Red Gerard eyes more growth in contests, films, building snowboard community
MORRISON — Still eight months shy of his 21st birthday, life and snowboarding is continuing to crystallize for 2018 Olympic gold medalist Red Gerard. More specifically, the snowboarder from Silverthorne is realizing more and more about where he can take the sport in the future.
“I just want to up my snowboarding, in general,” Gerard said at Red Rocks on the evening of Friday, Oct. 23.
Gerard is surrounded by not only some of the most talented people in the snowboard industry at Burton, but by family and friends who know the sport inside and out. They know where the sport’s been, where it is now and where it could possibly be going in the future.
Friday night at Burton’s drive-in North American premiere of their new film, “One World,” Gerard and the passionate snowboard tribe he’s a part of had a bit of a homecoming to “rado,” as they called it. As drive-in viewers heated their cars in 29-degree October cold and honked their horns in support, Gerard and his friend and fellow Burton riders like Brock Crouch and Luke Winkelmann reflected on where they’ve come.
Gerard chatted about learning the ropes — including how to heat up chicken wings on a snowmobile — from Burton legends like Mikey Rencz. A moment later, Winkelmann mentioned how Gerard’s older brother, Malachi, a member of the “One World” filmmaking crew, helped with snowmobiling deep in Tahoe powder.
Moments into the film, as “My Girls” by Animal Collective played, snowboarder Danny Davis howls into the crisp western Rocky Mountain air to start a backcountry day. Shortly after, Gerard seamlessly surfs a gargantuan trick through backcountry powder.
That moment, and the movie, encapsulates how Red Gerard, Malachi “Kai” Gerard, the rest of the Gerard family and their friends are at the core of what Burton is doing. As Red Gerard realizes just how special of an opportunity he has to shape the future of the sport, he wants to continue to do his best in many different arenas.
In terms of filming for “One World,” whether that was riding powder in Hokkaido, Japan, or riding closer to home in the Whistler or Tahoe backcountry, doing his best means following up last year’s “Joy” debut with clips that continue to rival the best in the business. Years ago he was a 13-year-old gawking at what Davis and Mikkel Bang did in the Burton film “Thirteen,” and now Red Gerard said he’s happy to join them.
“I just kind of wanted to be able to hang with the big dogs,” he said. “I’ve been watching these guys snowboard for years and years, so for me to be able to hit the same jump as them, share the same memories, that’s very important to me.”
The youngest brother of the Gerard litter, Red Gerard said he’s maturing out of a little brother-like in the snowboarding community, but he stays modest and humble when he talks about learning from guys like Rencz and backcountry slayer Mark Sollors.
Still, Red Gerard’s time has come. Kai Gerard talked about how proud he is of his brother’s maturation as he’s become such a central cog in the snowboard world.
When asked what part of Red’s growth he’s most proud of, Kai Gerard was blunt. He said nothing his brother does on a snowboard surprises him anymore and hasn’t for quite some time, but seeing how Red has learned to handle the pressure and deal with the anxiety of his young success is what has impressed him the most.
Red Gerard said a recent knee injury, the first of his career, has been a “blessing in disguise” as it’s helped him prioritize focusing on his holistic health. Heading into an uncertain season amid the novel coronavirus, he still loves contest riding as much as ever and is excited for the upcoming Olympics.
If he qualifies, he wants to take time to admire his fellow American and international athletes in the moment rather than jetting to media appearances like last time, and though he’s hesitant to say it, he wants to be the best. He also wants to reach a level of excellence with his buds in backcountry filming too.
Red Gerard also wants to bring new things to the snowboard community, as evidenced by his vision to bring financially-accessible snowboard parks to big cities.
He and his family realize that process is slow. But he wants bringing the sport he loves to the masses to eventually be part of his legacy. After debuting the free Red’s Backyard at Copper Mountain Resort last year, he’d love to take it to Denver first, and eventually to other areas.
“There are kids out there that want to snowboard that don’t know they want to snowboard,” said Kai Gerard. “When you give back to the community, in turn the sport has more. It can flourish more with more people involved, more opportunities.”
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The IOC is reshaping the Tokyo Games, now planned to start in July 2021, and preparing for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The IOC abandoned its old practice of awarding Olympics every two years and seven years ahead of when the games are held.