Early in the season, while walking with a friend up to the BoneZone, I casually remarked "That's Jesse Paul, he's going to win rookie of the year." That was the day Jesse, for shits and giggles, filmed all 8 270's on a down rail. Later that month he indeed won Rookie of the Year. He's a super nice guy with an amazing future, and we sat down to talk to one of SLC's newest residents a few weeks ago. (all photos Ashley Dawn Byrd)
Arkade: Jesse you moved to SLC last spring, so talk to us about that decision to move west and how that’s been working out for you so far.
Jesse: Salt Lake had always been on my mind through out my snowboarding. You see so much of Brighton on the internet, and all these pro snowboarders all seem to live in Salt Lake as well so it was always kind of in my mind as a place to end up. I was in college though, since getting out of high school in Minnesota, so that's what kept me there. I kind of always wanted to move out west somewhere though once I graduated college, but that took me awhile because I’d take semesters off. I finally finished last December and simultaneously both got asked to film with Bode and my girl friend Ashley, that had lived in Park City, really wanted to move back to Utah. So all of that happened at once, and it just seemed like the obvious choice to come here. I made a few trips out here while filming, wrapped up school, and so as the winter wound down in Minnesota we packed up and came out here in March.
Arkade: You mentioned filming with Bode. Tell us how all of that came about.
Jesse: It was kind of crazy, and it kind of came out of nowhere. So last season was really the first full season I was getting support from Salomon and Kevin at Salomon and I were in constant talk about trying to find me a video project and this project bode was doing came up. I had never met Bode but he has definitely been someone I have looked up to as I’ve started to come up snowboarding. He is one of those snowboarders who is always pushing the limits and doing crazy stuff. Its always sick to see what he comes up with and so one day Kevin called me up talking about Bode’s movie and said that since it was a Salomon project Bode thought it could be a good thing to have me be a part of it. All of that is great you know but there has to be that chemistry there so I went on a couple of fast trips just to see how I worked with his crew. I was so hyped and ended up going on a trip with them in November and got like 4 clips in a few days. I was just with them for the weekend because I was just finishing up school as we talked about earlier. So yeah fast trip, knocked out some clips, and everything seemed to really go well and Bode invited me on the next trip and that just ended up with me filming with them for the rest of the year. It all fell into place because that trial period was right at the end of school and after that I really had the freedom to do more traveling and filming.
Arkade: Were you able to get to Japan with the crew?
Jesse: No, I don't think they trusted me and I don't blame them. I ‘ve never really ridden anything like what Japan has to offer, and they really needed an experienced crew over there.
Arkade: Well that sucks, but have you been able to get all the pow that's fallen so far in Utah?
Jesse: Ha, well yeah the pow has been coming down, but I’ve been so busy with my current project I haven’t been able to really get up there and take advantage of it. I’ve pretty much just been in the city filming as much as possible.
Arkade: So I guess the biggest thing, at least in our opinion yours may differ, but the biggest thing to come out of Bode’s project was your Rookie of the year award at Rider’s Poll.
Jesse: Yeah, I mean it was a huge honor to even be considered much less to win. It was really a monumental thing for me personally because I feel like I worked so hard for a lot of years to make this snowboarding thing happen and it was really the first time the industry as a whole embraced that effort and it was real emotional. A dream come true, and it really set the groundwork for me to feel like I could make this a career and keep progressing. It’s just crazy because it was a result of filming with Bode on his project, which kind of came out of nowhere, but just happened to coincide with me finishing school, and getting full support from Salomon. Just a lot of little things that the timing just worked out on you know, and the award was the result of all of that. Its just this climb that's always been going on but the last year or so it has just been exponential, and now I’m filming for XGames which is crazy to even try and process.
Arkade: So you mentioned XGames. You are filming for Real Snow right now. Tell us how different it has been to be part of Bode’s project last year in which he was obviously the driving force, and now this year having all of that responsibility placed on your shoulders as you manage putting together your own part.
Jesse: Oh man, I wasn’t really ready for how much stress and pressure it would induce. It definitely was a lot easier filming with Bode, he has it all figured out. He knows the spot the next day, he knows the schedule, which pretty much consists of wake up, go to spot, get shots, clean up spot, eat, sleep and repeat. It was really easy for me because I was just kind of along for the ride but with Real Snow I’m put in Bode’s position where I have to think about all those details. Thank God I spent a few weeks in the fall looking for spots, even though I’ve already run out of spots, it still gave me sort of a jump. It’s been crazy to have people looking to me for “the plan” especially with other riders being involved. I don't want to impede their ability to get their shots and their parts filmed, as well you know. It definitely been a journey but its been fun.
Arkade: What other projects are on the table?
Jesse: I am also filming for Transworld. That one just kind of fell into place early and really it was that agreement that got me motivated to go look for spots in the fall. The way they make movies they kind of pair up filmers and riders which is actually really similar to the Real Snow process. With Real Snow however I found out I was in just days before we needed to start filming. I was seeing and hearing these other rider’s getting the invite and was “man, that’d be cool” and then suddenly got one as well. So that made me kind of shift gears because obviously that one has more of a time crunch. So I’m still doing Transworld and may share a few clips but right now I have a bunch of clips I’m not going to use for Real Snow that will go towards Transworld. Once Real Snow is over I’ll continue to film but hopefully at a less hectic pace.
Arkade: Ok man be fore we end this thing what else do you have to add?
Jesse: HUGE HUGE thanks to Salomon, all of my sponsors too obviously Smith, Sessions, and The House boardshop, but Salomon have really been the folks that really gave me that initial support and made everything that's happening possible. My parents as well for always believing this was a career path I could take, although they did make me finish school. Thanks to my girlfriend too!