FIS – Not only did you earn your TD accreditation, you did it with a perfect 100% score – were you surprised by that, or is that just a result of the way you approach anything you set your mind to? Or, just good study habits?
RP – I worked hard and prepared for the test. I was surprised and happy to get a 100% on it. I’m thankful that I had a great group of TD’s with so much knowledge who helped me along the way, such as Ted Martin, who mentored me through the process, and Bill Van Gilder who was very helpful at events. I also have to thank John Jett for his help and letting me earn one of my shadow assignments under his supervision at Copper Mountain.
FIS – What are your thoughts on the level that halfpipe snowboarding has achieved since you hung up the bib, especially when you see things that were pretty much unimaginable 10-15 years ago like Ayumu’s winning run in Beijing with the lead-off triple, Scotty’s silver run with the switch back 12, and Jan’s bronze with switch dub alley-oop rodeo 10 nose?
RP – The 2022 Olympic halfpipe competition was unbelievable. It’s been so impressive to see Ayumu and Scotty pushing the level of their riding and putting it down on the biggest stage. Kaishu’s record breaking method was insane. Jan’s double alley-opp rodeo and Taylor’s double Michalchuk 1080 were also so cool to see. I hope to be a TD at an Olympic snowboard competition in the future.
FIS – How crazy it that, with JJ (Thomas) coaching for the US team and Danny (Kass) coaching a number of different athletes in recent years, all three of the riders from the historic Salt Lake podium sweep are still influential figures in snowboard competition scene at the highest level?
RP – I’m always so excited to see Danny and JJ out on the mountains and at events. JJ was recently named the US Snowboard Team head halfpipe coach and Danny is the US rookie team halfpipe coach. I’m the Director of Snowboarding at Stratton Mountain School in Vermont. It’s really cool the three of us and so many other riders are involved in our sport.
FIS – What would you say to other riders looking to remain involved in competitive snowboarding after their days of chasing the podium are over, in terms of advice or encouragement?
RP – I feel the reason why so many of us stay involved is because of our love for snowboarding, and there are many ways to stay involved after a riders competitive or filming career. I feel the more snowboarders that stay involved the better for our sport and the next generations of riders. If you’re a rider looking for ways to stay involved or to start a new career you should reach out to the people working in the areas of snowboarding you have interests in.