I’ve had a strange connection to Jackson Hole since I was young. Growing up on the south side of Chicago, I didn’t have many opportunities to see mountains but they always called my name. Any time we did get a bit of snow in Chicago, it was straight to the local dirt pile to ride (and eventually flip) whatever dangerous contraption we’d created.
I got a chance to hitch a ride to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, when I was 12 years old. I was a skateboarder and anxious to get on the snow, and get rad. Snowboarding had barely been invented, so I had to go with a pair of skis. We tore around the mountain through the endless powder of Steamboat and had a ridiculously fun time. I had found my home, the place I wanted to be: The Mountains. As we were about to leave Steamboat, I spotted a huge poster on the wall. It was an outline of the Grand Tetons and it read: Jackson Hole. It grabbed my attention, and I asked one of the local guys about it. His response was “Oh, shit man, that’s the greatest place on earth!” I knew I would end up there someway, somehow.
While in university, I ended up studying abroad in Austria. I was in the mountains of Saalbach Hinterglemm and Zell am See within 12 hours of arriving. I never made it back to the University of Illinois. After finishing studies in Vienna, I landed a job in Prague and was able to continue my annual trips to the Austrian Alps. I ended up renting an apartment near Zürs and Lech am Arlberg, where I spent the better part of 19 seasons on the mountain.
Medicine Wheel became our
first in-store retailer,
and it was pretty special
for us to plant our first flag in Jackson.
During this time, I met a steady stream of snowboard legends from Jackson Hole: Willie McMillon of Bluebird Wax, Brian Iguchi, Mike Parillo and Lance Pitman. They re-affirmed my belief in the holy grail of North American mountains and told me I needed to get over there.
Then I met Jimmy Chin at Summit at Sea. We connected on the HANAH ONE product that I had been working on in India. He loved the company and the product, and oddly enough, was also living in Jackson Hole. The coincidence and mystique surrounding this place kept getting crazier and crazier. Jimmy introduced me to Medicine Wheel Wellness in Jackson and the owner, Francine instantly wanted to have HANAH ONE in her center. Medicine Wheel became our first in-store retailer, so it was pretty special for us to plant our first flag in Jackson.
A few weeks later, Alex Hillinger, who works with the Asymbol gallery, and Travis Rice, invited me over to an event he was holding on the mountain. The circle was complete. To arrive in Jackson and greet a few people who had been testing HANAH ONE was a long and interesting journey. To shred the mountain with a group of friends from all over the world was ridiculously fun, and a long time in the making.
Mountain towns definitely attract communities of like-minded people, and even though it took a few decades, travel and learning on multiple continents to arrive in Jackson, I’m so happy to connect with this crew and see HANAH ONE helping this community. Somehow it all makes sense when you connect the dots backwards.