We caught up with Kingwill and WSD organizer Rémi Forsans to check in about the plans for the 10th Annual World Snowboard Day on December 20:
Tell us a little bit about WSD – what is the goal, and why was it started?
Rémi: World Snowboard Day was created in 2006 by snowboarders for snowboarders having seen the success of this type of event for surfing and skateboarding. Given that snowboarding is boardsports’ third pillar so to speak, it was important for us to have our own annual celebration. The goal is to bring together the worldwide snowboarding community through a celebration or festival-style event that allows us to reach as many people as possible, and to show how open and welcoming snowboarding is relative to the tribal image the sport has had in the past. We strive to encourage everyone to try out the sport by showing just how fun and amazing it is to snowboard and to be part of a snowboarding community that welcomes newcomers.
Rob: World Snowboard Day was started to bring the worldwide tribe of snowboarders together to celebrate our amazing sport, and to get new people stoked on riding as well. I really like the idea of supporting the community aspect of our sport, and I think events like this are crucial to keeping the soul alive.
Rob is the first North American ambassador for World Snowboard Day. How did that come about, and how important is it that our region now has its own ambassador?
Rob: I was contacted by my friend and snowboard OG Bob Klein to see if I would be up to the task. I’m a huge advocate for snowboarding and how it can positively impact people’s lives, and I immediately wanted to be involved. Up until now most of the WSD events and organization has been done from Europe, and I think having a North American ambassador who really cares about stoking the fire of this idea will really get a lot more people involved in creating their own events over here.
Rémi: Snowboarding has had its ups and downs, like every winter sport, and it was important to us to have partners around the world to support our sport. In the US, snowboarding is a major sport and it is a good thing to maintain a constant media presence in order to encourage newcomers. WSD is a free event, open to everyone and celebrated across the world. It’s a great way to share a great time with others.
How has it been to work with the other ambassadors, Gian Simmen and Wang Lei? Had you met them before, and have you enjoyed teaming up for WSD?
Rob: I’ve known Gian since we used to compete in halfpipe together in the late ’90s, and we were both riding for Nike. He loves snowboarding as much as I do, and from the photos I’ve seen still rips! I haven’t met Wang Lei yet, but I think all three of us working to spread the word in our respective regions will really activate a lot more participation from riders so that these events can get some momentum and keep building year after year.
Rob, what are your plans for WSD? Which event will you be at, and what will be happening there?
Rob: I’m currently organizing an event at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, my home mountain. They have been super supportive of the idea and have offered free snowboarding lessons all day on December 20th, as well as discounted rentals. I’ve also talked to several local shops like the Jackson Treehouse, the Boardroom and Habitat who are planning on being involved with demo discounts and some fun after-parties as well. It’s going to be a great time!
You started your own company, AVALON7, and then began your foundation Futurpositiv. Tell us about that journey with starting your own company and foundation. Who does Futurpositiv benefit and what was the motivation to start it?
Rob: I started AVALON7 in 2005 as a way to creatively influence the snowboard world and have a way to stay in the industry without working for anyone else. I truly believe that small independent companies run by snowboarders help to keep things fresh and interesting, and are vital to the relevance of our sport.
I decided to start the Futurepositiv Project 501c3 nonprofit as a way to help get more kids involved in snowboarding on a grassroots level. I’ve been coaching and working with kids at summer camps like the Camp of Champions and Windell’s for almost 20 years, and I’ve seen first-hand how much snowboarding can positively influence their lives by teaching kids independence, self-confidence and focus. Our goal through Futurepositiv is to help make snowboarding more accessible to kids, especially those with low incomes. A portion of the profits from AVALON7 goes to the Futurepositiv Project, as well as to 1% for the Planet.
How does acting as the NA ambassador for WSD tie in with the rest of your efforts to help people get into snowboarding, and why is that important to you?
Rob: I am really excited about being the NA Ambassador for WSD because it helps me to share my stoke for snowboarding and what an amazing sport it really is. I’ve been a snowboarder since 1987, and I have seen it grow from stoked dirtbags riding hand dug half pipes with duct-taped boots, to million dollar contracts and Olympic dreams. I think some folks seem to forget that at its core, snowboarding is just really, really, really fun, and I think that is what the WSD is all about- it doesn’t matter how good at riding you are, just that you are a SNOWBOARDER.
Rémi: Beyond WSD, Rob’s just a great ambassador for the sport. Not only has he been a wildly successful athlete, but he works hard to make sure that everyone has the chance to enjoy snowboarding. It’s clear that snowboarding is not just a fad, but a sport widely enjoyed throughout the world. Winter sports in general have hit hard times due to the overall state of the world economy, climate change and much less predictable winter weather in general, and so it is important for us to unite our efforts to attract newcomers and to show just how much fun and rewarding it is to ride the mountains. The industry, event organizers, federations, and pro riders have to work together, and WSD is one great way to do so.
Check out Kinger in his Award Winning GoPro video – Kingdom: Alaska Dreams
The Kingdom: AK Dreams Presented by AVALON7 100% GoPro edit from AVALON7 on Vimeo.
To find events for WSD, go to the WSD website, and to register a new event, click on the “organizer” button, then click on “register,” and simply follow the instructions. Free downloadable tools are also available to promote events including posters, the media kit and an event presentation.
Find an Event or Register Your Event on the World Snowboard Day website!