Winterstick Owner / Board Designer / 2x Olympic Gold Medalist
Carrabassett Valley, Maine
What has kept you snowboarding all these years?
My passion for it.
“From the time that I have known Seth it was clear he had the strength and determination to be successful, but there has to be a key ingredient in order to achieve the level of success that Seth has. What I have seen over the years is hard to define, but more than anything I can tell that Seth has a sense of purpose, or a state of mind that creates a subtle power to be the best in a particular moment. This project with Winterstick and helping to preserve a piece of snowboarding history creates something for Seth to learn and hold on to, and eventually share with everyone.”
– Eric Webster
USSA Grand Prix Tour Director
What is your most challenging line of all time?
I got off the milk run from Seattle into Cordova in the late morning… we were just getting out of the van at PNH base out at Orca Inlet. Back in those days they still flew on changeover day and the week before us riders were making the most of the possible hours in the field. Dean Conway, Ueli Kestenholz and my guide from the winter before came running off the heli pad yelling it’s time boys get your gear on…. Twenty minutes later we were flying out the Rude River, headed for the Full Support Valley.
We’d filmed all the main lines in that valley the spring before so as we were circling around Ueli offhandedly asked, How about ala hole? We’d ridden the dogleg line on Humble Pie the year before, and to be honest I hadn’t really looked that much at the massive multifaceted face on the other side. Looking back from the guide seat with a cackle Conway said this might be the only time we’ll get this in our lives and a couple minutes later we were traversing the back of the cornice line a few thousand feet above the valley floor.
These were the days before digital cameras. We didn’t have a Polaroid, and sitting above the massive face the only thing that could be seen was the first hundred feet above the rollover and the valley floor way below. Ueli went first for framing for the film crew and opted for the riders’ left line. From the time he disappeared over the rollover it seemed like it took ten minutes for him to appear on the valley floor sections.
When I saw the footage later that year I found out why he took so long – he got stuck on a couple rocks on the way down. He radioed back up that the snow was sweet but the sluff was moving quickly for sure. Basically I was instructed to keep going right. I found out later that my helmet cam setup literally only captured the pre-drop in the moments when Dean and I were staring at the rollover with Ueli’s track disappearing into the abyss. The countdown came from Seppi Dabringer over in his spot across the valley behind the lens – five four three two one – and it was on.
Welcome back to AK There were a few tentative turns until I could see over the edge and then I let it open up on the upper snowfield. The features on the face stood up enough that it felt like connecting the dots and I just progressed to the next high point, quickly assessed where to go from there and then let gravity pull me downhill. It was one of the best moments of my life – I can vividly recall where I got totally engrossed in the moment – nothing else existed at that moment in life. It was a truly special day. I got my first first descent that afternoon and enjoyed four runs that day in some of the best snow I’d ever ridden in my 11 years in Alaska. It was good to be back up north.
Seth’s Preferred Boards:
SWP 160 and 164, Swallowtail 173