After winning the first two stops of the Winter Dew Tour and being the only person to beat Shaun White in an Olympic qualifier, Danny Davis was about to have a year snowboarders could only dream of. But all that came to a halt after a night of celebrating in Snowbasin went wrong. A serious accident on a Quad cost Danny not only a Dew Cup but also a spot on the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team. For most people, the loss of those ambitions would be more devastating than the injuries themselves but in Danny’s case the serious brain injury to close friend Kevin Pearce helped Danny put things into perspective. We caught up with Danny to see how he’s doing and get his thoughts on the Dew Tour moving to resorts that can accommodate the 22-ft pipe. Here’s what he had to say.
What do you think of the new 22-ft. pipe this winter on the Dew Tour?
We basically whined about it last year for a while. Like, ‘We need the 22-ft!’ And everyone at Dew Tour and Alli said that they were hearing us, but it’s the resorts that wouldn’t let it happen. And so it was kind of like, ‘Well, the Grand Prix’s are doing it, X Games does it.’ Last year was Olympic year and I was switching from a 22-ft pipe to then an 18-ft one.
What differences do you see in riding a smaller pipe?
Amplitude, but then also when you drop in, it’s really quick, the really quick transition. For 22-ft pipes, that four feet of transition, for some reason, it makes it 10-times better.
In Killington, at the second stop, is where the pipe will be elevated to 22-ft. Have you ridden there, and been to the town before?
I took my first freestyle snowboard lesson at Killington, actually. I was probably 12, 13. Vermont was where we would come from Michigan to go to the big mountains. So my dad was like, ‘Hey, be careful here. You can get hurt.’ (laughing) So I love that there’s a stop in V-T.
It was crazy because I’d never been on big rails, and they had big rails and big jumps. I just remember taking a run that was 20-minutes, and in Michigan, it’s like every run is like twenty to thirty seconds. So a 20-minute run from top to bottom, my dad and I were like, ‘Man, this is so sick!’
I went to school in Vermont, so any kind of contest that’s in Vermont, I’m a Vermonter a little bit. I’m from Michigan, but I got a little Vermont in me.
Finals will be at Snowbasin, what are your thoughts on that?
That was the night I got hurt, actually. It was the night I sent it. I won that night and got hurt.
Huge Frontside Nosebone for his first win of the season
How’s it going to feel going back?
Whatever. I don’t remember it anyway.
Just riding a four-wheeler at night. I shouldn’t have drank and rode a four-wheeler and I did and I got hurt. It’s just like people tell you.
When I was growing up, there were always like, ‘Hey man, you can drink and you can have fun. Do that. But you have to be really careful when it’s time to be professional and it’s time to focus.’
And it was an Olympic year, and I guess I wasn’t focused on that, you know. I learned a lesson.
You were the guy everyone was calling out as the one that could beat Shaun White, and then you were out of the running, how hard was that?
I was riding the best I’ve ridden in a long time. So it just goes to show you how alcohol is cool, it’s fun, but it can mess a lot of stuff up for you if you’re not careful with it.
Danny and I-Pod checking the scores in Utah
Were you watching the comps on TV?
I watched the Olympics, X Games, all that stuff. I watched X Games from my hospital bed. I was in the hospital for two weeks.
How hard was it to have to watch a competition you should have been competing in?
You know, Kevin got hurt shortly before that, Kevin Pearce. For me, the doctors were like, ‘Don’t worry, you’re gonna walk again, and you’re so lucky you’re going to walk.’ So I was just thankful for that.
And then I went and visited Kev, and he had a really traumatic brain injury. So I didn’t even care about missing the comps, as long as I could get back to snowboarding, I was fine with it. And as soon as I heard Kev could snowboard again, then I was just like, ‘Whatever.’ We both got hurt. I was being an idiot when I got hurt, and Kev was working hard when he got hurt. But, we’re both going to be back in the snowboard thing.
It’s a bummer I missed out on what I missed out on, but it’s how you learn lessons. You live and learn.
And was your last day of riding at Snowbasin?
Yeah. Last run was when I won the Dew Tour. Last trick I did was when I won a contest. I feel like that’s a good momentum, right?
Photo Credit: Joel Muzzey
Are you getting ready in the offseason to come back? Going to New Zealand?
I got hurt beginning of January, and I’ve been doing physical therapy and all that stuff ever since then. And I’m going to take another month of just chilling and then I’m going to go cruise. I’m not going to jump in the halfpipe or anything like that, but I’m going to go cruise. Try it out.
The Dew Tour season starts out in December in Breckenridge, any plans to be back competing by then?
I don’t know if I’ll be jumping right into the halfpipe because the doctors are saying, for my muscles and everything, I need to take it slow. I need to give the muscles time to react to the kind of pressure you’re giving them from the impact. So if I just jumped right into a halfpipe, they’re going to go right into spasm and be super firm, and so I’m just going to take my time. I’ve talked to all my sponsors, and they’re cool and want me to take my time. So everybody’s being cool, and I’m just going to ride pow for the first little while of the season. So I’m low impact at the beginning of the season, but I figure by January, February, I’ll be hopefully right back where I was. Hopefully. We’ll see.