Day with Holden

Music: “New king of the mountain” The Romany Rye

I’m so stoked that I have been able to create a project like The Snowboard Realms.
That’s reached so many people and spread such a positive vibe about snowboarding.

Editing this movie, I found myself with a huge smile on my face. And I hope that you guys feel the same. That it reminds you that there’s more to snowboarding than the hype, that it’s about the story and the good times spent with friends.
Days like this, for me, are what snowboarding is about.

I mentioned that I would like to talk to you about how to get a job in the industry.
I don’t know a ton, but I’ll do my best to help you where I can..
This is just my opinion, and there are many..

“How do I become a pro?”
This is probably the most common question I receive.
There are a million answers, but this is a pretty common recipe for success.

In my opinion these are the best things you can do

Take every opportunity.

I had a friend with a camera and learned how to edit videos with 2 vcrs a stereo and the video camera… GHETTO AS SHIT !
But I took the opportunity and made what I could, sending videos to companies that I liked and wanted to be apart of.
The first video I sent out was to division 23 and 32 boots,
My favorite snowboarder rode for them and I wanted to be on the team… I wrote a letter, sent my videos and a week later they called.

I’ve been very lucky to have a very supportive Mother …
in June 1996 I went to Camp of Champions for 1 week.
At camp I rode hard …
which caught the attention of a few guys that years later would play a pretty large roll in me becoming a pro …
I connected with people who rode for 32 and D23 .. and I put myself in front of anyone with a camera.. 1 being Dano Pendygrasse (I tagged along with Trevor Andrew and him when they went to go shoot a jump)
At the end of camp BBQ, Trevor gave me some clothing, I got a lot of high 5s and made a ton of new friends … 1 being Jared Slater (read becoming a filmer)

Do your local contests and put yourself out there where people can take notice of you.

That next season I started doing all the local ASA series of contests in Alberta.
It was rare that I ever won, but through the contests I was put in a position where I could, almost weekly, judge my riding against others.
2nd here, 3rd there, and more often 3rd to last hah..
I was that kid that rode well in practice and warm up. But always tried to push it a little too hard and in finals I’d go down.. but I always made an impression.
Doing contests also gave me the opportunity to get in front of local reps.
Things didn’t happen as fast as sending the video, but I started to make a name for myself in the Alberta scene.
At the first contest of the season, one of the local reps had a contest; One kid from the day would win a sponsorship. Back then it was that simple.
I remember Scott Shaw won and I think I may have been a little bummed,
A month or so later we started hanging out and he ended up becoming one of my best friends.
I always wore Dragon , and one day Scott asked me about it.
When he found out that I didn’t ride for them, he showed up at a rail with a new pair of goggles and said, “I told Jamie that you don’t ride for them, These are for you if you want to ride for Oakley”

Film and Share it. follow and lead.

Magazines were taking notice and starting to run articles about “crews” in Canada

So starting that year we formed a “crew”
The 418 crew from Quebec with DCP , David Meloncon and Dan Mingno…
O.C.G. (Ontairo Ghetto Children) with Jon Roth, Mikey Scott, and Brad Parker…

Born when I ate shit under a motorhome listening to the Misfits and said to my friend Brett, “we should start crew, the 138 crew

All of our core group of friends then became known as The 138.. We showed up at contests together, and we rode harder than anyone!
Scott was one of Canadas best pipe riders and would literally win everything.. He met kids like Danny Kass at the World jr’s , so in those early days, Danny was rolling the hand made dye cut Misfits 138 crew sticker..
We filmed a crew movie “we are 138” Jed Anderson , Scott Shaw , Dwayne Wiebe, Cam and Nate Dales, Greg Keech, James Beach, Mike Carter and myself..
We threw HUGE parties with the local snowboard club to premiere them..

I think our first party for we are 138 was UofC’s first ever porn star party… oh man good days ! haha …

My point here is, film… make things, get it out there… too many kids worry about this “leak” term … You’re not Travis Rice at this point … and shit look how many “Leaks” of the Super Natural there were and still millions of people watched it..

Your goal at this point is to get as many people as possible to see your riding.

Anyway… it’s true what they say, Power in Numbers !
Together we all started working towards 138 Crew TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION! ha
I think in 1998 or 99, the Canadian Nationals were held at Nakiska.. and we had the opportunity to shoot some photos with SBC contributing photographer Jeff Patterson..
None of us knew Jeff, but we all put ourselves in front of him..
Dwayne did HUGE methods , Scotty did some Chuck flips and I was doing newly learned Haakon Flips.. I know this sounds mellow, but back then this shit was a big deal. Especially from 16-18 year olds.. I ended up hurt, fucking my ankle up in the soft pipe , Scott, won that shit like he always did while Dwayne , Beach and the rest of the crew stamped in our presence. Everyone there now knew the 138 collectively.

Being a National contest, it drew some attention to the scene that was brewing in Alberta and Snowboard Canada took notice… Shortly after Jeff and photographer Craig Deus headed up an article about Calgary and surrounding area for the mag. Then another article which included James Beach and myself as 10 riders that you needed to know in all of Canada.

I feel I should also mention that guys like Jamie Cormack (hershel backpacks) helped play a role in spreading that Alberta scene with his publication  “Sequence” Jamie really pushed for us to have content in his magazine that he would ship Canada wide.

At that time I was riding for Mervin MFG though a rep I met at a shop in Red Deer called Allrose.
That year I was at my first “pro” contest at Lake Louise and Andrew Hicks asked me if I wanted to ride for a glove company he was the rep for called GMC. You’ll recall, I met Andrew that first year at COC. Around that same time Andrew picked up Sessions and asked me to ride for them…
Sessions was one of those companies that I always wanted to ride for! Jamie Lynn , Mike Ranquet… these dudes are amazing ! I could just never get the guts to send them my stuff. Having Andrew in my corner though really made shit happen.
I remember getting a package from him and it was like.. bam, bam, bam, shit was happening … Andrew shared my footage with Sessions and all of a sudden I was getting paid… $250.. 19 years old and stoked! That made eating a whole lot easier!
My images in the early SBC issues led to a feature article trip to Mammoth.
In Mammoth I met up with the guys from Hammer, a board brand that Andrew was also working with, which led to my first shots in Transworld.

Things with Hammer didn’t end up working out.. In one week I think I broke 10 boards or something like that. Hammer was doing a skate style construction and thought there was no way that I was breaking them! The figured that I was just selling them on the side, So on a trip to Vancouver for a comp at Seymour and Whistler for the Westbeach classic I started riding different boards. Andrew let me stay at his place, he lived with Transworld Photographer Dano Pendygrasse, which led to being able to go out and shoot with him, which landed me a trick tip for alley oop back 3 nose grabs in another mag.

When I got back home to Calgary after that trip, Jason Flynn, the rep that was getting me Tech nine product and also Andrew, both started working for a new brand that I was really stoked on… CAPiTA

Use the Internet.
Back in these times the internet was pretty new…
But we used it. We all had profiles to share everything about our snowboarding, we lived and breathed snowboarding so we did everything that had anything to do with it.
One day Carter and I found ourselves on and ended up having a chat with him.. Jason told us about CAPiTA which at that time was a sleeveless tee shirt company..

Just before the summer of 2001 Both Flynn and Andrew asked if I would be into riding for CAPITA… “SHIT YEA” I said
So off to another summer at COC I went.
Andrew was in really good standing with Ken Auch the owner of COC and managed to get me a place and tickets to ride up at camp.
That summer at COC, again I rode everyday and took every opportunity to shred… because you never know when someone of some importance may be watching...
One day CAPiTA came up to the hill, which happened to be a nice day when I was riding and had the attention of pretty much the entire camp.

Be Different!

Back in these times, everything was pretty stock. There was one style of clothing and everyone just sorta did the same thing…
These days it’s a little different, there are a lot more styles and a lot more tricks but the idea is the same. You want to stand out, Jed stood out ,Solberg stood out , Walker .. Scott Stevens, these dudes all stood out… You need to find a way to make yourself stand out.

At this time I had a different style than most. White button up shirt , spray painted tight black Sessions pants , Bondage Belt.. and I was doing some things that a lot of people had never seen before.

When Blue and Jason from CAPiTA rolled up to see me on a CAPiTA with everyone watching … it was a good first impression.

Make a good first impression

That’s obvious! Working this new job it kinda blows my mind… It’s crazy how little a lot of riders think about the impression that they are making.
Think about what you are doing and how it may come across.

side story to this … A handfull of years ago a TM for a company was told to watch for a rider… that rider partied a little too hard the night before… even though the previous day and the day after he was destroying the park .. the day that the TM was watching him he was too hung over to really ride.. He had an opportunity to make a huge first impression but instead made one that took him out of the running to be moved onto an international program.

So back to summer….

At the end of that day, walking through the parking lot, Blue told me that I was beyond the normal rep level, that I was, officially on the Pro team for CAPiTA, and Later that day I was sitting next to Jason at the end of the table signing autographs for kids at camp.

Ok now obviously there are a lot of holes and a lot that could be filled in, but you get the just of it ..

The Bottom line is that you have to put yourself in the right place to make shit happen , keep your ear to the ground and your eyes to the sky and follow every lead and take advantage of every situation that can help you get to where you want to be.

So you want to be a filmer/ Photographer…
This is another point that people bring up a lot. Kids want to make movies and they want to be a videographer ..
I make movies and I film stuff but by no means am I a professional.
I think though that these tips will help you.

Get the equipment
This is not going to be cheap. Cameras, lenses, computers … DAMN ..
If you want to do this, you will need to have it and you will need to know how to use it !

Be available and willing to work

I think the biggest thing with being a photog/ Videographer is that you need to make yourself available. You need to film a lot and put your self in line with people that are impressing others and shoot them. Guys like Jeff Patterson who started shooting flicks of his friends, moved to shooting flicks of the younger kids who were getting some attention, helped bring them up as pros,  while improving his skills building his reputation and his portfolio. For Jeff it’s been a long road , He’s been broke , he’s been down, but he’s never given up and this year I believe he placed at this years Pro Photo show at the Whistler Telus festival against the best photogs in the industry.

I don’t know Jared Slater’s full story.. but him and I met at COC in the summer of ’96… I ran into Jared in 2000 when he was filming and editing the frist Grenade flick.. Somewhere along his travels he met Danny and some of the other dudes… Made some low budget films, then made connections which eventually led to him being the lead cinematographer for Travis and all of his movies…

If I was going to try and become a filmer,
I’d be doing a lot of the same things I did for snowboarding and what I have done with the Realms.
Create a large body of work, and reach out to try and work for others, do collaborations, trade, share and be a part of everything you can. Similar to the Crew idea, attaching yourself to anything that is bigger than you are alone, will help you gain momentum and move you closer to where you want to be… and if it doesn’t, chances are you’ll gain some experience or knowledge that will help you the next time that you do.

So you want to become a Designer.
I was recently talking with one of the head designers from Volcom.
His advice, You want to be a designer… Design something!.

Too many people talk about wanting to be designers and aren’t doing anything.
As with everything in this industry you have to put yourself out there. I wanted to be a designer so I started making things on the computer and submitting them to Brands. I’ve designed probably 100 shirt graphics, 7 snowboard Boots , over 30 snowboards , helmets, gloves, jackets, pants … I had an idea so I made them and submitted them to companies that I was working with.

When I started riding for Deeluxe, the first day I met them I handed them a drawing I did of a boot that I wanted to ride… Born was the Rough Diamond which is now in its 7th year of production.

Maybe you don’t have that connection …
Just like everyone else, you’ll need to find a way to make it.
A friend of mine Mike Carter decided he wanted to be a graphic designer..

So he went to school.
While he was in school he started a zine called “Truth”
Mike used the connection that I had with companies to get a little bit of advertising to help cover the costof the zine,
But don’t get me wrong, this still cost him a ton of time, and a ton of loot, but it also helped him connect with a lot of people that would end up helping him move forward to where he is now.

Mike made Truth and sent it to everyone that he could think of.
The positive feedback that he received, pushed him to make truth better…
Issue 1. Black and white photo copies and staples and some hand drawn shit
Issue 2. Colour cover , photo copies and staples
Issue 3. things started to look pro. Perfect bound nice paper …
Issue 4. Top notch mag!
Still to this day people like Pat Bridges, editor of Snowboarder Magazine talk about Truth and how rad Truth was.
Mikes biggest connection was I believe with Nixon, Names have long since been lost but I think this is a pretty good idea of the time line.
Through an advertising sponsorship I believe Mike connected with one of the dudes at Nixon, who then moved to work for Spy. When this guy moved, he at some point asked if Mike would be interested in doing some little jobs for Spy. Nothing huge, some line drawings for an old catalog or something, I believe Mike even used it as a credit project for school.
Anyway, while Mike was at school, he stared working with this guy who ended up recommending to JDK, the design firm that handles brands like Burton, Mastercraft, and I think Coke?? I don’t know. Anyway. He recommended that they take Mike on when he finished school. Mike is obviously no slouch when it comes to ideas and by no means did that homies recommendation alone get him the position, it did help though, so off to Vermont for Mike.
Mike spent some time hating what he was doing there… resizing burton logos doing random odd jobs, but after a year or so of that, Mike started to design boards. First, the “7” series with Trevor Andrews, and then yes … that playboy board. Mike was responsible for the board that caught the attention of CNN.

When the time came. Mike took his experience at JDK and applied it to a new position as Art Director at Nixon watches… After a few years of that Mike is now running his own Freelance Design company.

School is something that really helped Mike , but he also set himself up to be around a lot of the right people to make his goals attainable.

So you want to be a rep in the snowboard industry?

I have a lot of friends that are reps and I think this is a pretty good way that it happens.

It seems most reps come from a retail back ground..
They at some point worked at a shop, moved their way up and eventually became manager or someone that had more responsibilities than just working the floor.
While working at a shop they make the connection to existing reps and from that relationship will usually find themselves in line to make a move with a brand.
Some kids choose to be the “Bitch” and work their way to “tech rep” they’ll offer to help turn screws at demos carry boards at Pk’s shit like that.. in exchange for work experience or maybe a discount on product.Eeventually working their way up into a position that allows them to take on more responsibility under the existing rep, then possibly moving to repping their own brand.

This stuff does not happen fast by any means, some people turn screws for a long time before they ever find the opportunity to make any money… but it can be done ..

The point of this is this,
you need to find out what your goal is and use every avenue you can to help you get up the stream to reach it… Many of the connections you will make will happen naturally, you’ll find that things a lot of the time seem to fall into place. For some though you’ll need to make a conscious effort to make the right decision.. It’s just like anything, at some point you’ll need to do something, to do anything.
This just like any other industry is a lot of work, but it also has it’s rewards.
If any of you managed to make it though this and still have any questions, feel free to ask away.. Ill do my very best to help y’all in any way that I can.

this video is pretty old , but still holds true…

shredding from 15 years ago ! thats crazy I’m getting old… what happened ?



Filed under Snowboard Realms Season 5, trick tip

13 responses to “Day with Holden

  1. kyle mc

    that would be absolutely awesome if you made a video/post about getting a career in the industry we all love. im currently studying to be an engineer and i desperately want to end up designing snowboard goods. anyways yeah, stoked for when that comes out! peace tj!

  2. The best road map ever written on how to ‘get a job being a pro, bro, rep, filmer or smoe” in the Snowboard Business. This should be treated as a bible to all up and comers and people that want in. Nice write TJ. Very honest.

  3. Very well written TJ, and thank your for the mention, and props. You have always been an inspiring person to know, and I am glad that we have had the chance to work together through all those years. Keep doing what you love.

  4. Mathias alexander

    Dear Tj,

    I’m pretty stoked on all your videos, they mean a lot to me.

    So my question is, when you’re looking after a sponsor well what should be included in the letter, and how long should the video be?
    Should I also just send a video and a letter to all the companies that I want to ride for, or should I just pick one or two? What would be the best thing to do?

    I have a hard time deciding this, would you mind sending me a email as soon as possible?

    Yours sincerely,

    P.s please continue with your videos, I much appreciate them! So thank you

    • Have you been in contact with any local reps ?
      chances are that before you send a video in these days you would have been in contact with someone asking or talking to you about your riding…

      If you just want to send a video and try your luck, A good plan is to send videos to companies you already support.
      If you were trying to ride for Capita, you’ll have a better chance if you are actually using their product and not riding a Lib or Burton.

      Your letter should be an introduction to who you are.. not too long, not too short. Let the company know what your goals are and why you think you should ride for them.

      Check out some other videos before you send yours in. I get videos all the time of kids that have literally just learned how to snowboard. Make sure that your video is worthy of slipping into any video that is for sale in a local shop… if its not, keep working until it is.

      If you want, you can always send me your videos and I can let you know my thoughts. youtube is a great way for you to get some feedback on your videos.

      • Mathias alexander

        I’ve been in contact with a fiew, I am sadly riding a burton as its very hard to find a capita dealer here in Belgium.

        I will for sure send you the video before I send it to any other company, so you can see if it’s worthy enough.

        I have been riding for quite some time now, and gotten positive feedback from both random people and camp coaches, so I hope I’ll be good enough to support either Capita or an other company.

        By who I am do you mean: how old I am, how long I have been riding, where I live etc?

        Is the best park board from Capita “stairmaster Extreme”?, by park board I mean big kickers etc?

        Thank you for replying so fast?

  5. J.D.

    that’s great sht. thanks for the honest, straight talking, heartfelt advice.

    also, snowboardrealms has been awesome from the start. i think mostly because it’s a work of love. we all thank you.

  6. Kevin Karas

    Thank you Tj for making this post, it has given me much hope for my future. You are easily one of my favorite riders.

  7. Hello TJ,
    Once again great post, shame I only got to read it now, but I really appreciate the time you took to explain a little more about the snowboard scene and some parts really opened my eyes.
    I wanted to ask you something tho: Can the time come when it is too late?

    I’m 18 years old and started freestyle 1 year ago, although i’ve been snowboarding since I was 8 years old, and this question has spent alot of time in my head, since most pros spend most of their lives practicing freestyle since they were little kids and my average is 70 days per season…do I have a shot at becoming a “professional” or is just too late to have such big dreams?

    Keep up the great work!

    • Hey Mang ,
      I would say No, it’s never too late.. Yes, there are kids that will be way a head of you if you’re just starting, but if you’ve been snowboarding for years and you’ve developed all the fundamentals, things could fall together for you pretty quick.
      Learning curves are different for everyone, I learned a ton of shit in my first season, and some people take years…
      Sometimes there are kids that is super sketchy for years and all of a sudden something clicks and they are amazing.
      I guess, to have a future as a pro, a rider just needs to have the natural balance / combo of Naturally talented and have the drive to be the best you can.
      Feel free to send me a video of you shredding and I can give you my thoughts… a lot of times you can see potential.

      Long and short of it … just say fuck it. try your hardest, have a ton of fun and if shit works out it works… you should be going to school and have goals beyond snowboarding anyway, be it design or business… snowboarding itself does not leave you with a ton of skills to get a job in the real world and there are very very few peeps like Mr White that will never have to work a day in their life again from being a pro snowboarder. Get educated and have a blast shredding

      • Hey,
        Thanks for the swift response, really appreciate it!
        Currently i’m on my first year on university (Marketing course) and be it shredding or working in some other way, I really hope in the future I can be a part of the snowboarding world (I already am as a Rider ,but you know what I mean), so one of my top priorities is getting that degree, but another one is also to progress as much as I can in the sport that I love the most (snowboarding). I, like many others, would love to shred for a living, but I’m aware that takes alot of skill in the sport but also enough luck to get noticed, so hey, if it happens, happens, if it doesn’t, i’m still having the time of my life shredding. It really boosts my desire to be better knowing that even starting freestyle at this age I can still try to achieve that status.
        I’ll send you a little edit I made of my season.


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