We had a little sit-down chat with The Baytown Outlaws star Paul Wesley to discuss his true icy passion–snowboarding:
MF: How did you get into snowboarding in the first place?
PW : I grew up in Jersey, and we have Hunter Mountain there, so we’d go nonstop in the winter. We used to travel all over Vermont and New Hampshire—it was just part of my childhood. I was on a ski team when I was seven years old, and I shifted into snowboarding when I was about 13. I’ve been hooked on it ever since. One of my biggest problems with being out in Atlanta [for filming] is that there’s no mountain to snowboard. I literally feel like I’m in a desert with no water.
MF: What’s your favorite terrain? Downhill? Snowpark?
PW: When I was younger, and I didn’t give a shit about breaking my bones or falling on my face, I’d do the half-pipe. Now that I’m an old man, I feel like Warner Brothers would sue the shit out of me if I broke a bone in my body, so I’m definitely a little more cautious. For the first time in my life, I’m wearing a helmet. I like to basically shoot down as fast as I can—I mean, I love getting fresh powder and carving, but one of the biggest thrills is trying to go so fast that my cheeks are [being pulled from my face] by the wind velocity.
MF: Is it true you once got a speeding ticket from the ski police?
PW: The last time we went, the ski police—who actually do exist—gave me a ticket for speeding. I can’t imagine they had radar, but I guess I was going too fast and endangering other skiers. So I was literally written a ticket. It was kind of hilarious. I didn’t even know there were ski police.
MF: Where, in your experience, is the best place to board?
PW: Lately, I’ve just been doing a lot of West Coast riding, which is infinitely better than East Coast riding. You just don’t get the same conditions on the East Coast—it’s way icier. Whistler, B.C., is one of my all-time favorite places to go because the town itself is so stunning. It really just depends on whether you get dumped on. If you can catch a sunny day after a massive storm and it’s just fresh powder, you can fall all over the place and not get hurt.
MF: What’s your best snowboarding memory? Have you landed anything you’re particularly proud of?
PW: When you’re a kid, all you care about is doing tricks. I remember when I landed my first 540—I landed backside. For me, it was, like, the greatest achievement ever—and my friend caught it all on video. Nowadays, I don’t really have that. But I still enjoy the peace snowboarding gives me. It just makes me forget about everything else and enjoy life. It’s really therapeutic.
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Snowboarding 101: Wesley’s Advice
How to prepare for the powder and avoid perpetuating a negative stereotype:
Keep at It
“Don’t get discouraged the first week.The first day you try snowboarding is the worst day of your life. It’s one of the hardest things to pick up, but once you figure out how to stabilize, it’s so rewarding. Oh, and make sure you get some waterproof pants, because you’ll be sitting on your ass the first two days. That’s the best advice I can give.”
Stay In Shape in the Off-season
“I have chicken legs. I hate to admit it, and it’s pathetic. And I know that when I get onto my board, I won’t be able to walk after that first day because I haven’t been using my legs at all. I’ll go to the gym and lift some weights—maybe once in a while I’ll run. If I were wise I’d do more leg workouts, because when I get out there, it’s really hard.”
“There are a lot of punks who sag their pants and act really loud and annoy the shit out of [everyone on the mountain]. Try not to fall into that crowd.”
MF Pick: Burton Family Tree Cheetah Snowboard
This board, designed for Burton rider Terje Haakonsen, features a slight taper designed to help it perform in the powder, and a swallowtail design that’s a nod to Haakonsen’s expertise on the powder.