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Two years ago, Skogen Sprang was a consistent top-three finisher in snowboard competitions; now he’s everywhere — on skis. One of the sport’s most innovative jibbers, he took second in Big Air at the X Games last season. He also has a pro-model ski from Line. And now, without further ado, SKIING’s interview with Skogen Sprang, one of the top 25 skiers in North America.
Name: Skogen Sprang
Date of Birth: January 14, 1978
Age when you started skiing: Three and a half.
Hometown/where you learned to ski: Marin County (Mill Valley)/Donner Ski Ranch and Homewood, CA
When did it hit you that you could be a pro/competitive skier? “I was already living in Tahoe. I was working at being a pro snowboarder and that was going good. I’d never really given up skiing, but I never thought about going pro as a skier until about two or three years ago, and then it hit me.”
Current ski mountain: “Alpine Valley in Lake Tahoe, but I think I’m getting a pass at Mammoth. We go in the backcountry a lot. We go to different resorts all the time.”
Signature trick or event: “The Skodeo — it’s like a flat spin 540 or 720 way off axis”; also the switch rodeo.
Have any pets? “There’s a dog at my house, but it’s not mine. I like it — he’s a funny dog.”
What’s your favorite food? “Probably Chinese food: General Tso’s chicken, sesame chicken, Mongolian beef, and walnut prawns.”
What’s your beverage of choice? “I really like coffee.”
What’s your favorite band? “I listen to a lot of, like, Wu Tang Clan — a lot of hip stuff. The new Wu Tang is pretty cool. I listen to everything.”
Are you religious? “No, not really.”
What kind of car do you drive? “A Toyota truck — just a regular 4×4, but I’ll probably get a new one this year. I’ve gotta run that Toyota into the ground first.”
Last book you read: “Uhhh, none. I read magazines a lot, like Transworld Skateboarding, Snowboarding, and Freeze, but I don’t really read books. I was looking for the new Tony Hawk autobiography the other day — I want to read that. I don’t know, reading’s too slow for me.”
Do you have a ski hero? Who? Why? “I don’t really have any ski heroes. Back in the day, I used to like watching Terry Cook, and Schmidt and Plake were sick. Then, in my teenage years, I got into snowboarders and skaters. Steve Caballero was my favorite skater when I was a kid.”
Movies you’ve been in: “I’m pretty much in all of them this year. I mainly worked with MSP’s Ski Movie,Poor Boyz’ The Game,Heavy Hitting Films’ Parental Advisory,Ostness’s movie Tee Time,TGR’s Los Alamos;basically all of them. I got a lot more segments this year, but I was in most of them last year, too.”
Pastimes off the hill: “Skateboarding, BMX; I’ve been motocrossing all summer. I can go like 40 feet — there are some nice tables out here. Mountain biking, soccer and sometimes I’ll play hoops, too.”
What are your thoughts on the state of the ski industry? “It’s definitely different than I thought it was. Worse. I didn’t realize how dominated it was by the corporate guys who are so set in their ways. But things are changing, it’s getting better with more young people get into positions of power. All the snowboard companies have young people working for them. Hopefully the ski companies will go that way, too.”
How do you feel about the FIS/IFSA? “I’m definitely against FIS. I wouldn’t do any of their events. But people are too obsessed with competitions right now. There are way too many of them. People need to remember that the goal is to live the good lifestyle and go out skiing with your friends.”
What did you think of the recent FIS big air competition? “It’s totally lame. They were talking smack about the sport all along, and then they jumped on the bandwagon.”
Do you think fatt skis are a game-improvement tool or a crutch? “They’re the future. It’s the only way to ride powder — you can stomp your landings. When snowboarders take air they just ride away smoothly. Pretty soon skiers will be doing the same thing instead of just sticking in the snow up to their thighs.”
Skiboarders? Shoot ’em or hug ’em? “I dunno. Just go the other way.”
Any interest in big-mountain? “Oh yeah, I love big-mountain. Not necessarily competitions, but for filming this year I’m going to do as much as I can. We’re going to do a bunch of that this year. I definitely like powder and cliffs. I just don’t like hucking cliffs to flat. I’d rather hit a medium cliff to tranny than an 80 footer to flat.”
What’s the biggest scare you’ve ever had on skis? “I broke my ankle jumping off a deck, once. I broke my wrist when I was 10. I was cruising down a groomer, and this guy, like, aired and landed right next to me and broke my wrist. When I was 10 or 12, I was running through a sprinkler and ran right into my cousin’s forehead and broke my nose. I was out cold for like four hours. I separated my shoulder in the halfpipe this summer, too. It hurt like hell. I was out for about three days, but it’s almost 100 percent now.”
Plans for the future: “To make more money and do it in more events. To keep looking for more avenues to do stuff in skiing. Have fun.”
Any words of wisdom for our readers? “Try out twin-tip skis. They don’t ski weird. Give ’em a try. They’re a lot of fun. And they’re actually more user-friendly than a race ski. And check out the youth movement in skiing. See what’s out there.”