Tucker Andrews is one of the youngest veterans in snowboarding. When you meet him for the first time you might think he’s got two kids and owns a bass boat. At just 26-years-old, it seems he’s been around forever. And he has, in a way, landing his first sponsorship from Lib Tech a decade ago. That, along with his burly frame and ability to grow a full beard since his teens has earned him the nickname Tucker “Mandrews,” and he doesn’t mind.
Spending time with Tucker is an ongoing comedy routine—he’ll have you laughing within the first five minutes if you’re not deeply confused by a rabbit hole of inside jokes. Tucker thinks snowboarding is funny—as he’ll say, “It’s just a bunch of coordinated humans bouncing down mountains tied to sticks.”
Hailing from Crested Butte, CO, Tucker understands that if you take snowboarding too seriously, it could ruin the good times. He supports himself with odd jobs—painting, hanging Christmas lights, construction, landscaping, tuning snowboards—and continues to take advantage of every opportunity thrown his way, from Colorado resort sessions to Tahoe backcountry missions near his current home of Truckee, CA. Whether dissecting a line, dusting off rail tricks from high school or pointing into a booter, Tuck’s grown into one of snowboarding’s most versatile all-terrain vehicles. His fun-first mentality means he’s riding it all whenever he can, and he’ll continue to contribute positive vibrations to the snowboard community whenever he straps in.
The Snowboarder’s Journal: You don’t have the typical style of a Colorado snowboarder. How did you avoid the park scene?
Tucker Andrews: Southern Colorado is out of the loop when it comes to building huge parks. You go to Summit County and they have gigantic, perfect jumps all the time, so that’s what people are doing. When I learned to snowboard at Crested Butte [at age 8], we had a fun park, but we also rode the whole mountain.
I did contests as a kid—I did boardercross and competed a lot and saw people who were way too into that side of it, and I always thought it was ridiculous to treat snowboarding in that ultra-competitive way. When I was 14, I won nationals for boardercross then the next year my coaches wanted me to start padding up and get a full-face helmet. I bailed. It was too serious and taking the fun out of snowboarding.
How was the town?
There are only 1,650 year-round residents. My parents are old Deadheads and ski bums. They wanted to live in a cool place and experience mountain stuff all the time—skiing in the winter, camping all summer, going to the river, the lake. Both my parents were skiers, but my dad had some buddies that were hard-booters and they showed me how to snowboard. It’s old-school; the end of the road.
Did they influence you to follow Ween around this year?
For sure. I saw Ween five times this year, four of them with my girlfriend Becca. We saw them in Quincy [CA], in Bend [OR], then I brought my parents and younger brother Toby [age 18] to a concert at Red Rocks when I was home visiting in Colorado. That was fun because I’ve never been to a huge concert with my parents. Becca and I went to two shows in San Francisco after that. Ween’s not for everyone, they’re funky and weird, but they’re so fun live with a lot of good energy and it’s a treat to see them do their thing.
If you had to choose between a day of shredding or going to a Ween show, which would it be?
Oh, that is tough dude, when and where?
It’s a sleeper Monday pow day at Alpine [Meadows]…
Tough call, but I’m going pow. I love Ween, but powder is powder.
You’re known to ride everything. Do you think it is important to constantly mix it up and never be labeled as a certain type of rider?
That’s awesome if you can do that—it’s hard to do. When I moved to Tahoe [in 2014] I moved in with Gray [Thompson] and we went splitboarding all year, even though there was no snow that winter. Getting the lay of the land of a new place like Tahoe with a big crew that rides the backcountry helped me learn a lot really fast. We had a few good years after that, then this year it didn’t snow. We rode Boreal all the time and I started hitting rails again and remembered how fun that is, and how big a part of snowboarding it is. It’s important to do it all—it’s fun to do it all.
No one goes into a snowboard career thinking they want to have a message, but it seems the message you send is to not take yourself too seriously. And to keep creating memories and having fun with your friends. Would you agree with that?
That’s been the motto for as long as I can remember. It’s easy to take it a little too seriously, even when you’re consciously trying not to take it too seriously. It’s not even a job, I don’t really make money, but there are people who support me. I want to make them stoked that they’re putting effort into me, but I don’t want it to turn into something too serious. I’m making sure of that, and I try to ride with people who hold that same mentality.
I think that is how you can snowboard for a long time, too.
There are guys here in Tahoe who are 45 who text us every night about where they want to go and if we want to come with, because they’re still just so stoked. It’s super important and awesome that you understand the longevity and the mindset you need to keep it moving. You’ve gotta be excited about it because I’ve seen people who just took it a little too serious and took it as a job too early, and then they didn’t get what they thought they deserved for the effort they were putting in.
If I can be that guy that you see ripping down the hill at 50-years-old, I’d love that. I saw that two days ago at Squaw [Valley]: There was this super long snake run through the moguls and he was riding it solo. He had to be like 55, 60-years-old and he was going for it, by himself, on the last day of the season, loving every bit of it.
That’s the end goal: it’s easy to get burned out if you focus on the wrong things, especially when you start mixing in industry stuff. You can start faking yourself out and thinking you’re not doing it right. Sponsorships will eventually taper off and if you played it right, you’ll go home with a good attitude. It’s as simple as just going snowboarding as much as possible. Then it’s always gonna rule.