A Colorful Personality: Closing Weekend with Red Gerard
At just 20 years young, Red Gerard possesses the style and essence only typically found in seasoned veterans. With support from Burton Snowboards and Mountain Dew, Red Gerard has become a major player in the snowboard community and a role model to many young riders. Along with success on the biggest stages like the World Cup and Dew Tours he has an Olympic Gold Medal in slopestyle from the 2018 games in PyeongChang. As we stood slopeside at Targhee on closing weekend I got to view the world of snowboarding through Red’s lens and learn about his Olympic experience.
“The whole Olympic thing was just wild. To be able to make Team USA and to be able to go to PyeongChang was unreal for me. I was so young and I really had no expectations. I ended up making slopestyle finals, and from there on out I just wanted to land a run”, he explained. He did put together a run and stomped a massive triple cork 1440 on the last jump to take over the top spot on his final run.
“I’m still blacking out when remembering that run. It’s been a crazy four years and I still can’t think of the moment in that time, I can’t even recall what I was thinking.”
An Olympic medal and the abundance of media coverage that comes with it hasn’t gone to his head. Red remains humble and passionate about the sport that ultimately has brought him success. He appreciates the magic of small and quiet resorts like Grand Targhee.
“When I was flying here, I just wanted to come ride Targhee. It is such a blast.” He explained that when it’s just him and his family, he prefers smaller resorts. Looking to remove himself from the hustle and bustle, he’s searching for places where the riding is pure, and where he can be reminded of why he fell in love with the sport in the beginning. “The majority of the resorts I ride are small resorts, other than like Copper and the resorts where the competitions are at. When it’s just me and my family and friends we always try to go to the smaller resorts and get away from the crowds a bit. Just looking to get back to the roots of snowboarding. That’s what I love so much about Targhee,” says Red. “These are all locals here for the most part and they just want to ski and snowboard. They don’t really care about who’s here or what’s going on, it’s just about having a great day.”
Gerard was here to celebrate the Closing Weekend of the 2020/21 Winter Season and to ride with the top finishers of the Teton Surf Classic, a surf-inspired snowboard-only event that is held at the resort. Podium finishers from the Grom and Teen divisions joined Red on the hill to show off their skills and local stomping grounds. “To get to ride with the winners of the Surf Classic was just insane. Seeing how talented the kids are on a snowboard, it’s so refreshing. There are little kids out there just wanting to send backflips and do all of this fun stuff. Closing weekend here at Targhee couldn’t have lined up any better”.
Though a veteran of big competitions, the importance of grassroots events like the Teton Surf Classic is not lost on Red. “The competitions that I do and stuff, you know, are probably not that appealing to a young kid just getting into it. There are so many flips and spins, it can’t be that relatable.” Though bigtime is something to strive for, he explains that “The Teton Surf Classic is so important because it is not about the flips or the spins, it’s about the style and trying to look the best while having fun. It’s such a crucial part to getting the little kids juiced up on snowboarding.”
Red’s young success has brought early wisdom with it, and there are lessons to be learned from the gold medalist. He reminds us that the sport of snowboarding is meant to be celebrated and that it’s even more important to remember where you came from as you reach new heights along the way. That no matter the strength of your boarding, the love for it is most important. Building the next generation of riders up, being a role model for them, and sharing your passion is what it’s all about.
The reasons why we love being on the slopes vary for each of us. We range from gold-medal winners to weekend warriors. Yet we all find our own joy while playing in the snow. My time with Red reminded me to savor the memories of an exceptional season and to be thankful for the activities we do in the places we cherish. May we embrace the big and the small, knowing that the love of it is what matters most of all.