Todd Richards Has The Answers

Here they are—answers six out of ten of you wanted to know—why Rossi, and why did Todd leave Morrow. A lot of you get other insights from Todd as well, and some of you don’t get a response at all this time, because there were just too many damn questions and Todd is a busy man. But, have no fear! Todd is getting to a whole new slew of questions that’ll be on a second posting of Hotseat Answers. So, if you don’t get an answer this round, check back. Todd rides for Rossignol, Quiksilver, DC, Clive, Nixon, Oakley, RDS, The Familie, and Pro-Tec.

Todd Richards. Photo; Embry Rucker

Q. Hi, Todd. Congrats on the new sponsor and on the baby! A few questions for you. Thanks, man!—Jonny Burns

1. Why Rossignol?

Q. Well, they have been making really good boards for a long time. This was one of the most important things I looked for when finding a new place to call home. Morrow boards were the most responsive boards I had ridden up to this point. I had ridden almost every company’s boards by the time I came to the conclusion that Rossi made really good boards—I mean real good. I was kind of blown away, actually. I’m usually the most anal person I know when it comes to flex and sidecut, and Rossi just worked for me. Graphics and marketing are easy things to deal with, crappy boards are not!

3. When can we expect a TR Rossi pro model?

A. A Limited Edition model will be out in the fall. It was kind of a panic mission so there’s only a 154, but next year there’ll be a 157.

4. Olympics in Salt Lake—yeah or nay?

A. Hmmm, I’d like to go again, but the whole politics thing is a bit annoying. The Olympics being in the States is rad, though. To tell you the truth, I’m more stoked for the X-Games in Aspen, this coming year.

5. Are you gonna kick more butt than an ashtray in 2001/02? A. Hey, I’ll try if you promise to never say kick more butt than an ash tray, ever again.

Q. Hey, I’ve always wondered what it takes and how to get sponsored?—Anonymous

A. Lots of hard work and you probably need to be good.

Q. Why did you leave Morrow?—Tim

A. Leaving Morrow was the hardest decision of my snowboarding career so far. I’d been with them since I started riding snowboards professionally and, as you can probably imagine, it felt like home to me. Morrow’s team the last few years had become like family. Josh, Tyler, Billy, Erik—those guys are like my brothers for real. I stuck with Morrow as long as I did because of the team. A lot of things have changed about Morrow the last couple of years, some for better (I kind of thought we had one of the strongest teams in snowboarding, kind of like the Alien Workshop of the snow industry), some for worse (we became K2’s bitch). I just really got fed up with K2 dangling a carrot in front of us, saying next year looks good we’ll have a bigger budget, etc. Let’s just say there were a lot of empty promises. Not just to me, but the whole team. I’m real bitter about the whole thing, because to this day, I haven’t received a phone call from anyone at Morrow, or K2 for that matter, saying thanks for the last ten years of hard work.

Q. Did you ever get to that stage when you feel that your riding has plateau?—AJ

A. I thought I did about five years ago, then stopped doing pipe contests all the time, and I started progressing again. I’ve been having so much fun snowboarding the last few years. I get real excited to go out early at crappy resorts and just mess around with my friends.

Q. I started getting backside 360s, but I’m struggling to get a grab in. Any tips?—T.

A. Always make sure you have spinning smoothly down with no grab, first. Make sure you’re doing your 360 in one body motion—when you have that down, the grab just becomes an afterthought.

Q. Hey, Todd. How’s it goin’? It seems as though you’ve picked up a lot of new sponsors recently. With all the companies that are out there right now, how to you decide who you want to be identified with?—W.H.

A. First off, the companies I’ll associate myself with need to make good gear. I like to have a lot of input in what I ride and wear. I’m really anal about the boards I ride and the clothes I wear. I also look at the team and see what’s going on there, make sure I’ll get along with the people I’ll be traveling with—the vibe of the company and it’s potential. I like to get onboard and help turn things around, if the company needs it. Things like that are fun for me. I find someone that I can grow with, not get lost in some crowd.

Q. Which do you think is more important, being a well rounded boarder or having great style in a single category?—Warren Haas, Toronto, Ontario A. I like to see good style above anything else. Even if all you do is Cab 5s, if you make ’em look good, all the more power to you.

Q. Beyond just riding, what else have you done either on or off the mountain to take your riding skills to the next level? Also, what factors went into your decision to go with Rossi?—Todd

A. I just try to skate and surf as much as possible. That and just not take myself that seriously. Rossi makes good boards—I mean real good. I was kind of tripping at first. I rode just about every company’s board in the late spring and I was blown away by Rossi. They were the most similar to the Morrow Truth that I designed. I thought that board was the best thing I had ever ridden. Also, the team is so strong—JF, Dion, Crawford, Pavo, Jones—it’s tight. I think that Rossi is about to turn their whole image around so it’s cool to get in and have input on the new direction. The people that work there are cool, too.

Q. I think you are one of the greatest snowboarders ever! But why didn’t you ride for Forum instead of Rossignol?—Ena

A. I love those guys, but I’ll never wear the scarlet letter.

Q. I was just wondering what were some of the hardest things to overcome while trying to become a professional snowboarder, like injuries or just thinking you didn’t have what it takes to be at the level your at now?—K.

A. Your own mind working against you. Bottom line, that’s the hardest thing to overcome. You have to really believe in yourself in this sport. Like when you’re at the top of the pipe in a contest, or about to drop into some ridiculously huge jump, you need to be sure you can do it. If not, you’re gonna eat shit either way.

Q. Did you ever think you would be as good as you are today? Peace.—K.H.

A. I still think I suck, but that’s what keeps me progressing.

Q. Just wondering, I’m 20 and I’m having a really hard time doing super good at this university and super good at snowboarding. When you were my age, I’m sure you knew you had what it takes to be where you are now. I sort of feel in that position. Do you think school will have any effect on my talents, and what did you do when snowboarding and school was a balance.—D.C.

A. I had no idea I was going to be where I am today when I was your age. In fact, I kinda thought it was a just something fun to do. I only went to school for two years, and I had to make a choice—figure out my life or stay in school and just go with the flow. I wasn’t very stoked on school, I was there for my parents. So, I left and just worked at the ski shop at Wachusett Mountain in Massachusetts, for a year. I would do the regional contests and just ride every day. I worked a lot and didn’t have shit for dough, but I was happy, and that’s what I needed then. Sounds like you’re at a crossroads—you can always go back to school if the snowboard thing doesn’t pan out. You’re only 20 once, so do what you think is right and don’t waste time thinking about it too much.

Q. Todd, first off, you rock. I have two questions: How much money do you make a year and how big is your house? Thanks for your time.—Zach

A. Enough and big enough.

Q. Hello, Todd. Nice freestyle parts! You are a rider who has been around in the snowboarding industry and seen it go through all the highs and lows. Now that everybody snowboards, do you think professional riders should think more about the roots of the sport and, maybe, support both manufacturers and event organizers that are in it for the sport and not only the money? And why Rossignol, the ski company? Thanks.—Jói

A. If companies are in business, they’re in it for the money. Otherwise, they would be non-profit organizations. I think the companies are starting to give back to the roots of the sport. A lot of companies sponsor grass roots contests and hook up the young, up-and-coming local kids. Contests are hard, because you need to have a prize purse to get the riders there, and that means dealing with Corporate America. That’s where it gets sticky. And why Rossignol, the ski company? You mean and not Morrow /K2 the ski company? I already answered that above, but to add to it, I need job security. Rossignol is a company that is financially sound and that’s just as important as anything else.

Q. Have you ridden the Alps and what’s your favorite places to ride (freeride and freestyle)?—Ludoboy, Lyon, France

A. Yes, and the snow has always sucked. My favorite place to ride is at home, in Breckenridge.

Q. Todd, what did you do to get your first sponsor in snowboarding?—Andy

A. I did well in some regional contests when I was younger. I had a positive attitude and didn’t hound anyone.