Snowboarder Danny Davis knows how to have a good time. As snowboarding has grown more and more serious, Davis is doing his part to preserve the sport’s fun-loving spirit, whether that’s through acting in skits for his recent Peace Park video or hosting his annual music festival, the Frendly Gathering. Of course, none of that gets in the way of Davis’s next-level riding. Skits aside, Peace Park was an example of some of the most progressive and creative snowboarding being done today. And his style on a board is without compare. While others were spinning maneuvers with ever higher rotations, Davis punched his ticket to the 2014 Olympics with the help of a switch method air, a relatively simple trick that in Davis’s hands is elevated into an art form.
As a guy who rips on the mountain and knows how to have fun off of it, Davis is pretty much the perfect person to have on a snow trip with you. So we caught up with Davis, who spends more than 250 days a year away from home, to find out what it takes to make a trip to the mountains truly awesome. From what to pack to where to go, follow Davis’s tips the next time you go snowboarding and you won’t be disappointed.
What are the biggest factors in planning a trip?
I think the most important things to consider is how winter is hitting and where. Going on a snow vacation, you want fresh snow! It makes things more beautiful and really makes the trip feel special. Also, budget is always something to keep in mind. You can do some amazing snow trips cheaply and still go to some really unique places.
Is it better to explore someplace new or return to a place you have experience with?
I’m an advocate for new places and exploring new mountains and towns. There are definitely trips I always go on, because I have it so dialed. Some places have a great resort, amazing coffee shops, and food that I really look forward to, but I really like exploring the world and new places for sure.
Aside from the obvious equipment, is there anything that is a must-have when you’re packing for a trip?
Socks! I’m always short on socks somehow. I also always roll with a speaker for playing music, dominoes, my Martin guitar, computer, and really durable luggage. Burton kills it at luggage. Nothing is worse than having the wheels fall off your board bag, the zippers bust, or the seams rip where your gear is able to fall out.
Do you pack heavy or light?
For me, I am usually spending a long time away from home. A board bag and a backpack don’t usually cut it. But I really wish I could pack lighter, because it is a hassle to travel with a lot of gear. I roll with a board bag, a duffle with wheels, and a backpack.
How do you deal when people’s skill levels vary?
Well, you know what they say, “No friends on a powder day!” Just kidding, riding with friends is the best way to make it a good trip. If you feel obligated to ride with someone who can’t ride the runs and terrain you want to, it can kind of ruin the trip. Of course, teaching your friends and getting them to push their skill levels is always good too, but no one wants a trip to the hospital, so it’s a fine line. Although my dad is not as skilled as I am, we still have a lot of fun riding the mountain.
Cameras have become so prevalent on the mountain. Do you think it’s necessary to film every single run?
I don’t think you’ve gotta film everything, but it is so fun at the end of the day to have some footage to look at. I think if someone is going to blast a turn, or hit some jumps or rails, it’s always good to capture some of that. Also, that’s how you get better. Watching yourself ride and critiquing your riding is always fun and productive. I use the Sony Action Cam. It’s easy to have in your pocket, and just bust it out when something worth capturing is going down. Also, it’s nice because it mounts well to the goggle strap and doesn’t sit on top of your head like some of the others. That way you don’t look like a Teletubby.
Do you think it’s better to ride first chair to last chair or to pace yourself during the trip?
It’s tough to ride all day, 9-4. It’s best early, and especially on powder days, being the first to the pow is key. But riding later in the day, the lines tend to be better at the resorts. I think going up early on a couple days is good, but also leaving days to have a chill morning and really enjoy being in the mountains is good too.
What is your go-to aprés ski drink?
Well, being at altitude, nothing tastes better than a glass of water after a bunch of riding. Hydration is key. If I’m at a contest, I’ll have a Pepsi or a Mountain Dew after riding, but if I’m on vacation or not competing that week, it’s nice to have a brew after a long day on the slopes.
Are there any aprés ski faux pas?
It’s après! You just had a great day of surfing the snow, do whatever you want!
What’s the right balance between going out at night and being ready to ride in the morning?
This is tricky, especially because beverages can affect you differently at altitude. You definitely don’t want to be out late if it’s dumping that night and there is going to be a bunch of good snow to ride the next day. But, like I mentioned before, I think having a few early mornings and then also having some days to enjoy the town and enjoy being on vacation is key. There are a lot of cool, snowy, small town bars in the world.
Any other tips?
With any trip, when you can, try to leave the emails and worries at home and really enjoy traveling! You deserve it!