Getting Personal: Sammy Carlson

Laughing at the haters – why the hot Hood skier is down with snowboarders.
Snowboarder Sammy Carlson at Mt Hood, USA
Sammy Carlson at Mt Hood © Danny Burrows
By Danny Burrows

Sammy Carlson was raised in Tigard, in the shadow of Mount Hood and has been a pious devotee to this temple of freestyle since the age of four.

It is therefore no surprise that his talent on two planks is sharper than a tempered Katana. We got a chance to get personal with Sammy between summer sessions at Hood’s camps.

How much has coming from Hood influenced your riding, not only in style but also in intensity?
I met some influential people early on in my life, who opened my mind and made me think differently. Thanks to my family, I grew up shredding the whole mountain, not just the park. Growing up on Hood the scene was a lot different from now. The skiers rolling around had some of the most influential styles in the game. I have always been conscious of my style and try and ride smooth.

You have been competing for a while and have a cupboard well-stocked with trophies, including some X Games gold. What is your drive to compete?
I always competed because I was into it; it pushed me. I was always stoked, skiing a lot and learning new tricks. I developed an intense focus on and off the hill. When you’re pushing it, it takes a lot of time to be ready.

Now I don’t get the same feeling from contests. As the sport evolved the courses have relatively stayed the same; I prefer going out with a good crew and working with the natural terrain. It’s never been about the competition buzz, always the feeling I get from skiing.

Snowboarder Sammy Carlson at Mt Hood, USA
Sammy Carlson, hip straight air at Mt Hood © Danny Burrows

And on the subject of contests, what was the motivation behind starting SCI?
It’s part of how I can give back. I try and create the unimaginable. Last year the wallride was 80ft wide, 25ft tall, slightly bowl shaped, with coping across the top. We also try and create a fun atmosphere for the riders; that’s what the sport's all about!

In 2012 you nailed your knee; did this accident make you more cautious in your approach?
It made me realise what’s important and made me more aware. I got caught sleeping that night. I went too big trying to create more airtime for a triple. My injury could have been worse but I knew I wasn’t done yet and tried to be patient and get strong.

You came back on form and won Real Ski Backcountry the following year – is backcountry the real proving ground of a rider's mettle?
Absolutely, It’s the natural progression. Real Ski is where it’s at!

Snowboarder Sammy Carlson at Mt Hood, USA
Sammy Carlson going big © Danny Burrows

You killed it at this year's Snowboarder Magazine Superpark in Hood – what was it like to be the only skier allowed to ride by Pat Bridges?
I’m stoked Pat lets me ride Superpark. Growing up on Hood, I am no stranger to the skier, snowboard beef… I welcome it. I have always been down with boarders. With HCSC 100% snowboarders, I laugh at kids hating who can barely ride. If you’re hating, its all good, let's ride – I am all about riding. If you can't keep up though, sit-down!

I’m stoked Pat knows that and sees the respect I have for boarding. Superpark is always fun and the features are dope! Somebody had to max out that HIP! Big thanks to all the boarders who support what I do!

And finally, rumour has it that you are pretty hot on a snowboard too: how come you chose to ride two planks rather than one?
'Cause it’s what I do! Haha, you might see me riding a board on a pow day though!

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