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Dew Tour interview: Zack Black and Brett Esser

With the first day of the annual 2014 Dew Tour competition wrapping up at Breck, we caught up with snowboard slopestyle and super pipe athletes Zack Black and Brett Esser to pick their brains on what they thought of this year’s competition layout and vibe. Heres what they had to say:

Nick: So first off, give me some background about yourself.

Zack: Well, I grew up in Summit County, Colorado. I was born in Denver and have lived here all 24 years of my life excluding the time I spend at school in Salt Lake City going to college.  Yeah, Snowboarded since I was seven years old, skied when I was a year and a half and, you know, been on snow since day one.

Brett: Well, I’m 22 years old. I grew up in Iowa, so there weren’t really mountains there. I started snowboarding when I was seven, because my brother did it, and I wanted to do everything he did. Then when I was 12 years old, I moved out here, because you know, I wanted bigger mountains, and my parents were ready for a change, and so I made the move out here and /I haven’t left ever since.


Nick: How long have you been riding and competing for?

Zack: I’ve bee competing in snowboard contests since I was nine years old, and then professionally since I was like 16.

Brett: I’ve been riding for 15 years now, and I’ve been competing for ten years.


Nick: How many times have you been to Dew Tour before?

Zack: I’ve been doing the Dew Tour since the first year when it started in Breckenridge eight or nine years ago.

Brett: This is year eight of doing the Dew Tour for me.


Nick: What events do you compete in?

Zack: I compete in Halfpipe

Brett: When I was younger, I did slopestyle snowboarding, and halfpipe snowboarding. Now I just kind of transitioned in to halfpipe riding.


Nick: What do you think of the pipe/slope course/conditions?

Zack: The pipe is absolutely amazing. Its the best pipe I’ve ever tested, like we show up and I test it every year and it’s always pretty much perfect but there’s always a little tweak here, or some little thing everyone has a comment about, and this year I haven’t heard anyone with any complaints. The weather is beautiful, so it should be a very good contest; everybody should be ready to go.

Brett: Yeah, the halfpipe at Breckenridge is amazing. Like I rode it on Sunday, and that was the first day it was open, and I remember the pipe-builder being like, “Hey, what can we do to fix it?” and we were all kind of like, “Uh, like you don’t have to do anything, it’s pretty perfect.” It hasn’t changed, and it’s Wednesday now, so I’m stoked.


Nick: What kind of tricks can we expect to see out of you this year?

Zack: Haha, umm, I’m going for the more mellow tricks this year. I’ve never been the craziest flipping guy; they’re doing quadruples and stuff. But I got a few runs planned out, I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen because I haven’t been snowboarding in a halfpipe much this season yet so I kind of still got to piece it all together, either tonight in practice, or tomorrow before the contest, but I’ve got some hand plants that I’m most excited about mixed in there at the very end, so that’s what I want to talk about, haha.

Brett: Well I got some big tricks planned. I got the front side 1260 that I plan on doing, and then the front side double cork 1080. This summer I learned a ton of new, technical tricks, which I’ll be doing the backside 720 into a switch backside 900.


Nick: What are your plans for this season?

Zack: The rest of the season, I will be between here and Utah. I’m taking a few classes out there and working towards a mathematics major out there at Westminster College. So, I’ll be doing that, as well as snowboarding here, and at Park City now that Vail Resorts is part of that as well, and just training between those two places and hopefully doing some backcountry riding out there and here as well. That’s my plan.

Brett: the rest of the season, I’m going to do a couple more contests, I’ll be doing the Grand Prix, X-Games and the U.S. Open at Vail. Then I’m also filming for an online video part this year, so that’s something new. I’ve never done that before so that will be a learning experience and something fun for sure.


Nick: Music while riding?

Zack: I listen to music on the mountain, and when I snowboard in the halfpipe, I prefer to listen to Danny Brown, Aesop Rocky, or Odd Future. That’s sometimes, or I listen to Graveyard and Uncle Acid other times. So, its either hard hip-hop, or hard rock.

Brett: Yeah, I listen to music while riding, definitely. It’s more for the lift and I ride with it super quite. I’ll get done, and be like, “Oh yeah, I’m listening to music.” Haha. I kind of cant ride with out it but yeah, it’s got to be real quiet.


Nick: If you win, what going to be your first purchase with your prize money?

Zack: My first purchase if I get that cash purse would probably be, to put it just straight into my bank account and just live off it. Haha, I’m not too big of a consumer, haha but I never plan in advance these things. If I did that I feel like I’d never have any money.

Brett: You know what, I think my first purchase if I get on the podium will be a transceiver for the back country, and then the res of it will go into my bank account.


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