An interview with East Coast style master, Zeb Powell.
When Zeb Powell isn't doing homework, competing on the USSA Toyota Revolution Tour, or skating, he's dropping some of the heaviest, most innovative and most creative park edits I've ever seen. Better yet, his schooling allows him to board every day and his high-school friends are just as good as he is. Wow, the future is bright.
Interview by Alastair Spriggs. Header image by Brian Cook (@briancook32)
Tell us about how Mr Zebulon Powell started boarding.
The first time I went up I actually hated it. This mean instructor had me riding regular, I’m goofy. After that my dad sent me up with his friend’s son - he figured I’d survive if I was with someone I knew. This was when I was seven. We were going up the chair on my first night and I saw this little box in the terrain park. I had to it. I hit it on my first run, landed, and it was all in from there.
I started riding a lot after that. All the older guys pressed me to head up to Appalachian Ski Area where they held small competitions. I started placing in slopestyle, rails jams, big airs event. Then when I was nine I saw a flyer for a summer camp: Woodward at Cooper, I was hyped. Chad Otterstrom was my coach and he was so stoked for me. He was teaching at Stratton Mountain School (a Vermont-based private school that trains boarders) and he wanted me to join. My mom wasn’t down at first but after the third time asking she finally folded, this was when I was 13. Since then I’ve been boarding a ton and competing in USSA slopestyle competitions. I've got one more year of school.
Your trick selection is heavy and your style is heavier. What’s inspiring your riding? And, do you do a lot of yoga?
[Laughs] No, definitely no yoga. I think I’ve always been more of a creative rider because the mountain I grew up riding never had a ton of rails. But, we had so many natural hits. My favourite trail was shaped like a W. Every turn had huge walls and quarter pipes. We had so much fun on them. That shaped my tranny game. As for grabbing, I just love getting twisted up.
What's an average day at Stratton looking like?
Up in the morning and on the mountain at 8:15, ride till 11:30. I'll be back and at school from 12:30 to 5:10.
So your schooling consists of riding with the homies daily?
I'm riding with homies usually. My crew from school is who I'm always riding with. We’re currently filming with Dylan Demers who used to film for the Carinthia guys. Now he films with our school. We ran into Torstein Horgmo and he was hyped on our riding so he kind of hooked up with Dylan we started filming E.A.S.T edits this season.
Man, I don't think anyone binge-watching the E.A.S.T edit realized how young you were. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I definitely want to be filming. I like filming a lot. But I also love the comp side of snowboarding… who knows. I just love being creative, I picture myself as a Nik Baden kind of rider. No way do I picture myself throwing triples, I just want keep being creative and smooth.
Definitely the cork three. The cork three pull-back. It's so fun.
If you could ride with anyone at this very moment in time, who would it be?
Halldor Helgason for sure, I've always looked up to him. He's insane. I love the way he rides, doing crazy things. He's always inspired me to try out new things. I'm always hyped on his style and the gnarliest trick choice.
I want to thank Dylan Demers for filming and making sick edits. He's done so much for me. I also want to the Recess skate/snow, they've been behind me for a long time now. All the sponsors - Nitro, 32, and Crab Grab, they've done a lot for me. And of course mom and dad. Always behind me, my number one sponsor.