For a slew of reasons, snowboarding at Brighton is just plain fun. One of those reasons is that on almost any given day you could find yourself sharing a chair with some of the incredible snowboarders that call Salt Lake home. On the first Friday of the season at Brighton, I was lucky enough to chat with Tres Hard ripper Madison Blackley on the lift. We used the roughly eight minute ride up Crest Express to catch up and talk about Sweden, chicks and early season stoke.
Arkade: So what’s goin’ on Madison?
Mads: I dunno, Brighton just opened, I’ve been boardin’ every day with the homies… and that’s pretty much what’s going on in my life right now.
Arkade: We have Gaby [Maldonado] on the chair with us too [Gaby says hi]. So last time we actually spoke was for your Hi There interview. What’s happened since then?
Mads: There have been two videos now. So that came out right before Still Hard, and Tres Hard just dropped a couple weeks ago, and that was pretty awesome to see the final project. I think it turned out really, really good and all the girls killed it.
Arkade: I agree. I watched it a couple times while it was online.
Mads: Wow, multiple times?
Arkade: Yeah, I usually have to watch a video at least a couple of times to really be able to take it all in.
Mads: I would say so, especially to hear the music, you know?
Arkade: For sure. So how was putting that all together? Like getting clips and stuff…
Mads: It was really good. It was definitely smaller crews of people I would say. A lot of European girls did that, and they were really cool when we met them in Sweden. It was a good season I would say!
Photo: Amanda Hankison
Arkade: So Sweden… where else did you film?
Mads: Sweden is all I filmed. Some of the other girls went to Michigan and the east coast and Tahoe, but I just kept it close to home for the most part.
Arkade: What was Sweden like?
Mads: It was pretty crazy. It was like the hottest winter they have had in something like a hundred years. So that really sucked. It was really difficult. It was insanely hot, it only dropped below thirty two degrees like once the entire time. Even at night it was over forty degrees.
Arkade: So obviously that’s gonna make it pretty hard to set up spots and what not…
Mads: Yeah, it took us sooo long to set up spots because there was just no snow.
Arkade: Did that make the payoff better once you got set up, or was it just straight up frustrating?
Mads: It was just frustrating the whole time. I mean it worked out, there weren’t any spots that didn’t end up working, but it wasn’t as easy as it could have been.
Arkade: So what are your upcoming plans this early in the winter?
Mads: Well we’re supposed to get some more snow here soon, so I hope that gives Brighton a good base. I’m trying to do some more hiking, get into the backcountry a little more. I did some of that last year, and it ended up pretty good. So I think I’m just gonna stick to the mountains as much as possible.
Arkade: Are you on a splitboard?
Mads: Nah, I think I’m going the snowshoe route.
Arkade: Nice, I’ve done that a few times. It’s nice cause you can use whatever board you want that way and not be tied to just your split deck…
Arkade: Gaby, what’s going on over there?
Gaby: Just stoked to be up here! Stoked that the lifts are running… it’s winter time, I’m just stoked!
Arkade: Right on, super stoked! So, I took some speed laps with the Milo crew earlier…
Mads: How was that?
Arkade: Oh man, a good reminder of how old I’m getting.
Mads: They’re fuckin’ hot lappers man. They haul ass! I don’t really hot lap. I like to cruise; I like to carve.
Arkade: So I know this questions comes up a lot, and it’s almost becoming kind of cliché to even ask it, but what’s up with the blow up of female riders killing it?
Mads: Dude! It’s this phenomenon; it’s Salt Lake City. That’s all it is, I swear it’s nothing more than Salt Lake City. Just bringing people in and giving them opportunity, and so it’s just so easily noticeable, you know? I mean we notice it more so than other people because we’re right here in Salt Lake, but there’s like twenty five chicks here! It’s insane!
Arkade: And you ladies kill it too…
Mads: Yeah, it’s just… dude Brighton. [everyone laughs] Dude Brighton, that can explain it all.
Arkade: So with that comes more coverage and saturation in snowboard media for female riders. So has snowboarding media just been dropping the ball on this until now and finally catching on?
Mads: Uh, I don’t even think they’re even catching on. I think girls are pushing it and making it more noticeable out of their own work and own will instead of other people showing the world. It’s more self-done rather than the support from other people pushing them that way.
Arkade: So what does snowboard media need to do to help the cause?
Mads: Dude, stop thinking of chicks as girly little play toys… I don’t know, like what else is there?
Arkade: This is kind of a strange thing to talk about I think, because when I watch a girl’s part, I’m not sitting there thinking “Oh, this is a girl I’m watching” I’m thinking “This is a snowboarder I’m watching”…
Mads: Well I think a lot of people will watch a girl’s footage and be like, that was sick, that was sick and then there will be like one clip that was put in there that was really soggy, and that will seriously bring everything else they’ve done down. You know, people can’t just brush that off, they’re just like oh this one time she did this horrible 50-50, so she pretty much sucks. [Gaby laughs]
Arkade: So everyone is going to suck sometimes, does getting over that come down to just not putting that soggy clip in the edit or what?
Mads: Um, I don’t know… People just like to be judgmental and it just makes a good topic for conversation, and then there’s like this group mentality.
Arkade: What can you, Madison, do to change that?
Mads: I’m just gonna do me.
[We unload off Crest…]
Photo: Kieth Rutherford
Arkade: What does “do you” mean in this case?
Mads: Um, I’m just gonna snowboard the way I want to snowboard, and hopefully people like it. I mean I think I’m a pretty cool person.
Arkade: I think you’re a pretty cool person… [high fives]
Mads: I’m my own biggest fan [more laughter]
Arkade: Alright, so how many days is on snow does today make for you?
Mads: I guess this is day four, yeah, [Brighton] opened on Tuesday, so day four. No pre-season; strictly resort riding [even more laughter].
Gaby: You hiked twice…
Mads: Yeah, hardly… a little bit.
Arkade: Well, let’s wrap up there so we can ride… any shout outs or anything?
Mads: Yeah, shout out to all the peeps keepin’ it real. You know, like Smith, Bataleon, Blindside and Airblaster of course.
Interview: Mark Seguin
Photos: Amanda Hankison & Kieth Rutherford