Words: Eliel Hindert
It's hard to trip Nick McNutt up. If you ask him to share one thing he loves about himself, he won't get hung up on his own ego, what he thinks you want to hear, or how awkward the question is. His response, "I'm happy."
Pure, plain, and simple. He's a rare breed of pro skier who didn't try to become one. One who's found what he wants in life, and has the real world skill-set to make his dream a reality on his own terms.
He's one of those guys you'll see 100 times out in the mountains, but only in passing. Constantly hustling to the next spot, or maybe buzzing past and landing switch off that cliff you'd been contemplating for the last 30 seconds.
Luckily for us, he's had a camera strapped to his head all winter. Better yet, his red light has been on throughout a banner season filming for Sweetgrass Productions, Poor Boyz, and an entry in TGR's $100,000 Co-Lab contest. A submission that, after watching this most recent sampling, we are pretty excited to see.
POWDER: McNutt. One hell of a name. Any stories behind it?
Nick McNutt: I don’t really know where it came from. Some people don’t really believe it's my real name, that I’m making it up or something. Apparently there is a whole island of McNutts somewhere on the East Coast. Nova Scotia or something.
Last summer I came to visit and we were standing in a house you built. What’s your current profession and how did you get started?
A carpenter I guess. I started because my dad was a contractor, so I would help him once in awhile. Putting in nails and screws when I was a little kid, learning how to use power tools. I was always was pretty into it, and just think it’s really cool to be able to build whatever you need.
You had your first real adventure to the U.S. this past season. How was the trip?
Yeah, first trip going down and dirty into America. I didn’t know you could buy brass knuckles with a 10-inch blade sticking out of them and spikes sticking out of each knuckle, for like $11, across the street from a gas station, and next to the plastic pearl necklaces and fur purses.
What's your dream scenario? Would you want to explore more here around Whistler or get out into the world and check out everything?
If someone said, "here is $10,000, now go spend it on whatever you want.” It would definitely go straight toward snowmobiling in B.C. Even in just this [Sea-to-Sky] corridor, you can find a lifetime supply of amazing terrain. I do want to go to Alaska, but that almost feels like it's just upper B.C.
More than a couple people have been saying that the way you ski is unique to say the least. Front, back, sideways, all over the butter spectrum. What's influenced you and made this type of skiing possible?
A full rocker setup, as everyone knows, you can't ride powder without that. That's not called powder skiing anymore, that's called being a 'Gordon.' Watching all those CASG guys [Max Hill, Cole Drexler] do shuffles in the park. With side-to-side rocker, it kind of translates those weird little jibby tricks to suddenly become more and more achievable in powder. It's all doable, anything you can think of on any terrain.
Most people get their first big break through sponsors supporting films they're in that season. What are your thoughts on how you've gotten your opportunities despite little to no support?
I don't know. I guess just word of mouth and spinning laps with people who are in the industry around me. Slowly through getting to know guys around town and bumping into them on the hill. Also just going out and doing 180s all the time. Pretty much doing 180s got me here. In a nutshell, just do a shitload of 180s.
This past season you spent the majority filming for the TGR Co-Lab contest. What do you think about the recent growth of video contests?
I think it's sweet. It's shows more of a story than just, on this day, with 40 other people, I hit this course, and this is the line I chose on the course. The light was foggy for everybody. Instead it can be more of—it's cliché, but more like an art form. With [ESPN] Real Ski, it's kind of the pinnacle of what I do on my skis. If there was ever an Olympics for what I do with my four months off a year, that's what it is.
How do you think your upbringing of working for everything you got, affected asking for sponsorships and emailing companies for handouts?
I was just more focused on going skiing. I've never been much for, like you said, emailing random people and being like, "Hey, I'm awesome and give me a bunch of stuff please. Cause otherwise you'll regret it." I never really felt like I was deserving of being a sponsored ski athlete. I didn't want to try and ask for a bunch of free shit if I could still be better.