Minnesota Rising

The myth about Minnesota is that it's a wild world filled with ice fishing, hockey, and devotees of Prince. While all those things do exist in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota is a place for something else that's worth noting: snowboarding.

Stan Evans

Dan Brisse, holding it down for the mid-guard.

Even though it's a relatively isolated state where kids grow up snowboarding down ice runs on top of literal garbage dumps, Minnesota produces a significant number of professional snowboarders. In the '90s snowboarders like Chad Otterstrom, Bjorn and Erik Leines and Micah McGinnity started showing up in every magazine and movie production, paving the way for a future generation of flatland shredders.

These days Minnesota is not only the place for films crew from Peepshow to Videograss to get rail shots, but it's producing the best young rail talent in the world. But unlike the previous generation, who had to move to Utah to get discovered, many of them are succeeding without leaving home. Jake Olson-Elm, Zac Marben, Joe Sexton, Jonas Michilot, and Dan Brisse are carrying the torch for Minnesota and the flame isn't going out anytime soon.

We talked to a few of Minnesota's proudest sons about making the move from the Heartland to the Big Time.

Dan Brisse
Growing up in Minnesota, thinking about making a professional career out of snowboarding seems far out when you are stuck in high school watching your life pass before your eyes. Then the day comes when you are finally free and ready to split, and you split hard. One goal. One destination in mind. Full-on dead ahead.

After four or five years grinding through the ranks in Salt Lake I finally won a contest and started riding for Capita snowboards. This was the start, but it took another three years before my name was even known a little in snowboarding. But finally it seems to be sticking.

To make it you gotta stay healthy and go for it. It's not for everyone. If you finally get the chance to shoot in the big leagues with a production company, hopefully things go well in that zone, or you could end up back at square one.

Ryan Taylor

And the new guard.

Jonas Michilot
The thought, or idea about being able to snowboard for free and possibly getting paid to do your favorite thing was somewhere in our brains while growing up. But you're not going to have any fun if all you want is to be "pro." I get so excited to see kids who are getting noticed, or getting some support from snowboard companies, but at the same time, not letting their egos grow out of proportion.

I grew up snowboarding at the smallest little hill in Minnesota, always dreaming about being able to ride a real mountain, with real snow. Luckily I've been able to travel, and be in the mountains quite a bit. But when it comes down to it, I still have my favorite days of snowboarding at Hyland hills with the gang of Minnesota kids.

Bob Plumb

Jake Olson-Elm: new guard.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is just appreciate what you've got in front of you, and have fun with your friends. After all, you shouldn't take snowboarding too seriously, because it's a hobby, not a sport.

Jake Olson-Elm
Growing up riding in Minnesota was better than I realized. As a kid I always wanted to go out west and leave Minnesota. I would daydream of riding in the California sun. Now that I'm older I realize that, yes, riding out west is super fun, but riding at your home resort is better. I would take a day with the homies at Hyland over a day by myself out west.

I don't think that I really did anything to make it to where I'm at now. I've never won a contest or anything. Basically all I did was snowboard every day I could. That turned into wanting to ride new stuff, which turned into riding street. We started filming for the Bald E Gal movie, and I really enjoyed doing that so I've done it ever since. As a kid I always wanted to be a pro shred though. I would watch snowboard videos everyday and go to the hill and try to imitate.

Chad Otterstrom
There's no such thing as living in Minnesota and dreaming about moving out west for bigger mountains, pro snowboarding, and deeper snow anymore. Minnesota has become one of the most well known jib spots in the world.

Dave Lehl

Chad O: Old guard, paving the way.

I grew up in Minnesota and moved away to Colorado 15 years ago. I used to look at magazines and watch videos every day, anything other than that was just dreamland. Terje was killing everything. I never made it to that level, but I ended up doing contests with Terje, and snowboarded with pretty much every snowboarder I ever looked up to and won a whole bunch of other crap. Snowboarders from Minnesota are a different breed. They move away with a different motivation than most people. I feel very proud to say that I'm from Minnesota. It's an awesome place.

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