Peter Kray Shred White & Blue Q&A: Celebrating American shredders from Sea to Shining Sea

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on December 21, 2009 12:23 pm

Peter Kray is a legend of snow and ink.  Currently he is the Editorial Director of Ski Press USA and editor-at-large of the Mountain Gazette.  Kray grew up skiing at Vail with a pass hanging from his neck, courtesy of his pop, a weekend volunteer ski patrol.  Winter Park was his next stop riding aboard the Ski Train. 

The man has seen the mountain from all angles, from tuning skis in Santa Fe to instructing newbies at Jackson Hole.  Kray’s newest invention is the website Shred White & Blue (www.shredwhiteandblue.com), an apparel, action sports environmentalism and action sports americana site, celebrating American shredders from Sea to Shining Sea!

In this Q&A Kray stumps for patriotism, pow, and freeriding.

Q:  Talk to me about your new site Shred, White, & Blue, I’m diggin’ the vibe and you’ve got a super cool logo!

A:  Thank you!  Colin O’Brien, the art director for Mountain Gazette did the logo.  With Shred White & Blue, I really want to celebrate our culture, I don’t think there is enough of that.  Celebrating American board sports culture, this is my tribe.  The statement that hey, I’m an American board sports athlete.  And we are athletes.  We’re athletes for ourselves.

You look at snowboarding, surfing, big mountain skiing, these are as American as blue jeans and rock & roll, and I don’t think we’re celebrating these sports as much.  It’s still an “alternative” sport.  There doesn’t seem to as much blanket awareness of our sport like the NFL.  We don’t have that for our sport.

Q:  I tend to think of all board sports as “skiing.”  I snowboard, I ski, but I just call it all skiing.  Really I’m just trying to figure out a way to shorthand all this.  Instead of “Attention skiers, snowboarders, telemarkers, monoskiers, and snowbladers…”

A:  I prefer “freeriding.”  Two great terms, you’re free and you’re riding, how you decide to make a turn is an expression of yourself.

Q:  I stand corrected.  Attention freeriders!  On that theme of American culture, on your site you have a cool piece about Wagner Custom (pictured right).  I was just in Telluride and rode a chairlift with a guy sportin’ Wagner Custom skis.  I asked him about Wagner, and he lit up!  Big time proselytizing about the greatness of Wagner.

A:  Pete (Wagner) is a super guy.  He’s just one of those somewhat wonky enginner types who loves to rip.  His story is worth lots of copy, too.  There’s certainly that concept of what is truly American made.  “Locavore” — What is a local produce?  What is made specifically for this community?  What kind of reach does it has outside of it?  Like the local pizza place, the local micro brew,  I wanted to celebrate that on the equipment side as well.  Venture snowboards (Silverton), Folsom Custom Skis (Boulder), and even LibTech…

They don’t have the backing, they can’t have their produce on every retail wall in the country, so instead they focus on that niche.   People want something unique to themselves, to put whatever graphics you want on there, that idenifies your own uniqueness.  When we look at a lot of the equipment sales, it goes to pass holders.  Those are the guys buying, and focusing on these core guys, giving them a product that speaks to their region.  Their biggest single payment on anything all year, their skis or snowboard probably cost more than their car.  That’s because they’re that committed.  these brands are selling that.  A lot of guys eat Top Romen a month to be able to afford the right board.

Q:  I was reading about the legendary Tack Strau on your site, American ski hero.  With Mr. Strau’s story, you say, “In order to tell what’s true, I made up a couple things.”

A:  This is really the story of skiing.  I met so many guys who could ski better than I could imagine, absolutely phenomenal skiers, just local legends at places like Jackson Hole.  If you didn’t know them, you’d never know them.

Strau was one of those guys.  One of the only guys to go straight from college to the World Cup like Thomas Vonn.  All these different aspects of this character, how you could be a legend and under the radar. 

The book is done, I’ve got a couple people looking at, I wrote it like a double album, fourth side still needs some work, hoping for some blunt feedback in the near term.

Q:  Only praise here.  Both part 1 & 2 were awesome reads.  So what are the plans with the site?

A:  Doing as much as I can before the tax year is out.  I would like to think as it grows, it could be more open source.  Nick Waggoner of Sweetgrass was one of our first supporters.  To give these guys a forum, if someone wants to write a piece, what does being an American snowboarder mean to you?  A guy in Afghan rockin’ a SWB sticker on his foot locker, that would just tear me up.

Celebrating this idea that we are a fraternity and sorority of riders.

Q:  Awesome!  On that tip, I say thank you Brother Kray!

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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