Matt Hightower is an old-school, skateboard-inspired snowskater living in Reno, Nevada. He’s 37 years old and has been snowskating for 3 seasons. He’s a Minus 7 team rider. He was 2011′s Minus 7 Melee Skater Cross champion, and he placed 2nd in that year’s Melee’s Slopestyle contest. He was the muscle behind putting the park together for the 2012 Minus 7 Melee. He was recently featured in the snowskate film Livin’ the Dream and on the cover of Snowskater Zine 3.
What is your history with snowskating?
My history with skating started when I was 11. I started snowboarding when I was 12. My first experience snowskating was when I took the trucks off my Jeff Grosso and turned it around backwards. I found out my skate worked great on pine needles also. My first experience on a real snowskate happened a few years ago; I was working with Pat Splat and Matt Starr and they were like, “Yo, come shred the snowskate!” I must admit, I was a true skeptic. So, they bought me a ticket, put a skate under me, and took me to the top of Sky Chair at Heavenly. A couple of runs later, we were keepin pace.
You could be the CRAZIEST snowskater I’ve ever ridden with. You are always the first to suggest some sort of insane stunt! How do you do it?! Any suggestions on how to conquer the fear of gnarliness for scaredy cats like me?
When I ride, it’s a true expression of how I feel inside – gnarly, carvey, marley. Sometimes, a good slam feeds the fire. As for fear, it is something to harness. Confidence comes from challenging our fears.
You have a pretty tight crew of Reno snowskaters. Beau, Pat, and Jamey are awesome skaters in their own regards. Do you think you guys motivate each other to go bigger? How have Beau, Pat, and Jamey influenced your style?
My crew shreds. I think we all motivate each other with our different styles. Our sessions this year have been so progressive. Boozer’s got his big air. Jamey’s got mad speed. And, Pat is super steezy.
I know you love your Minus 7s, but I also know you like to go mad scientist style and create some rad top decks of your own. What do you consider the best combination of top deck and ski so far?
Wow this is hard to answer. I feel the need to find my flavor. It’s like ice cream. We all love ice cream and have our favorites. We must all take our licks to see what we like. I think all snowskates rule. They each have their own quality. It’s more personal preference.
I saw your parts in Livin’ the Dream! Was that your first snowskate movie part? How did it feel to get a part in a snowskate movie?
Yes this is the first time, besides a few cameo bails in The Awakening. And it feels awesome, but I haven’t even seen it yet… I’m sure it will feel better once I see it.
What do you think is the futureof snowskating?
In the future, snowskating will become mainstream. The young talent will take it there.
What is your Snowskate Confession?
Last year, I was late to the Kirkwood Banked Slalom Competition, and they wouldn’t let me enter. So, I took Chair 10 to the top and got caught by ski patrol. They told me snowskates aren’t allowed on that chair. I said that I had a ticket just like everyone else who got to ride Chair 10. They let me take the run but said they were going to follow and laugh at me as I ate shit all the way down. I said, “Oh yeah?? Watch this!” and dropped the bump line on the wall. I took the insult by patrol as fuel for the fire and spanked it to the bottom. I looked back and patrol was dusted. I waited for them to catch up and asked, “How was that?” Patrol acknowledged that I did it better than most snowboarders but said that snowskates are still not allowed up 10. Then a manager ran up all furious and grabbed me. He yelled at me for going up the chair in front of the whole contest crew! It was embarrassing on the one hand, but also rad that I was able to show the ski patrol what snowskates can do!
I want to thank a few people starting with Minus 7. Kurt and Jill are the bomb. My crew 431. James, Pat, and Boozy. Also, Pat Bonser for back country adventures and taking me to new limits. Pat Splatt and Matt Starr for believing in a skeptic and starting the dream.
To all my fellow snaters: hope to shred with you soon.
P.S. Kendra rips.