“SNOWBOARDING WAS NEVER MEANT to be about you and how cool you are,” says Chuck Schmidt, whose hometown is Coeur d’Alene. “It’s about shredding and having fun.”
As a 14-year-old kid, he says, “I found out there were such things as terrain parks on mountains—my idea of snowboarding forever changed.”
Now at age 23, Chuck is the terrain park manager for Lookout Pass—his job the past two years. He snowboards about 100 days during a typical winter season. “Running a park is a lot of work. I have grown to respect terrain parks more, but I have also discovered that you are only limited to your creativity. Here at Lookout, we do our best to expand on that as much as possible.”
Chuck’s favorite places to snowboard, besides Lookout, include Revelstoked, B.C., Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain in California. “Being able to live [at Mammoth for two seasons] and to see how the mountain works with its terrain parks is how I mold Lookout’s way of things,” he says.
“Lookout Terrain Park, or LKTPRK, started its progression in the 2010-11 season. Now it holds a brand new total of 20+ features alone this year, three parks, and lots more coming,” says Chuck. Weekly videos are posted at www.facebook.com/lktprk. “Lookout’s motive is to provide progression, but at the same time create an environment and community for all to enjoy.”
Chuck describes his riding style as “smooth and consistent.” He says, “People forget that these days—seems like it’s a ‘spin to win’ on anything and there’s absolutely no style in that. I grew up throwing myself off any sort of jump…and when moving to Mammoth I progressed in that. So I would say hitting an awesome 70-foot+ jump that sits 10 feet high or so gets my adrenaline going—but a good skinny down box is pretty legit.”
His advice for younger riders is to focus on the fun. “Snowboarding will always be progressive. People will progress, styles progress, tricks progress, etc. but never forget that snowboarding is here for us to enjoy. We can make it a sport, which is fine, but it’s really here for us to have a good time and shred,” he says.
Although Chuck has never snowboarded as a professional, he came close during his second season at Mammoth. “My biggest break was when a huge and well-known company came to me with a contract to be on their international team,” he says. But the day before he was to ride with the team manager in order to qualify, he fell on his shoulder and suffered a level two dislocation.
And only two months prior, Chuck survived an “unbelievable ‘freak accident’,” as he describes it. “I jumped a cliff that was roughly 25 feet or so and landed on a tree stump that was covered by snow.” The 2.5-inch diameter stump punctured him—going in 8.5 inches and shattering his tailbone.
“It was gnarly,” Chuck says. “Doctors and surgeons told me that if I jumped back 1-2 more inches to the right, I would have had some life-changing medical problems for the rest of my life. They told me I wouldn’t be able to snowboard the rest of the year, but miraculously I healed very quickly and got back on my board two months later.”
However, Chuck says, “…these events saved me. I was living for myself, I was prideful, and I didn’t care about anything else but myself. All I wanted was to be noticed in the snowboarding world. But God wanted me to do something greater…[Now] I get to place opportunity in our local area and I get to, in a way, help others succeed in their passion for skiing or snowboarding. I don’t care if I ever go pro. If the opportunity dropped at my feet, maybe—but it’s not my focus. My focus lies on those around me.”
Chuck’s other outdoor recreation activities include biking (he logged over 1,000 miles on his new road bike last summer and plans to double that this summer), skateboarding and skurfing (surfing behind a boat on a wake). “My father is an epic 50-year-old surfer who, I think, still kills me on a skurf board,” he says.
Chuck’s sponsors include O-Matic Snowboards, Nike, Ashbury, Saga, I.A. (I’m Awesome) Clothing and BFC (Boarders For Christ). Here is the gear you’ll see him using.
SNOWBOARD: O-Matic Extr-Eco 157.
BINDINGS: Flux RK30 Bindings.
BOOTS: Nike Kaiju.
HELMET: R.E.D. hi-fi.
JACKET: Saga Anomie series jacket or a sweet hoodie.
PANTS: Saga Anomie series.
LAYERS: A good set of thermals.
SOCKS: Black Nike sport socks.
GLOVES: Celtek Chroma.
GOGGLES: Anything from Ashbury.
OTHER ESSENTIAL GEAR: I.A. facemask and beanie and Nixon headphones for iphone music. //