Canadian pro TJ Schneider has been getting paid to ride a snowboard for ten years. In a profession riddled with injuries and burnout that is quite the feat. You can't be a one-trick pony and expect people to stay interested in what you're doing, so TJ has always strived for creative ways to keep his snowboarding, and unique outlook on life, evolving. We called TJ to talk about his video project Snowboard Realms, having his art on Capita Snowboards, and why Canadians love denim.
Do Canadians actually wear denim tuxedos?
[Laughs] Um, they wear all denim sometimes, I guess. Is that a Canadian thing? I think it's more of a Texas thing.
Well it's confusing that they call "all denim" a Canadian Tuxedo when tuxedos are usually reserved for weddings and operas. I keep picturing Canadians at really formal events wearing denim outfits.
I think it's a cowboy thing more then anything. Maybe Canadians are portrayed as cowboys.
I'm glad we are breaking down some stereotypes. How's your season going so far?
So far so good. I've done three days in the mountains and four days in the streets, and have no broken bones. That I know of.
It seems like you're more focused more on your Snowboard Realms project than filming a regular video part.
Well, the experience I've had ... filming a video part wasn't ever that great, and I felt like it separated me from the type of snowboarding I wanted to do. I know a lot of film crews film with their homeboys, or whatever, but it separated me from the people I really wanted to snowboard with. After filming the last Capita movie and getting to ride with guys I really wanted to ride with, like Scott Stevens, I just didn't feel like going back to filming a regular video part. So I decided to do my own thing.
Are the companies you ride for pumped on it, or do they want you filming a full part for a big production?
I don't really know. I would assume they would be more stoked on it. The snowboard industry is kind of behind on how they value riders and media. They still favor magazine editorial and major video parts. Those specific types of media are falling behind in regards to the internet. For instance, a web interview wouldn't seem to have as much value as a magazine interview, even though ten times more people will see the web interview.
You've been in the game for a long time. How do you feel about where snowboarding is right now?
I think snowboarding is in a weird place right now. It just seems like there are so many good kids, and so many kids deserve so much more then they are getting. The thing is, though, so many kids are exactly the same. There's a lack of true individuals.
I'm just sort of upset that there aren't more people doing their own thing. Most people are just following the traditional mold. I would like to see more people experimenting and exploring.
Your artwork is featured on this year's Capita Mid Life. What's that process like?
I've been doing board graphics for Capita for eight or nine years. It gets a little tougher each year because you don't want to repeat yourself. You want to make it better, and every year it has to be meaningful and pretty. This year wasn't too bad. I just sat down with a little pen and some paper and painted a little picture.
Do you ever incorporate Canadian themes like hockey or moose?
[Laughs] Definitely not.