Home News and Features Features Freedom to Fly – An Interview with Snowboarder Jeff DeForge of Adamant

Freedom to Fly – An Interview with Snowboarder Jeff DeForge of Adamant

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by Carla Occaso

The Bridge: Where are you from? What was it like?

Photo by Ashley Rosemeyer
Photo by Ashley Rosemeyer

DeForge: I grew up Adamant, one of the smallest towns imaginable. It’s in the town of Calais, which is located just north of Montpelier. Having grown up in such a small place has made traveling to new cities and mountains beyond exciting. I’m always amazed by the different cultures and lifestyles our country has to offer.

The Bridge: What was your childhood like?

DeForge: I played organized hockey growing up, and winters always provided cold temperatures and good snow for the most part. My siblings and I loved the snow and we would spend hours on end playing outside regardless of the weather. During the summer I would swim, hike, read books, bike, camp and go exploring with the homies.

The Bridge: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

DeForge: I always had an interest in being a marine biologist as a kid, and also wanted to be a professional hockey player. I believe I was 14 or 15 years old when I started to realize that snowboarding was the path I would choose to pursue.

The Bridge: When did you first snowboard?

DeForge: It was around third or fourth grade when I got a hard plastic snowboard from the local mall. After a few years of backyard boarding, I was ready to leave the plastic board at home for a real board with real edges and headed for the mountains. Because I was good at ice skating, I had some basic idea of edge control, but boards and skates are not all that similar and it took me many years to master even just turning.

The Bridge: What did you think of it?

Jeff DeForge
Jeff DeForge

DeForge: At first snowboarding was exciting, difficult, independent, and incredibly thrilling. I had never really quite experienced something as freeing. For the first six years of riding, most of my time was consumed with playing hockey as well as other team sports, so I was only able to go to the mountains a few times every winter. I guess for me, the independence of riding was the most appealing aspect. I fell in love with the freedom of riding without coaches or teammates or anyone telling me what to do, and I really felt like my snowboard would be able to take me anywhere in the world. For these reasons I am still completely obsessed with snowboarding.

The Bridge: How long have you been snowboarding?

DeForge: This will be my 14th season snowboarding, I started riding on Burke Mountain just outside of Lyndon, Vermont in fourth grade during the winter of 2000, with fellow Calais residents Matt Gale-Pyka and his father, Marek. I snowboard because it’s personally rewarding, regardless of points or scores. I spend my life chasing snow because it’s what makes me happy. Also, I get really restless if I stay in one place for too long, so being able to travel and find different means of seasonal employment is ideal for me.

The Bridge: Tell us about the sponsorships … how did it start? How did it progress? Who are your sponsors now?

DeForge: The first sponsor I had was the local shop in Waitsfield, now known as Infinite Boardroom. The shop manager, Travis Kerr, has been my biggest supporter and he’s been helping me out with other sponsors, traveling, competing, and just having fun.

Currently my other sponsors are CandyGrind, Sugarbush Parks, and StepChild snowboards.

The Bridge: What are your favorite (snowboard) brands?

DeForge: I’m a big fan of the product, image and brand direction of both CandyGrind and StepChild. Most snowboard companies are cool because they let riders be individual and creative, instead of trying to force everyone to be the same. Everyone brings something different to the table, whether it’s riders or companies, and that’s what keeps our industry so interesting.

The Bridge: What about your parents? Did they contribute to your interests? Did they and do they support you? Encourage you?

DeForge: My parents bought my first snowboard and helped me out with some of my first season passes, and for a while snowboarding was just a normal thing I would do a couple times a year. But as riding started to take over, there was a rough period where my parents weren’t stoked on snowboarding because I had quit all the team sports they had invested time and money into, and they really missed being so involved with my life. Also I started caring a lot less about school, and even ended up graduating a year early so that I could pursue my dreams.

At the time my parents weren’t very supportive of graduating early, I guess most people envision their kids going to college, getting a good job, and making lots of money. After a while though, they came to understand why I chose this path and now they are completely supportive of what I do. They stay pretty updated on all the things I’ve been getting into.

The Bridge: What would you say to younger kids who look up to you? What advice do you have?

DeForge: If there is anyone who looks up to me, I would tell them to find something they love, work hard to be able to do the things you are passionate about, travel as much as possible, and be open to new opportunities. Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t waste your life wishing or hoping things were different. There is no age limit to happiness — you just have to get out there and find it.

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