Dew Tour Breckenridge is upon us, and the athletes have already began to line up for registration in anticipation. Anticipation, however, doesn't always translate to tension and contest jitters.
Take Red Gerard, for example. At only 17 years of age, one might imagine he would have an overwhelming sense of anxiety as he lines up alongside the world's best. This could not be further from the truth.
Red is already a seasoned veteran in the space (in 2015 he earned fifth place at Dew Tour at just 15), and he is coming into this week's events on a tear. Back in February, Red won the first U.S. Olympic qualifier event at Mammoth, and just last month he took home second place at the Milan big air event--an event discipline that he's, "not the biggest fan of."
While Red was relaxed in the registration line with his friends, Dew Tour pulled him aside for a couple of minutes to catch up with the rising star.
I think the more creative stuff you can have in a course translates to having less triple corks and all that crazy stuff, which is the way I'm trying to lean.
-- Red Gerard
Red, how's the home compound looking these days? Do you still have stuff to ride at your house?
It is still going, and it is pretty funny because yesterday we just started digging some of the first rails and getting them into the ground. It has been a pretty bad snow year for Colorado so far. So, it is just now getting started, but it is going to be good and is coming back, for sure.
(Video above: Red first place run at Mammoth Grand Prix back in January 2017)
How often do you make additions and tweaks?
There are always tweaks going on. There is not really a regular setup. It is always changing.
Who is helping with the ideas and the execution of bringing new things to life?
It is not even me by any means. I actually don't have much to do with the backyard, other than it is at my house. My brothers do it, and Kyle Mack was over yesterday doing it. It is just kind of all the friends and anyone who wants to ride comes and builds stuff.
Does that stuff translate to contest riding, or is it more for fun and side project stuff?
Yeah, for sure. I have actually learned a ton of stuff in the backyard, like rails tricks. It is easy to come home from snowboarding, just hang out and take laps. We have some really good but not too risky down bars that you can learn a lot of rail tricks on.
What are your thoughts on weaving creativity into contest riding? How important is it to you?
It is huge for me, and that is actually why I love the Dew Tour so much. [Dew Tour] always have so much creative stuff, and with good builders like [Snow Park Technologies] building stuff that tests the limits of all the builders as to what they can do--it is really cool.
I'm really down with all the creative stuff. I think the more creative stuff you can have in a course translates to having less triple corks and all that crazy stuff, which is the way I'm trying to lean.
How do you step up your contest riding? Do you do trampoline training, skateboarding, airbag stuff, feed off your friends, or is it more just about riding as often as you can?
To me, I don't really train or anything. When I'm snowboarding I just try to do my tricks and learn new tricks when I want to. I don't really have any particular kind of trampolining or anything like that to do. The U.S. team hold a lot of training camps for us, and I would say that is probably where I learn most of my tricks.
Have you had a chance to see the 2018 PyeongChang slopestyle course? What are your thoughts on the layout?
I have, yeah. I've been there twice now, for big air and slopestyle. It is definitely cool. I was really psyched.
When I was going there for the test event I thought, 'okay, cool, it's going to be the typical FIS bullcrap. It is going to be three rails, three jumps and that is it.' But then there was some crazy stuff! I wish we had more practice, because I could not get my mind around it.
Do you plan to utilize some of the different styles of jump hits?
For sure. I think that that is certainly something that judges have got to start looking at more. It is so hard to judge a backside triple cork against a thousand other backside triple corks. So, if you can put that in your run and make it all creative, I think that is going to be the best thing you can do.
Is that kind of variety something you'd like to see more of in slopestyle contests, or do you prefer the more traditional layouts for contest?
I would absolutely like to see more slopestyle courses do stuff like that. I think any sort of change in slopestyle would be awesome. In the creative way, obviously.
Okay, let's switch it up a bit. How are you feeling going into Dew Tour this weekend?
I feel pretty good, actually. We have been doing a lot of big air events. I did the big air event in Milan, which I'm not the biggest fan of (Red earned 2nd as part of a U.S. sweep) but It has been fun.
I've been trying to snowboard more than usual. That is kind of the tough part, for me. As you start to do more contest, you don't actually snowboard as much as you used to when you were growing up. That is my biggest thing, I just want to snowboard to feel good. But yeah, overall coming into Dew Tour I'm feeling pretty good.
(Video above: Red’s second-place run at Big Air in Milan.)