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Spreading Stoke Like The Plague With Andy Glader

Photo: Ryan Finder.

Andy Glader’s riding style is genuinely expressive and reflective of his rare personality. He’s a bit spacey and silly, but also hard-charging and explosive, fun and entertaining. From his early days riding in South Dakota with Great Bear Valley’s “Bomb Squad” to “working and twerking” in a onesie at Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, OR, Glader is recognized for his humorous optimism and eager energy on and off his snowboard.

The 23-year-old out of Colton, SD said his pilgrimage to Oregon has done wonders for his riding, and it shows. He’s sponsored by Slash by Gigi Snowboards, NOW bindings, and Boardshop 5420 while filming with WYLD Instinct and “whoever else can keep up.” His recent web edits, including one that features him rodeo flipping into a front board 270 out, suggest Glader will be making some serious noise on the snowboard scene for years to come.

But it isn’t just skill level and willingness to send that makes this rider stand out. Glader is a great example of a snowboarder who said to hell with the rest in order to pursue his genuine love of all things shred. He’s an amicable, quirky wisecracker, one who gives off a soul surfer vibes with a no worries, no hurries kind of attitude.

October marked the sixth month of Glader living out of his truck and a hammock in the Mt. Hood National Forest. There, he and a few close friends hold down what they call the “Gypsy Compound,” a mobile campsite-based commune designed to bring riders together with close accessibility to Timberline’s public park.

In between his 11th and 12th consecutive nights shifts, an exhausted Glader picked up his telephone at the Gypsy Compound. Although (or perhaps because) he was a bit “scatterbrained”’ by the graveyard shift and using his daylight hours to skate instead of rest, he shed some lyrically-infused light on his nomadic-gypsy quest.

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You grew up riding in South Dakota?

I rode at Great Bear Valley. It was icy, but it was great. It was your typical Midwest hill I guess. I rode with my best friends and we called ourselves the “Bomb Squad.” The mountain didn’t allow inverts there when I was growing up, because it was against the insurance policy. So as soon as we were able to [do flips], that was the number one thing we wanted to do – you know, because it could get us in trouble.

At the time, if Great Bear’s ski patrol caught someone throwing a flip they would mark their ticket with an “X” and give the offender a warning. Getting caught doing a second invert would lead to the suspension of that person’s riding privileges. Having already had our tickets marked with a X’s from earlier in the day, we’d all make a point to throw as many flips on the last run down and rush to the parking lot before ski patrol could pull our passes.

How did you make the move from South Dakota to the PNW?

In 2008, at 17, I moved to St. Cloud, MN with Mikey Roy Roy for college, rope tows, and rails. The Youth Shelter Supply and Bald E-Gal shredders were on point. I was a sketchy circus freak that got hurt often, but I had oodles of fun! While filming with Jon Otte in March of 2011, I tore my ACL and medial meniscus. Two months after surgery, I journeyed to Bristol Bay, AK for my second summer of commercial salmon fishing on a half-century-old wooden boat as the only deckhand. My Captain was a partier. I saved his life and experienced my share of perspective enhancers. He gave me false promises of later pay, so I left and went on my way.

Wiser and grateful to be alive, I pulled out of my final year of school and thus entered my “Radical Sabbatical.” I found myself working 88 hours a week. I’d have a week on, week off of roughnecking on an oil-drilling rig in North Dakota. It was badass, and I had a blast, but I craved more snowboarding. Randy Kelliher inspired me to head west; Cole Linzmeyer had shown me the way. I packed my truck, but soon after it broke down, so I sent it without.

On April 28th, 2013, armed with my snowboard, fire retardant coveralls, and a spring lift pass, I wandered to Mt. Hood. I would sleep in my hammock in the woods and fly back and forth from work, begging my supervisors to lay me off so I could pursue my passion. I overshot a jump, sprained my ankle, and they approved! New friends joined in on the adventure and we started our first Gypsy Compound. It was rad.

That October, on Halloween, I ventured to Tahoe with Paden Little and shredded my face off. I relocated some ribs and discovered the joys of snowmaking while skitching behind snowmobiles and playing God of snow at Homewood all winter.

You live out of your truck?

I hope to have it pimped out by the start of this winter. Summer is tent-season. As the story goes, in April, I said toodles to Tahoe, and hauled gypsy-ass back to the homies on [Mt.] Hood. The reunion was already in full effect. Hood dumped nightly and our circumstances helped us wake up to seize the pow before the greedy ones. When the snow melted, we moved into the woods. Our spot served as a base-camp for fellas from all over to connect with nature, pop a tent and play on Mt. Hood’s summer slush. We’ve had at least 40 different people have come and stay in the Gypsy Compound, some of them staying for months at a time. It’s nice because otherwise it wouldn’t be affordable to come out and shred.

You told me you “work and twerk” at Timberline. What does that mean?

It’s awesome, and it sure beats hiking. I work from 10 pm to 6 am as the “Night Monument,” which is code for “graveyard janitor.” We are currently hiring, apply online! Every night I work, I get a lift ticket and $9.75 per hour to get uberstoked at 6420 feet, lift chairs, clean the kitchen pretty, and disinfect the crap out of the bathrooms. When the sun comes up, I powernap at camp before waking up to screams of stoke and — BAM! I’m fast-lapping the Palmer [chairlift], slush slashing with my co-janitors and gypsies. We’re out there dodging rocks, cocks, and ski racers in super suits.

What are your upcoming plans for this winter?

Find a roof to nap under in Washington and shred the ever-living day and nightlights out of Snoqualmie, Stevens Pass and Mission Ridge. I also intend to embark on a gypsy journey throughout Washington, Montana, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Colorado, California, Oregon and also British Columbia by plane, train, truck, WYLD [Instinct] whip, Craigslist, and snowshoes in search of snow, metal, and absurd air. Because my car recently crapped out, my first move will be to return to the oilfield in North Dakota to earn a modest travel budget and vehicle before getting laid off and snow questing the globe. I’m trying to spread stoke like the plague.

What keeps you motivated?

Exploration. Carving out into the unknown, ripping between trees I haven’t, floating fresh lines, making an ice patch sing, lacing tricks uniquely and in new locations. When one learns to train their mind, the possibilities of places you can go and things you can do become infinite. Snowboarding has always been there to humble and teach me to be thankful. I strive for each new day to be the happiest of my life, and that is why I keep snowboarding. Get yours!

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