Burton pros Danny Davis, John Jackson and Mark Sollors are regular fixtures in the snow mags each month but, for March, they find themselves on a different kind of newsstand: in Playboy. The magazine empire started by Hugh Hefner in 1953 with a $1000 loan from his mom often features notable sports figures in its fashion pictorials but is perhaps most famous for its nude photos of women and the iconic Playboy Bunny.
"We like to change things up and feature a variety of well-known guys in our pictorials -- everyone from actors like Neil Patrick Harris and Gilles Marini to UFC fighters and musicians like Cee Lo Green, Motley Crue and The Kooks..." said Playboy's Abigail O'Donnell. "Since snowboarding season is upon us, we decided it would be timely to use [pro] snowboarders as our models... We wanted to juxtapose the traditional laid-back, loose snowboarder style, by putting Danny, John and Mark into designer suits." [Ed. Yeah, tight ones.]
Davis, Jackson and Sollors are three of the best riders out there -- no question -- but it might surprise many that Playboy went with such a wild, ragged trio at Vail, Colo. over, say, some pretty boys from a martini lounge in Aspen.
"Dreads, beards and mustaches... I don't know why they chose us but I think it's hilarious seeing John J., the Geico Caveman, in Playboy," jokes Sollors, TransWorld's 2011 rookie of the year. "When they brought out those colorful suits I almost lost it. I couldn't believe we were going to be boarding in suits, let alone lime green and bright blue ones. It was hilarious."
"Well, there were no girls..." is how Davis first describes the shoot. "I just had no clue what might go on and was just, like, 'Okay, cool, whatever.' And then a couple days before they were like, 'Just so you know there are no girls on this.' And I was like, 'Well, how is that a Playboy shoot?'"
But, in retrospect, Davis is "kind of glad" since he "doesn't want to ... set too many examples." He's also not sure how his mom will react to the news that her son is in Playboy.
The three snow pros get full props from the fashion pros at Playboy: "They worked really well with our photographer Tony Kelly and did everything that was asked of them, including funny poses, crazy jumps and difficult moves," says O'Donnell. "Playboy's fashion editor Jen Ryan Jones said she was amazed at how these guys could hit their marks over and over again without getting tired -- especially at 8,000 feet! It was hard for the rest of us to breathe at that altitude just standing still. These guys are true pros."
"The photographer was the best part of the shoot. He lost his mind when we stopped doing real tricks and started [screwing] around with jokes like lookin' at our watch. That's when he really got into the shoot," says Sollors.
"It's good. It's funny. I wish we could have done some cool tricks, though -- just like actually shredded," says Davis, who is known for his impeccable skate style in the air (and his Stillwater style on the ground). "It was just kinda like, 'Hey, you should jump off that rail and get on your cell phone!' The photographer was cool, though. He was a fun guy."
John Jackson has been on an absolute tear lately with back-to-back 2010 and 2011 Snowboarder Magazine "rider of the year" awards, and a part in "The Art of Flight" that might give you dreadlocks just from watching it. You can also see Jackson, along with Sollors, in the Winter X Games Tignes all-video contest, Real Snow Backcountry, which is currently underway online right now.Jackson definitely ripped on this Playboy shoot. His $4000 designer suit was in tatters at the end:
"When we told them the suits were too tight to shred in, the stylist said 'straight men are always of afraid of tight things,' laughs Sollors. "Needless to say, John J. shredded his pants like crazy. They were in pieces when he was done."
"The guy who was styling the shoot told us, 'Brad Pitt probably wore this suit last week,'" says Davis, explaining that even the fashion world has tightened up and has to make seriously expensive samples from Ralph Lauren and Armani Exchange last. "And John split the pants from knee to knee, pretty much at the crotch!"
"I was stoked to do it," says Sollors. "Who in their life can say, 'Oh yeah, I was in Playboy when I was younger.'" Plus my brother was in Playboy, so my family is on a roll [laughs]."