Welcome to HeadSpace, a new bi-monthly column where we dig deep inside the heads of shredding's luminaries to find out what really goes on behind those goggles. No "What's your favorite color?" here, folks...
Up first on the HeadSpace couch is Dustin Craven, longtime Capita rider from Canada and one of the least airbrushed pros out there. "Raw dog" barely even scratches the surface of description of this 22-year-old prairie pirate who calls 'em as he sees 'em and likes to have a good time, all the time.
Craven followed up his stint as an Olympic halfpipe forerunner with extensive travels in the "Danny & The Dingo" entourage, and continues to acquire spot-on nicknames like "Dish Pit," from his former job at Chili's, and "Blackie Lawless," thanks to his once-famous black front tooth. He recently made the move from his home province of Alberta to Squamish, B.C. (halfway between Vancouver and Whistler), and is also moving away from the circuit where he has been doing 15-plus contests a year since age 16 to devote his considerable talents to filming in the vast backcountry that is now his backyard.
Naturally, this interview was slated to be twice as long but we had to censor half this hand-planting hellion's answers in order to keep our own jobs...
ESPN: So you missed the Canadian Olympic team by one spot. Was that a heartbreaker, or did you even care?
Dustin Craven: It kinda sucked at first. I was all, "Oh, sh---y, I'm not going. I really wasted a whole year trying for nothing." But then when I got to the Olympics [Ed. as a forerunner for Canada], I realized I was one of the only people that was able to ride the pipe every day with everyone else but had the awesome opportunity to go out and party with all my buddies every night. I had all the access to get into whatever I wanted, but I really had no responsibility. And, to me, that made the season of trying worth it.
Describe some of the mayhem you and your 10 friends got up to during the Olympics and how that might contrast with what the official team was up to during the same period.
A lot of the ... things we did I can't really tell you about because they are "inappropriate." However, we did get to go up to the Monster parties at Grouse Mountain. It was also awesome 'cause me and Danny Kass were sharing a room and I told him, "I think that I might have a few friends stay over." Little did he know that "a few friends" was eight to 15 every night, getting home at 6 a.m., sitting around making noise waiting for the pool to open.
Would you say that some people in snowboarding care too much about things, and you, on the other hand, really don't?
I wouldn't say that I don't care 'cause I do care about snowboarding -- a lot. I think it's more of, I care about how s---y some people are making snowboarding, and how certain groups in the snowboard world just don't seem to be in the game for any of the right reasons. I mean, I've ridden pipe, jibbed and shredded pow, but I think there are some people that have maybe only done one of those things, and I don't think that is really snowboarding.
What are some aspects of snowboarding -- and life -- that are always worth the trouble for you?
I'm a lazy guy so pretty much doing anything is worth the trouble. I don't think I would get anything done if it all wasn't worth the trouble.
Are there any people you know or figures you've heard of whose attitudes toward life you truly admire?
My mom, Sherry -- a.k.a. "Shear Bear." She was just always sweet when I was growing up. I wasn't allowed to snowboard unless I got 70s [percent average] -- which I sure as hell did not -- so I would come home and she would help me change my report card so that I could show my stepdad and keep on snowboarding all the time.
How is traveling the world with Danny & The Dingo different from, say, traveling with Shaun White?
I don't know what would be the difference because I have never travelled with Shaun White. I'd like to say it wouldn't be as fun, but at the same time I have heard some stories of Shaun partying and it is something I could really see myself doing with him.
This year you are moving to Squamish, ditching contests, and only filming in the backcountry. What will you miss?
Ahhh... I will miss the people I've met doing contests and probably won't see them anymore. But, at the same time, I just really want to shred pow and not really snowboard to win something. I want to snowboard just because it's fun and I get to do it all the time. I think moving to Squamish and putting an end to contests is going to make me more happy than any amount of prize money ever could.
Do you have a motto you like to live your life by?
"Go f--- yourself."