weirdoes like Scotty Vine leading the charge. -Sean Black
Scotty, I heard your upbringing was a little short of normal. Where were you born?
I was born in a little town called Crestline, at my parents house. My mother had a midwife come to the house to assist with the birth. Me, my younger brother, and my youngest brother were all born in that house. I’m the 5th of 7 siblings. After a while she was just like “eh…I don’t want to go to the hospital for this one.”
Haha that’s pretty nuts. Where did you go to school?
I was homeschooled until my freshman year of high school and then I went to a private school in Lake Arrowhead, which was pretty mellow and small. My sophomore year, I went to Rim of The World High School, which was a complete culture shock for me. The halls…people pushing on each other…everyone rushing to get to class on time… It was a huge change for me. I was only like 5’1’’ freshman year and I’d get picked on a bit for being small but then I shot up to almost 6 feet junior year.
Dang, you grew really quickly.
Yeah haha. My coordination was off. My ligaments grew faster than the rest of my body so I had to stop playing baseball. I turned to snowboarding as an alternative sport.
Was that the only thing that grew faster than the rest of your body? I heard you have abnormally large balls too.
Well yeah once I got into snowboarding they helped out a lot with weight distribution. They almost serve the purpose of a tail when it comes to balance. They’re kind of the unsung heroes behind my snowboard career.
How big are your balls?
They’re big enough. Haha. I wouldn’t want em any bigger.
Do you attribute landing the first ever one-footed double backflip to your giant set of balls?
Um…no. I would attribute that to years of mental visualization and finally finding the right jump.
Where do you see the one-footed thing going? Are you worried about getting dubbed as the one-footer guy?
I mean, there are a lot of riders doing one-footed tricks. Bode Merrill and Scott (Stevens) are some of my favorites. I don’t think I’ll ever be in the same category as them. I mean they fucking slay it. Those are two of the people that got me stoked to do it. There’s always gonna be one-footed tricks. There are riders and then there are tricks. They’re just tricks. There are one-footed tricks. There aren’t one-footed riders. I’m not worried about being dubbed a one-footed rider. You could say Shaun Palmer was a “one-footed rider” and he fucking slayed it.
What kind of mental visualization do you go through before doing something like attempting a one-footed double backflip?
It’s a lot of past experience doing similar movements before and just understanding my edge control…getting in my head and calculating out all the errors so I can minimize the marginal value of error. I make all the estimations and then after the first attempt, it’s just fine-tuning the adjustments until it’s landed.
What other kinds of training do you do in terms of mental preparedness?
I’ve done a bunch of cognitive training just to keep my mind sharp. After 2011, I hit my head and got a bad concussion. It took 3 Â½ or 4 months just to stop having really dramatic post concussive symptoms. A lot of my cognitive functions became really hindered. My memory was about 45% of what it is now. I felt like a space cadet. I didn’t want to do any repetitive physical therapy in person so I started researching it on the Internet and found a bunch of these brain-training sites. By training on some of these sites, you can strengthen certain neurological functions through specific activities…the five main cognitive functions: speed, attention, problem solving, memory and flexibility. There are games designed around strengthening each one of them.
Do you think that cognitive training has helped you out? Are you back to 100%?
For the most part. I feel much more up to par and normal and aware of what’s going on around me now. I still get days where I feel off but I don’t know if that’s from me eating a cheeseburger or something…buy uh…yeah…
Hahaha. So do you put thought into your diet in terms of how that affects your mental capacity?
Yeah I try to eat a diet that’s high in Omega 3 fatty acids. It just helps the brain to function better. UCLA did a study that showed the memory recall for lab mice navigating a maze over a 6-week period. The control group was fed a diet of high fructose corn syrup and then the experimental group was fed the same corn syrup plus omega 3 fatty acids. The experimental group had significantly higher and faster memory recall when it came to navigating the maze over the 6 weeks.
You definitely seem to do a lot of thinking and self-reflection. Would you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert?
I feel like I fluctuate in-between the two extremes. I definitely grew up as a pretty extreme introvert. It really depends on who I’m hanging out with, how well I know somebody and how many people I’m around because usually one-on-one it’s not bad. But when I get around more than a few people or when I’m at a bar setting, I get pretty quiet unless I can kinda zone in. That’s how I’ve always been. Working up at High Cascade for example, it was really hard for me to be sociable and keep a conversation going with a bunch of little kids who expect me to say things. But, being thrown into that situation helped to shape my character and made me open up as a person because I was forced to be extroverted.
Going a little further back, what happened with Stepchild? It seems like you started to come up in their movie Child Support and then you sort of disappeared after that for a while.
Um…I never necessarily disappeared but my outlets for exposure changed. I originally got involved with Stepchild 2005-2006. I was lucky enough to film for Child Support, which was the first project that I worked on with them. After that movie came out, Stepchild wanted to focus on their main guys because…you know…they sold snowboards better than some kid out of Southern California who didn’t really have a developed name at the time.
So did you stop riding for Stepchild right after Child Support? What happened after that movie came out?
I don’t necessarily want to talk about that but…fuck it…ill say it. Stepchild got to the point where they were kind of in a hole financially so they did what they had to do to cut costs. They dropped riders and with me, everything was on verbal contract so…. They kept the guys that sold the most snowboards for them…Joe, JP, Simon. I have a lot of love for those guys and I only hope the best for them. I just wish everything had been handled a little differently. At the same time, I don’t regret working with Stepchild or even turning down Forum and Burton for them.
Photo: Kealan Shilling
Forum and Burton?
When I was riding for Stepchild, I turned down offers from Forum and Burton to stay on Stepchild. I turned down an offer from Forum. That was pretty dumb of me. I didn’t realize it at the time, I just figured that brand loyalty was more important and eventually it would pay off…but it didn’t. It was a complicated issue. The Forum offer was pretty lustrous…pretty prime and I didn’t realize that until years later. So yeah…
Was Arbor your first board sponsor after getting dropped from Stepchild?
Yeah. I was going to quit snowboarding. Brad Farmer called me up and was like “You should really give the boards a chance. We’re trying to change the face of the brand. Take things into a more core market direction and grab the right people. I think you’d be a good fit.” So I just took the chance, and it ended up working out really well.
How long ago was that?
That was in the fall of 2010.
So that’s been quite a change since then.
Yeah well when Brad first approached me, I didn’t know anything about the company. I’d honestly never heard about it before. The first time I was riding an Arbor, I was on their jib board and I remember thinking that if it had a little more stiffness, it would be the best board ever. Rocker boards took me a while to get into but they are something that I’ve really learned to love. When I got on Arbor’s slightly stiffer park board, I just fell in love with it. After that, I came down and met everyone at the offices in Venice. I got introduced to everyone and they had a premiere party at their headquarters. The company is a really close knit, awesome group of people. After that visit, I had a really good impression of the brand and the rest is history.
Where are you living now and what are you plans for the upcoming season?
Where am I living? That is an ever-changing answer, because I basically just follow the snow. You can’t film a full video part in Southern California. Even though Bear Mountain is my home mountain and I love being there and being involved with everything that they have going on, I have to go to Tahoe. I have to travel around all over the place…Washington, Colorado, Utah…wherever there is snow. So I’m always moving around.
What are you filming plans this year?
Still kinda in the works. My focus for the last three years has been producing as much web content as possible. From the second I joined Arbor I’ve been keeping track of my exposure and it’s been a never-ending growth process for creating content and being involved in edits. And then to compliment that I’m gonna be filming another full part and doing the Postcard Series volume two. We’re gonna take it to some other countries and really run with the Postcard Series and make some huge improvements from last season.
What do you think it take to be a professional snowboarder these days?
I think it’s drive…willingness to be involved in something bigger than yourself. In one sense… in the contest scene, snowboarding is an individual sport, but in the filming scene… there’s no fucking way that snowboarding is an individual sport. Even though its just one person and there’s a video part of just one person, its always people working with each other…and…I’ve lost track…of the original question.
Snowboarding…Filming…what does it take?
Oh yeah yeah. Ha. It takes somebody that is willing to work with other people and to be able to work alone in your own mind if you have to. It takes that drive and that willingness to keep going, to learn about the common trends in the industry, to learn what’s good and what’s not. It’s kinda complicated to be a pro snowboarder. Every person has their own story of how they’ve come up, how they have marketed themselves. Overall, it’s just time…just dedicating the time to go up to the mountain in the morning, consistency, and the willingness to constantly live on a budget. There is a lot but it’s all worth it.
Thanks Scotty…any shout-outs?
Big thanks to Arbor Snowboards, Bear Mountain, Sandbox Helmets, Flux Bindings, NXTZ facemasks and Elm headwear.