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Contest (Vi)King

Through snowboarding, "real" or not, KP has the means to travel the world, enter contests and meet people; and he has the skills to make it all stick. Matt Murray/Oakley

It has to be hard to be a pro snowboarder and not be able to do what you love as consistently as you'd like to. At his own contest, Terje said he hadn't ridden since his last contest. After this contest, Kevin Pearce is flying to Tahoe for the Vans Cup. It's a non-stop circus, but most of them wouldn't trade it for anything. Except for some fine Norwegian ladies...maybe.

Kevin Pearce is a super chill, down to Earth, kind dude with an amazing skill set on the shred stick. The best part is, he's only 20, not burnt out, and he's just going to get better. We caught up with him at the TAC closing dinner after he had won most everything there was to win in Norway and moved into the lead on the TTR World Tour.

EXPN.com: Some people may have you pinned as a contest kid. Do you ever get to go real snowboarding?
Kevin Pearce: Nope. Never. Not this year. Just kidding. Yeah, of course. I get to go a little, here and there. We just got back from a week of waist deep powder in Japan. I was also in Austria this year riding powder with Gigi and Danny (Davis). I was there on another powder trip at the beginning of the year, too.

EXPN: What is it about this contest, particularly, that you like?
KP: I like that, aside from the 4-hour dinners, it's mellow. It's pretty relaxed, in the fact that it's kind of just a week of riding. Everyone takes the whole week to ride the quarterpipe and have fun with it, which is pretty rare for a quarterpipe. Usually you just show up and hit it. It also just seems that Terje puts out a good vibe, and everyone's excited to be riding with him.

EXPN: So what's up with Terje? What do you think he's done for snowboarding?
KP: He's done everything for snowboarding, and this contest is just one good example of how he's still pushing the sport. Three years ago, when I first showed up to this contest, it wasn't like that. It kind of sucked. It was cold and icy, the quarterpipe sucked and it was in a sh*tty location. I wasn't very happy, but then I came back last year. Seeing Terje do the 9.8-meter air—having him push the level of riding still, when he's 30-whatever—it was one of the best contests ever.

EXPN: Did you feel the format (structured number of runs, extra points for variation) was too rigid this year?
KP: I thought it was good to have the variation score. Usually at quarterpipe contests, you only see one or two tricks. It doesn't show much, you don't get to see who's the best and it's pretty boring. Riders won't do all their tricks because they don't have to. That's how it's been for me in the past, at least. I haven't had to learn new tricks on quarterpipe or do different variations because there hasn't been a reason to. The only thing I didn't like was that the finals were over before they even started. There were five runs, but you just drove up to the top and go. It would have been cooler if it was a jam.

EXPN: McTwist Japan airs were the trick at this contest, eh? What's up with everyone throwing those?
KP: We don't get much time to ride quarterpipe, and especially when you have to go 6 or 7 meters out every time, you have to have your tricks dialed. That's one trick that most of us have. You don't want to mess around trying a trick you don't know if you can land, otherwise you can get hurt pretty easily.

EXPN: What do you like about Norway?
KP: I think the obvious thing is the women, as you see at the bars. They're vultures and come in and attack you. I like Oslo. Everyone here says they hate it, but I think it has a nice vibe to it. I don't like how expensive it is, though. A beer is like $14. You can buy a 30-pack at home for the same price as one beer at the bar.

EXPN: How many beers could you buy with the $25,000 you won here today?
KP: 17.

EXPN: Would you rather be riding quarterpipes here in Norway or riding blue ice at home in Vermont?
KP: I'd rather be riding powder in Tahoe. Powder is my favorite sh*t to ride, but I like riding everything: going to Mammoth to ride the park, backcountry—I haven't ridden a lot of backcountry, but I'm getting into it. I'm going to Alaska in April. I rode my first pillow line in Japan last week. I love riding with my friends. It's fun.

EXPN: Friends, like your Frends friends? Are you guys a frat?
KP: Yeah, definitely. Have you seen our website? We are for sure . It's rad.

Nah, right now it's just a crew, but people are starting to recognize us and it's slowly starting to become something. We're not worried about making it into some huge company. That's not the deal. We just all get along really well.

EXPN: So you'll be popping your collar tonight?
KP: Yeah. I totally should. I don't think I have a collar, though.

EXPN: Do you haze each other?
KP: Just Luke (Mitrani), since he's the youngest.

EXPN: What's a bro gotta do to be inducted as a Frend?
KP: That's a pretty heavy question. There's never been an induction, so I don't think there's anything they can do. Not yet, anyway. No one's been added. There haven't been any new frends. There are a couple guys who we ride with.

EXPN: Satellite frends?
KP: Yeah, satellite frends. Like Mikkel Bang.

EXPN: Where's the next stamp on your passport coming from?
KP: Tahoe for the Vans Cup. It's snowing there. I have a whole week before and after the contest to go real snowboarding.