Before winter is in full effect in the Northern Hemisphere, Flow Snowboarding took the opportunity to interview Flow Team Athlete Jason Jay Gretzinger of Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. If we waited until the snow was flying, Gretzinger typically unplugs from the matrix, loads up his snowmobile and ventures off into the BC backcountry. If you ever wanted to venture off the resort and see the kind of riding a snowmobile could take you to… cruise along with Jay Gretzinger.
You are originally from Edmonton, Alberta…. How long have you been living in Nelson, BC? Do you ever see yourself living elsewhere?
Yes, the good old flat lands. Edmonton is a rad place if you like to jib, but the backcountry was calling. I first moved to Whistler and spent two years there. I realized it was too crowded and sent it into the sticks. I have been in Nelson for two and a half years now. The only other place I could see myself living would be Revelstoke or Pemberton, BC. The meccas of backcountry terrain.
Describe what like in Nelson, BC in the winters and summers.
Nelson is rad, very easy going small town mentality. The hippies here keep things natural. Probably like some small towns in Colorado, from what I have heard. The winter is awesome here. We get that blower interior powder and when you go out sledding/touring you only run into maybe five people at most in the zone. Not 60+ like in Whistler. This makes for a bit more technical navigating out there because you are usually the one breaking trail and finding your way through the trees. But I love that shit. Summertime is full of festivals, lakes and partying. It’s good.
What do you consider your home mountain to be?
The powder highway, I would say. All the mountain ranges between Nelson and Revelstoke are amazing. However, I did buy my first season pass for a resort in the past four years. The spot is Whitewater. Absinthe Films does shooting there every year. Pretty cool spot. Small, but lots of touring access.
Did you ski before you starting riding?
Never. Snowboarding from the start…
Where was the first place you started snowboarding? How old were you?
Edmonton on a hill called Rabbit Hill. Point it and your at the bottom in 30 seconds. Haha… But we sure had a sick park. I am now 27 years old. I know not that old, but this industry makes that feel old sometimes.
Who were our influences growing up snowboarding?
John Jackson was and still is the shit. He rides the mountain like he owns it. Jeremy Jones, but not his street riding more his backcountry stuff. I absolutely loved the Robot Food Videos as well. David Benedeck was the man! Was so disappointed when they stopped making those videos.
What is your current ride setup? Does your setup differ from park to powder riding?
The Rush ABT 158 and Black Out ABT 159 for snowboards. The Rush for pow in the trees, pillows and fluffy jumps. The Black Out for high speed chutes, lines and bigger cheese wedge style jumps. The new Hybrid Strap binding has got me hooked. Love the Toe strap, feels like your more sucked into the binding. It helps a lot for technical tree/ pillow riding. Boots… I rock the Talon Focus, a very waterproof and solid boot. Crucial for overnight missions.
You mentioned you just got a new sled? What did you pick up?
Yes just picked up a 2012 Summit X Skidoo 800 163 track. It has been well overdue, as my old sled has lasted me five years and was holding me back from getting into places I wanted to get into. Can’t wait for the snow now.
Any words of wisdom for anyone looking to get into snowmobiling and trekking into the backcountry?
Take an avy course. I would suggest AST level 2. Weather patterns are getting more drastic making for bad avalanche conditions. I would also suggest going out with someone with experience to show you the ropes. With sledding there are a lot of variables that can go sideways fast. Leaving you stranded sometimes 50+ km out. Not to scare anyone looking to go out, you just have to think about your environment a bit more then if you were riding a resort.
Where is the furthest you have traveled to snowboard?
Thompson Pass, Alaska for the Tailgate Alaska event. Made for a good time surrounded by some pretty awesome terrain.
Where is one place you love traveling to, not pertaining to snowboarding?
Well to be honest my summer is a pretty full on with work, so I can ride in the winter. Traveling around home, camping in the bush and exploring the backcountry would be where I love to travel to.
What are some of your other summer activities?
I also skate and longboard when I can.
What was your favorite memory from last winter?
A cabin mission off the Duffy Lake area north of Pemberton, BC. We call it the Zen Zone. It is this unreal bowl with big lines, cliffs and Mini Golf sections. That’s all I can tell you.
Where are you looking forward to riding this upcoming season?
Well there is still so much to explore just in my back door. As I said from Nelson to Revelstoke holds world class terrain for backcountry. Theres a lot out there and I’ve only scratched the surface. If you’ve heard of the Campo’s brothers and have seen some of there footage. Well that’s the kind of riding Im talking about. Outside of the interior of BC I would like to check out more around Pemeberton and north up the coast to Bella Coola. If you’ve seen Sherpa’s Cinema’s “ Into The Mind” you’ll know the terrain Im talking about.
What are you focusing on, or your goals for this winter season?
To push my limits on big mountain riding. I feel that Big mountain riding is the be all end all of snowboarding. You play your cards wrong out there and you may not come out of it alive. I now sounds crazy but for an adrenaline junkie that’s what you strive for. I want to do it for myself. My own accomplishment. Even if no one is there taking pictures or filming I still want to step it up cause I think it’s the shit!
Do you ride with music or an mp3 player? If yes, what are you normally listening to?
Not usually, it’s not the best habit in the backcountry because you want to always be aware of whats going on around you. I jam to a variety of tunes but on the resort I would jam to electronic instrumental type of music of various types.
You were involved in a film with Nuulife Cinema that was up this week for the Whistler Blackcomb Coldfront weekly battle… Tell us a bit more about working with Nuulife Cinema on this last film? Where can people catch the film?
I was! Well most of the footage in that video came from throughout the season. I’ve been filming with the Nuulife boys for 5 or 6 years now. They’re an awesome crew to work with. They are in it for the love of it. John Swystun and David Craig go balls out all season just working for the shot on a shoe string budget. I;ve been working lately more with David Craig as he is the one with the sled and the sledneck skills. If you can oicture a redneck sledneck that would be David Craig. He’ll be the one breaking the trail then getting stuck and loosing his mind. Always entertaining.
Filming with Nuulife last season was awesome. We did a cabin missions into the Zen Zone that I referred to earlier and got some great shots and had a good ol redneck time. They also came out to my zone out in Nelson and I got to show them some of my favorite spot. Also did some exploring out in Revelstoke. That was a tough time because we had no guide and were using google earth to figure out where to go. Wiley Tesseo and Gord Emery were also on the crew and are amazing backcountry shredders.
WILDLIFE – full movie from NuuLife Cinema on Vimeo.
Here’s a link to Nuulife Cinema’s movie from last season called “Wildlife.” Their video from this year hasn’t come out yet but should be dropping anytime now. I’ll keep you posted!
Are you working again this winter with the Nuulife Cinema crew?
Yes I’ll probably be working with those boys from as long as I board. Those guys are my bros.
How did you start working with Flow Snowboarding?
My man Ricky Hunt also known as Ricky Styles hooked me up with my first Flow set up. At the time I rode for Freeride Boardshop out of Penticton, BC and he was the Flow rep. Rob Burnett owner of the shop said I should try the gear out and the rep was looking for a guy to get on the program. So I tried the gear out and was hooked from the first day.
Within the season of riding the gear I won 3 local contests. And I know the gear was a big part of that. Flow bindings for a rail jam format kill it because you are in and out so fast, you can lap the competition.
Any advice to pass onto any of the kids looking to progress their riding, and perhaps one day get sponsored?
Do it for yourself first. Don’t compromise what you love about the sport because someone else says you should do it. Now that doesn’t mean be a rebel and get your hate on, still take advice… but do what you love to do. Things will come to you when you are in your element.
That’s when you’ll ride the best and progress your skills. Good habits like eating well, exercise, and working hard will always get you ahead of the game. Also something I’ve learned through many injuries, is heal right. Give yourself the time and follow through with proper physio so you don’t develop chronic injuries that will definitely affect your future riding abilities. Longevity is key.
Are you involved in any projects, events or organizations that you would like to call attention to?
So far just Nuulife Cinemas project. Protect Our Winters is a great organization I got to be a part of a few years ago with a shot from Tailgate Alaska in the calendar.
Any final words for the Flow customers or followers?
I think what’s really important right now in the whole world of snowboarding is sticking to the roots. Follow the companies, videos and friends that do it for what’s real not just to impress the rest of the scene. The industry is going through tough times and the ones who are going to shine are the ones who are in it for the right reasons. I know Flow is one of those companies.
Are any of you gals and guys slednecks as well as snowboarders? What powdery goodness have your snowmobiles taken you? Flow Snowboarding would love to see your shots from the backcountry. Connect with us at Flow Snowboarding via Social Media and hashtag #FlowSnowboarding.