Now back in the states, Bill’s enjoying a brief rest at his home in Campton, N.H. before heading to the U.S. Open next week. How’s he spending his downtime? At Loon, of course.
We caught up with Bill at the top of the Gondola today and talked about pow days in Sochi, front-flipping cornices, and his favorite trail at Loon. Sadly, he didn’t wear his Team USA sweater. Read on.
Loon Mountain: What’s it like now that Sochi is over?
It’s like you can take a huge deep breath – I think it’s like that for all the athletes, too. That was the focal point for the last couple years, going to qualifiers and getting everybody in the right position to actually compete in the Olympics. And then when it’s all done and you get off that last Russian plane and out of there, you kind of take a deep breath. Nothing was really scary, but you hear so many people talk about Russian airliners and stuff. But you get home and you’re like ‘Oh, what’s next?’
The US open is next week, but I’ve never had two weeks off just to chill, you know? I was home for two days before I went to Sochi this winter. Being home is nice. You actually get to go snowboarding a little bit. Last week we said hey, let’s go to Loon and check it out. I’m happy to be here.
So you didn’t get too many turns in at Sochi?
We traveled for two days straight it seemed like, and when we got in it was foggy. I’d never even seen a picture of the place. You get up there and you couldn’t see anything but your hotel room. I woke up in the morning and it just opened up to the most beautiful mountains you’ve ever seen in your life. Holy cow, this was amazing.
We hopped on a lift – Sage [Kotsenburg], Chas [Guldemond], myself, and some of the freeski guys like Bobby Brown and Gus [Kenworthy]. Probably 10 of us. They wouldn’t let us on the gondola but we took a bunch of lifts and got to the top and every run was a powder run where you barely cross tracks. We just kept riding it all day. I had the fish mounted up – I’ve been too lazy to switch boards – and it was effortless. I rode a whole day of thigh-high powder. The whole time you’re like ‘Am I alive right now?’ This is all kinds of uncharted stuff – little slides going off by you. It was pretty insane. If somebody wanted to shoot a video part there, if they had one week, they could just go there and probably shoot their whole part.
And all of this right before the massive contest that is the Olympics.
Unbelievable. We’re going up and watching them spray down the Super G and Downhill run with water so that it will freeze up the steep section. We’re like wow, what are they doing? We kinda figured it out.
Then we kept going and kept going and dropped into a cornice. I’m definitely an East Coast rider because I went off it and stomped it. Being an East Coast rider I just kicked forward like a front flip, not on purpose at all, stomped it and rode away. The guys were pretty stoked on that, but I stayed away from that and just rode pow after that. No need to be jumping off things. Leave that to you young guys.
You mentioned you were out there with Chas. What was it like knowing from Chas for so long and then being out at the Olympics with him? It must have been a slice of home.
It was cool. You guys all know Chas. He’s just a great guy. It was fun to be with him because he came to my program [When Bill was the Snowboard Program Director at Waterville Valley Academy] when he was 12. It’s just really fun to be with him. And Sage and I are 30 years apart but we’re really similar, too. Chas is pretty neat and Sage and I are kinda messy but we all hang out together and watch stupid movies and stuff. Chas had us watching ‘The Fighter’ and Sage and I watched ‘Fight Club.’ All you do is kind of hang out with each other in these situations, because there’s really nothing else to do. And try to stay awake. I’d want to take a nap and Sage would say, ‘Ok, I’ll give you 15 minutes.’ Sure enough, in 15 minutes he’d be like ‘Bill, Bill!’ and I’d be like ‘Ugh. Five more minutes.’ Sometimes he’d give me five more minutes, but then I got on a time schedule. Once you fall asleep during the day there, you might as well call it quits.
Why did you want to come to Loon today?
Being from here, coming to Loon is pretty fun. I have a lot of friends that ride here. They have a great park…maybe they come for the bar? I’m not sure. The Bunyan Room is rad – my buddy Charlie runs the Bunyan Room. So I wanted to come see some of my friends. I don’t get to see them, traveling so much. There’s a pretty nice vibe here of just hangin’. It’s fun to be here.
What’s your favorite spot at Loon? When you think of Loon, what do you remember?
The train. No, the train’s kind of cool when you pull in. My favorite spot? I don’t know the trails really well. What’s the trail over there that’s pretty steep, you go down here and then go up a lift?
I like North Peak. It’s pretty fun over there, sometimes when they’re blowing snow, too. I’m not a park guy, although I do sit in one and coach it all the time. I like to just go out and do turns. It’s pretty fun. It’s got a different feel with the windy trails and stuff. I don’t know if it’s a New England thing, but out West a lot of the trails are wide and you just rip down them. You’ve got to pay a little more attention here.
How many times have you been to Last Call?
Last Call I’ve been to I’d say maybe 10 times and it’s always pretty hilarious to watch. There’s really good riding that goes down there, some of the best in the world come here. The list goes on of people that have won it that came over from the U.S. Open back when it was at Stratton. Everybody has a pretty good time, a real good time.