Dusty Henricksen makes wallets to help fund his shot at the Olympics
Mammoth’s Dusty Henricksen dreams of making the U.S. Olympic team, and he’s trying to get there, one wallet at a time.
The 14-year-old Mammoth High School student has been snowboarding since he was two years old, and he’s won national championships every year since he was seven. He’s the defending champion in slopestyle in the USASA (United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association) snowboard youth division. He’s participating in the Revelation Tour this year, which will qualify him for bigger contests that eventually lead to the Olympic Trials (he can’t compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, because he won’t be old enough, so he’s shooting for Beijing in 2022).
All that traveling isn’t cheap, and Henricksen said he started making duct tape wallets as a way to help his family with his competition expenses. “I just started making them for fun, and then a friend of mine said ‘Hey, you could make some money selling these!’” So he came up with a clever packaging idea, which touts his dreams as an Olympic hopeful, and charges $15 a pop for the wallets, which come in all sorts of colors and two different styles (his mom, Jenny, showed off her “mom wallet,” which has more pockets and looks a little more like a clutch—those cost $20).
“A lot of kids come from a wealthier background,” said Henricksen. “We don’t, so I make these.”
Jenny Henricksen said that she, her husband and their other son, 13-year-old Dillon, moved to Mammoth two years ago from their home in Big Bear in order to give their boys a better shot at reaching their goals.
“We moved to Mammoth for better coaching and the schools,” said Jenny, who works as a server at Slocum’s when she’s not busy managing the schedules of two teenage extreme sport junkies. “It’s a busy life, but it’s a good one,” she says. “We’re grateful.”
Henricksen has been training on the Independent Learning Center Elite Snowboard Team at Mammoth High School, which means that he trains Wednesday through Sunday and then hits school on Mondays and Tuesdays “if I need to,” he says.
Students in his program do weekly testing in each subject, and also have to meet with teachers on Wednesdays.
Henricksen scheduled a meeting with The Sheet in the hour of spare time he had between training on the mountain and physical therapy (How many bones has he broken? Seventeen to be exact). His schedule is pretty packed. His first try at sitting down for an interview had to be postponed due to a commitment with the Mammoth Trampoline Club, one of his sponsors. Henricksen makes promotional videos and takes photos for the club, which touts trampoline practice as great preparation for pulling off big tricks on the snow, which is Henricksen’s speciality.
He’s also got eight gear sponsors, including DC and Electric goggles. Oh, and his grandmother, of course. “She got a hip replacement and was super bored, so she started to help me make the wallets,” said Henricksen. “If it wasn’t for grandma we couldn’t have been able to pump as many out.” He estimates he’s made at least a few thousand dollars from selling the wallets, all of which has gone to the cost of competitions and travel. He’s also the recipient of two scholarships from the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation (his brother, Dillon, also received two scholarships this year).
He’s experimented with everything from bicycle tubes to a motorcycle seat that he snagged from his dad’s workshop, but most of his wallets are made with the classic duct or Gorilla Tape, which he buys from Mammoth’s DoIt Center. He says it helps that there’s been a boom in fun patterns of tape, anything from camouflage to unicorns and rainbows, so he’s got styles that appeal to everyone.
Dusty’s wallets are available in Mammoth at Stellar Brew, Blazing Shears, Salon 437, and Footloose Sports. Check out Dusty’s tricks on his Instagram @dusty_henricksen.