Mammoth local, Trevor Jacob, will represent the US at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia after placing first in a World Cup snowboardcross event in Andorra last Saturday.
Before focusing on snowboardcross last season, Trevor, 20, competed in halfpipe and slopestyle and filmed with the hit series Nitro Circus.
Originally from Malibu, Trevor moved to Mammoth with his family in 2002 at the age of 9 and calls Mammoth home. The Sheet sat down with Trevor this week.
Sheet: What was it like growing up in Mammoth?
Jacob: I never really looked at it a certain way until I moved away. I just grew up in this mountain wonderland where you can go and do whatever you want— go outside and go biking, or skateboarding, or fishing, or snowboarding, or whatever. And I did homeschool so I was super flexible to literally go out and do whatever I wanted. It was just a great place to grow up.
Sheet: When did you start snowboarding?
Jacob: When I was three years old. I skied for half a season. My parents were snowboarding trying to teach me how to ski and they were like, “Wait a minute, this doesn’t make sense.” And they let me off the leash and I went straight into a ski pole. And so I said, ‘I want to do what you guys do,’ so they got me a snowboard and I never went back.
Sheet: Why the switch from halfpipe to boardercross?
Jacob: I competed in half pipe and I was doing better than ever. But when I was 18, two years ago, I was just burned out on it. I was over it. I kept getting better but I wasn’t having fun. I was just in it for the wrong reasons and I saw that and I just quit. I pretty much stopped snowboarding. That’s when I started doing Nitro Circus [Ed. note: Nitro Circus is a television show/traveling extreme sport circus featuring athletes doing fairly insane stunts that must cost a ton of money to insure] and that took over. But I started missing snowboarding and realizing I truly love it. And its not for the money or sponsors or any of that stuff because that was driving me into the ground in halfpipe. Just one day I was, like, I’m going to try boardercross. I’ve always said I wanted to. I want to see how I compare to these guys and I’m going to go for it.
Sheet: So you started training for snowboardcross in 2012?
Jacob: Yeah. The US Snowboarding team let me come to New Zealand with them in September. So I showed up
and everyone was kinda vibing me. I was on a freestyle snowboard and they set up the time trials, and I won. And then I did it again the next day. And I thought, maybe I do have chance. So I kept going to the camps.
Sheet: When you made the switch to boardercross, were you thinking about the Olympics?
Jacob: Yeah, totally. I used to want to go to the Olympics for halfpipe but I was never good enough. I knew that. And then boardercross came into my mind two years ago and it was perfect time to see I can do this. Because you’re not going to wing it the season of, there’s a season beforehand to get ready and see if you can do it.
Trevor trained with the US team and qualified for the World Cup Series last year, which gave him the spot to compete this year. He was snowboardcross US National Champion in 2013 but before Saturday’s race, he had never finished higher than seventh in a World Cup.
Sheet: What was different about Saturday’s race compared to your previous World Cup Races?
Jacob: Honestly, that whole week was so emotional for me. It all came down to the point that I’m in Andorra, there’s two more World Cups left and I just sat back and realized that the last two years of my life I’ve worked super hard to get here and it comes down to these last two days. Whether I go or not, this is crazy, I’ve never worked for something this hard. Everything just kinda lined up and I felt super focused. And my friend Chelone Miller, who passed away last year, I was just thinking of him and I was just thinking ‘okay dude, we’re here together. Let’s see if we got this!’[Chelone Miller was a US teammate and also in pursuit of Olympic dreams in the snowboardcross before he died following a seizure last spring in Mammoth. In Andorra, Trevor remembered a race where Chelone went from last to first in one turn by choosing a certain line.]
Right when I got to Andorra I saw a corner where that line would work. And I thought of Chelone and thought if I’m in last and I’m coming to this corner, I’m going to go for that line. And that’s the line that ended up making me win.
Sheet: When did it hit you that you had qualified for the Olympics?
Jacob: I didn’t know where I stood compared to everyone else, I just wanted to ride the best as I could and it ended me up in first place. I’m so excited. I got to the bottom and I couldn’t even comprehend that I had even won. Everyone was cheering and yelling and it felt like a dream and it still kinda does.
Sheet: What is it about the Olympics that is different from other competitions?
Jacob: I’m really not so sure what’s special about the Olympics. Growing up I was never really impressed by the Olympics. I never thought it was special for some reason. And that was just my personal opinion. But I was young and dumb. Now that I’ve grown up and seen what competition as a whole, and I can see what the Olympics is, it’s the whole entire world competing against each other. And I just think that’s the top of the top and that’s just super cool.
Sheet: Is there a shift in your mindset going from the freedom of things like Nitro Circus to the Olympics?
Jacob: Yeah, I think that’s what’s so fun to me. I kinda take the whole Nitro Circus, goofball mindset to this. Everyone in boardercross is so serious and they come from this ski racing background. It’s crazy how everyone gets involved with their snowboards and the wax and the snow. I just let the wax guy do his thing and go snowboarding and goof off and try and have as much fun as I can. Like, see how sketchy we can get and it’s been a lot of fun.
Sheet: You have a reputation of being a risk taker through your work with Nitro Circus. How does that help with snowboardcross?
Jacob: I don’t know if that helps or not. Boardercross is just, like, raw and nutty and anything is possible. It’s live action and you’re not there by yourself, you’re there with six other people and everyone could easily go piledriving into some fence and that’s that. You can explore the unknown and you don’t know what’s going to happen.
Sheet: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Jacob: The craziest thing I’ve ever done, is I skateboarded from New York to Los Angeles train hopping, hitchhiking and skateboarding and did not pay for a ride. That took a month and we ran into some pretty crazy things. Other than that, at Travis Pastrana’s house I went pretty high on a dirt bike and that was an exciting one.
Sheet: We heard you snowmobiled up and over the Sherwins?
Jacob: Yeah, I think I’ve done it twice. In the springtime on pretty grabby snow, I went straight up, all the way to the top and then jumped off the cornice and rode all the way down. And you get going fast coming down.
Sheet: Do you have plans to film with Nitro Circus again?
Jacob: Yeah, I’m actually driving out to Utah to meet up with them tomorrow. As of now, I’m not planning on doing anything stupid. People say, you know, conserve yourself. But I just want to live day to day. What the future brings is the future. Live in the now.
Sheet: You’re on the Mammoth Unbound Team. How have they supported you getting to the Olympics?
Jacob: Mammoth has been the only one who has backed me the whole entire time. Thankful to them, right before I left for the World Cup, the Unbound crew built me a whole run full of boardercross stuff. I just raced my friends and my brother the whole week. I built this pull start out of my mom’s old Pilates machine. If I didn’t have that, who knows if I would have won in Andorra. Thank you to Mammoth that they prepared me right and have had my back all the time.
Sheet: What about your plans after the Olympics?
Jacob: I’m going to meet back up with Nitro Circus and film for their show and hang out with those guys. They are a lot of fun. Other than that, I just want to keep coming up with other goals to pursue. But something like the Olympics comes up and all my energy is going into this.