It might be hard to come across a better nickname than Froth Goblin for Austen Sweetin, which is convenient, considering its also his favourite nickname for himself as well.
The Washington local has come along way from being that baby faced grom riding for Forum to big mountain thrasher, whose video parts gets us all so amped. Austen seems to have found an awesome niche market for himself in snowboarding. Where it is all about getting stoked on riding some of the most insane locations, with the homies, spreading his own brand of positivity and getting rad.
Now that the US winter has wrapped up for Austen, we seized the opportunity to catch up with the legend to chat Japanese islands, filmers getting bodied, bank slalom victories and polite competitiveness.
Transfer: Hey, what’s going on?
Austen Sweetin: Hey, how’s it going?
Austen: Doing well, just kinda kicking off the opposite end of the year over here; Springtime.
I know, it’s literally like 5 days ago it started snowing here in Australia.
Fuck-Sick! Dude, I’m jealous.
And you know we have been able to get overseas this year, or a lot of people haven’t. So everyone’s beaming to get over and hit the resorts and start riding.
Yeah, I can imagine. I’ve been missing the Australian time.
Where about’s are you at the moment?
I’m in Glacier, Washington. So just at the base of Mount Baker.
Okay cool, and is that where you kind of hang out for the summer?
Umm, not usually, usually I’ll be up in Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. But with the borders being closed and all of that, I’m down here for a couple of extra months, which isn’t a bad place to be.
Cool, is it ahh… where did I get my coffee from? The Wake and Bakery? Is that what it’s called?
Yeah the Wake and Bake, the local coffee shop.
Yeah, awesome, and then is snowboarding now wrapped for you? Is that the end of the season, or have you got any more trips planned?
The seasons pretty wrapped up, but we’re going to do a volcano tour. Go kind of hop around Washington for the next month when we get good weather windows to split board and climb… St. Helens, Glacier Peak, hopefully get up Mount Rainer, maybe do another lap off Shuksan and go up Mount Baker, proper.
Has Baker shut for the season, or can you still ride up there?
Ah no, the resorts closed. But closing day was one for the books, dude it was warm, sunny, slushy, the whole community was up there, and they had this ah… the pro patrollers built this banked slalom for us down Natural Pipe. And with the warm weather, throughout the week by closing day, the berms were head high, so you’re just fully getting slushed tubes the whole way down; it was sick.
Sick, you’re quite the banked slalom expert because I remember 2016, you won the Transfer Banked Slalom in Thredbo. Remember that?
Yeah, with the big doorway, that course was sweet.
Yeah, we’re super pumped because we’re actually bringing that event back because of COVID; we couldn’t run it last year. But we are super stoked to be bringing that event back on August the 13th, which will be rad.
Yeah! How do I get down there?
Mate, you gotta get over. You just got vaccinated, right? So you could jump on a plane soon.
Yeah, I’m hoping so. I just got my second shot just about a week ago.
Okay cool. Yeah, I’ve been speaking to a few guys who I guess are on that pro circuit and training for the Olympics, and they normally come out to New Zealand or to Australia like Perisher or Thredbo to kind of just train in the park or ride. But I don’t think a lot of people are coming out. I think it’s still quite logistically hard, but yeah, I mean, we’re just psyched to go snowboarding in Australia and New Zealand.
Yeah, I can imagine.
We recently just dropped a review on your film, which kind of got lost in the heat of the holidays a little bit. I guess, in Australia and NZ, we were in summer mode, and it’s Boardslide Worldwide. Can you give us a rundown on that? I mean, I’ve watched it about 5/6 times now, and it’s like the perfect video to watch to go a get stoked to go snowboarding. It’s got the extremities, it’s got the good times, and the locations you guys hit are unreal. What’s the kind of idea on Boardslide Worldwide because I see you guys have been dropping series as well throughout the winter, keeping us kind of updated with what you’re doing. Is it a full film edit series? Do you want to give us some background on that?
Yeah, so Boardslide Worldwide started as an idea with Sean Lucy-my filmer and myself, and the idea was we were making these short films for Quiksilver, and we needed a consistent name to work with. So we came up with Boardslide Worldwide, which in the bigger picture, we want to tap into skateboarding, surfing and showcase like friends and different people throughout those communities. And also using it to consistently put out content through the winter, and then we actually have a couple of summer trips planned, and we have a short film that will drop in the fall.
Okay, sick. So the full film was kind of the launch of it in a way?
Yeah, so that’s why we did a kind of self-titled film to kick things off.
And diving into the film, the locations you hit were unbelievable. As a snowboarder, they’re my favourite locations, you know; Japan, Baker and I recently started spending a little bit of time pre-COVID in BC, in the Kootenays, trying to chase some pillows. Do you want to give us a little run down on that island you hit in Japan? Because I had never heard of that before.
Yeah, so we went to Mount Rishiri, which is a volcanic island off the northern tip of Hokkaido, and it’s kind of the end of the road. You take a couple hour ferry ride from the tip of Hokkaido over, and the island in the wintertime is pretty shut down. The majority of the community is quite older, and they’re known for their seaweed farming. So in the wintertime, it’s pretty shut down like most houses are empty, businesses are boarded up, but the onsens rolling, the ramen house is going, and the little grocery store. But we found this guiding service that ran split board guides, and Jesse Grandkoski at Ninja Suit; he kind of pitched the trip to me like ‘I want to do a split boarding trip, have you heard of this place?’ I had heard of it from years prior when Bryan Fox and Griffen Siebert went, but other than that, I hadn’t really seen anything of it. So we kind of just went rouge, booked the trip, and somehow we filled up our skunk tank like to the max right before we went over there and got like the best day of the year on Rishiri.
Yeah, it looked unbelievable.
Dude! And that night, there was 100 kilometre an hour winds, shingles on houses were blowing out, and we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to get off the island.
So we somehow got a weather window.
It was a quick strike mission from Hokkaido and back?
Well, we were there for 10 days, and we went to Niseko for a couple of days. We did Mount Yōtei, somehow got sunshine, not sure how that happened.
Yeah, that looks rad in the film as well.
Thank you, and Rip Zinger deemed us the ‘Sunshine Boys’. So we just carried that energy to Rishiri, and when we got there, it was a bit of iffy weather. We had a couple of sunny days where we made it halfway up the mountain and got to ride a few gullies. But then there was that one window kinda at the end of our trip where it was looking bluebird and calm winds, and we started hiking at I think 4 in the morning, and then it was about 8 or 9 hours round trip to the top and down. It was just like endless gullies, such high slushy walls, powder at the top. We got to ride through that arch, and then we were just party boarding for 6000ft.
Yeah, the arch looked unreal, and I kinda touched on the review we did; like surfing, it’s criminal to share a wave with someone in a way, you know. I surf in Sydney, you’ve probably been to Bondi, you know, it’s pretty full-on out there, you’re not sharing many waves. But snowboarding, the crew that you travel with, you can share those things, like party lines down kinda big gullies all the way down to the ocean, which is unbelievable.
Oh man, sharing a run, whether it’s on a snowboard or a skateboard, I’m all for party wave surfing. That’s what it’s about, it’s about enjoying it with your friends… I mean, sometimes you need your own wave, but we all like to party every once in a while.
I think I could be a little bit selfish at times, but snowboarding is worth sharing. And then going off that, the crew that you get to travel with is pretty rad. It kind of goes hand in hand that you know, they’re on the Quiksilver team, you’ve got Bryan Fox, Griffin, and Miles Fallon was also in the film kind of towards the end. I’ve seen Miles popping up a little bit in your edits throughout the winter. He blew my mind when he came out to Australia for the Holy Bowly, unreal, good kid and just a solid rider.
Oh man, he has got so much energy, and his board control is incredible and dude. Watching him in a new environment like when he came to Mount Baker, just kind of like, showing him some pillow lines and some chutes and seeing him progress and just kind of have this like limitless talent. Dude, that kid can ride anything and the more he rides it, he just gets that much better.
I remember it was all eyes on him when he rocked up, like the first day at Holy Bowly. You know, everyone is kind of standing back and trying to figure out their lines and like I had never ridden something like that before. I was like my head is all over the shop, and he was just straight into it. He kind of kicked it off, kicked the week off. It was cool.
Oh yeah, he’s kind of our Quiksilver snow spirit animal. Full of energy, it’s sick.
And then going back to the film, I want to chat about which is just another location which was the section where it was Willie Nelson, and you’re just like super slow mo’d out. I feel like I’ve just had a Xanax or something when I watched it. Where about is that? Is that in British Columbia?
Yeah, so that was up in the Kootenays at Stellar Heli, and it was actually that section we filmed in the same time period as the ending section. We had two days at Stellar Heli last year of sunny and powder and stable conditions. And over the past couple of years, Lucy and I have been trying to really hone in on this artistic way of shooting powder. Essentially, we’ve drawn inspiration from trying to emulate how underwater surf filming is.
Like through the tube, and you get the fins?
Yeah, like through the tube, and you see the fin, and those shots are just so cool and inspiring. And so we’re like how can we, obviously you can’t really film under snow, but you could try, but how could you get that same effect to the viewer. To help engage them into this feeling that we’re trying to express.
I had a question here – who is the creative genius behind Boardslide Worldwide? Because as a viewer, the filming and the way it was edited and that scene in particular, where it was so fast-paced prior to, or it was good vibes. Then you really went into the… when you slow everything down its mesmerising, it’s really mesmerising. It brings a feeling like watching like a Jack McCoy classic surf film, those long like kind of underwater shots. Really putting you in the moment, putting you in the boots and the bindings. I heard you said Lucy, is that who it is that’s doing it?
It’s a community effort between Lucy and I. We’ve been working on that style of shot for about 3 or 4 years now, and last year it really kind of clicked where it started working. He and I work together constantly, brainstorming new ways of filming, experimenting with filming and then bringing that to the editing bay and trying out different things. But yeah, essentially it’s just Lucy and I spitballing ideas back and forth.
Incredible how close he was getting on some of those shots.
Yeah, I mean, well two years ago we were trying them, it wasn’t really working, and we were at the top of the Hemispheres at Mount Baker, and he’s just like “dude, just run into me.” He’s like, “let’s keep trying it, you do your turn like we’ll find our spot,” and he’s like “if you think you’re going to hit me, don’t stop, just like run into me, it’ll work.” And actually, I never ran into him… that day. But we started figuring it out and then…
Yeah, then we got really comfortable. And man, over the last couple of years, we have had a couple of slams where my board has gone… because Lucy’s going perpendicular, like across the hill. I’m going down, and my board has gone between his bindings. I’ve just like taken him out like Sony camera flying, dude like, the microphone’s completely off the camera, lens is packed with snow, both of our goggles, everything’s everywhere. And then we’re just like, oh we’ve got to try it again! That’s going to be the one!
Yeah cool, risk it for the biscuit.
Dude, you got it.
And then, kind of going away from the film for a bit, Natural Selection, you had to put the comp jersey on. Before we even get into Natural Selection, have you competed much before?
I competed in the USASA as a grom, and I won the Slopestyle when I was like 16, and then I got on Forum, and they were like, no more contests, we make videos. And that to me was the greatest thing that ever happened, I was like sick! Because I’m a very competitive person, but I love the mountains, and I grew up riding the mountains and a little bit of park, but Washington didn’t really have that great of parks. So yeah, I dabbled in it as a kid, but then I faded out of it pretty quick, so I haven’t. Except the banked slaloms.
Which you’ve been winning.
One, I’ve actually only won one.
Only the Transfer one?
Dude, I’ve got like a second place at a Derksen Derby, a second and a third at a Rat Race, and um… I got an eighth or a ninth at the Mount Baker Legendary Banked Slalom.
We’re going to have to get you back out to defend your title.
Oh man, Id love to.
I think that was the third one. We’re running our seventh one this year. It’s such a rad vibe, like just getting all the community together. You have people who take it super seriously and like they want to smash their friends to bits or smash everyone to bits. And then you kind of have the people who are up there for the fun and enjoying it. It’s pretty cool.
Yeah, the beauty about banked slaloms is on the outside, everyone is stoked and happy, but you know that everyone wants to win so bad on the inside.
It all changes at the starting gate.
I know that you’re acting very calm and like, oh yeah it’s so fun to be here, and it’s so sweet, but then you’re like, I know you want to win. Everyone wants to win.
Yeah, so how was it putting the comp jersey back on for Natural Selection at Jackson Hole?
It was cool, it was something different than what I’m used to, and it was really cool to tap into the competitive world of snowboarding. And honestly, I wouldn’t have probably done it in another shape or form, but since it was powder and freestyle, it’s like, that’s the greatest thing ever, so I couldn’t say no. But yeah, like there’s a lot of nerves. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel and the way that I went into it, I was like every time I pull out of that gate, I just need to drop in like this is going to be the best run of my life, and that was like the mentality I went in with. And every time I pulled out of the gate, I just tried to like pull out fast and be stoked. Because essentially you’re dropping into the sickest run, it’s like powder, perfect jumps, landings everywhere—it like what I dream of snowboarding on, so it was really cool to experience.
Is it something that you’ll, like if it runs again next year, is it a tour that you’ll kind of add that into your schedule for the season? To try and compete and win it and take it out?
Yeah 100%, if I get the opportunity. I’m not sure how everything works, but if I get the invite to come back, I’m 100% going to take that invite and give it all I got. Yeah, making it to Alaska, the dream to be standing up there in the finals, and giving it my all.
It looked unbelievable, like I mean the Jackson one as well. I remember it was Gigi Rüf who dropped in first, and when he did that seven on the bottom feature, I was like, oh it’s fucking on! I was a little bit sceptical, and as soon as that happened, that moment I was like, whoa, this is going to be unbelievable.
Yeah, I mean, that was also like the most nerve-racking part of the whole event was the seeding round. It was just at random name drawing, and you pick your spot in the lineup. Gigi got up and was like, someone got to do it. He picked first drop, and I had already picked first round second drop. Because I wanted to go early when the course was pristine, but I didn’t want to go first; I want to go second. And when I was like halfway down the course, I saw his track, and I was like, shoot, I think we are kind of taking the same line. Then I felt kind of bad because I had been planning this line a couple of days, and then this is where his tracks are going, but I wasn’t going to change my line, so yeah… I’m still tripping I beat Gigi. He’s one of my favourite snowboarders of all time.
Yeah, I know. I mean, it was a showdown. It was so rad to see everyone in that kind of different element. You know, like having the Kiwi like Zoi, Robyn, females pushing it to a whole new level. I mean, watching it from my living room, it’s just like, I felt like I was there, it was really cool.
I mean, when I watched the finals on my computer, I was screaming at the screen. I was just so stoked watching Mikkel, Robyn, Zoi, Mark McMorris, and Rasman and all these guys and girls just ripping. As a viewer and a huge fan of snowboarding as well, I think it’s a really good thing for our sport to have a different style of competitive snowboarding.
For sure, it’s going in the right direction. I just cant wait to see whats is going to go down next year, and for years to come, I just feel like it’s going to be an evolving beast.
Totally, the future is bright.
The future is bright. How many times have you been to Australia? I was doing a little bit of research, and I was trying to figure it out. Because you were out in 2016 when we did the banked slalom, and you were out 2019 for the Holy Bowly. Have there been any other trips, or was it just those two?
It must’ve been just those two trips, and then I’ve been to New Zealand twice as well. But yeah, I need more Australian time in my life.
Yeah, what’s your vibe on the Australian snow scene and the resorts over here? Did it blow your expectations, did it under-deliver, sometimes it under-delivers.
Dude, it blew my expectations. That first year we were down there, I was with Bryan Fox… This might’ve been… I might’ve been three times now. Because I was with Bryan, we went to Thredbo, and everyone down there said we got the best powder day of the year.
We’ve actually run, now that I remember, we’ve run a double-page spread of you in Stanleys, which is off the side country riders left.
Riders left? Yeah, that gully is sick!
Unbelievable hey, yeah, when that’s on, that’s unbeatable.
So I’m going to say it over-delivered because it blew my expectations.
Yeah, I completely forgot about that. We got sick photos from that day you guys did, you shot with a guy called Andrew Fawcett. And we got rad shots of Bryan and yourself kind of bombing lines together, and then one of you hitting the wave on riders left of the chair, unbelievable.
Yeah, good times.
Good times, and did you get some surfing in as well when you were here?
Yeah, I’ve surfed a bunch up on the Gold Coast and then around Sydney and then last year after Holy Bowly. Lucy, my friend Max and I road tripped down to Torquayand hung out there for a week and surfed like the classics like Bells, Winky Pop and all those other little spots. We had just finished surfing, and we’d like skated, surfing, and Sweeney busts into our Air B&B, it’s like an hour before dark, and he’s like “boys were going surfing,” and we’re like dude okay were down. And we go to Bells Beach, and it looks crazy, not surfable. Big white water closeouts everywhere, and he’s like all right suit up, and he looks at my board, and I have this 5’6″ shortboard, and he’s like oh no you need this board, hands me like a 6’2″, we walk to the rocks, jump off and start paddling. And it’s getting dark, and it’s like macking, all closeouts and almost got sucked down to the button. Lucy and Max had to get out like in winky pop, and I caught like a closeout in, then he (Sweeney) comes, and he’s like its 5 to 6 bells as bad as it gets.
Yeah, Sweeney is a bit of a bad man.
Oh, dude, he is the best. I want to be like him when I’m his age. Just living like snowboarding and surfing insane waves.
There’s such a hell man crew, you know, down there at Bells. They rip on a snowboard and equally rip on a surfboard.
Yeah, whats ah, what’s the little mountain close to there?
There’s Bullar, which is close to Melbourne, then you got Falls Creek and Mount Hotham as well in Victoria.
I think I’m thinking of Falls Creek; that spot sounds sick.
Falls Creek is rad; yeah, I mean, we’ll need to get the Quiky team out here again and do a full resort mission.
Let’s do it, let’s do a full, all the way around to western Oz.
Well, I guess it’s time to come to Australia again, and for everyone that’s reading, you can hit the link in the bio on our website. You can watch Austen’s film Boardslide Worldwide. It’s kind of time to start fuelling the stoke and getting ready to shread. So we’ll be doing some turns for you now.
Yeah, love it. I hope you guys have a sweet winter, plenty of powder and good times.
Awesome, thanks for your time Austin.
Dude, thank you.