We’ve all heard crazy stories about pirates, sailing the oceans and robbing passing ships. But have you ever heard about Grant Giller? He is a modern pirate, traveling the world to steal all the best snowboard spots. During his travels he stayed quite some time in Switzerland and even made a whole video part out of it. So we wanted to know more about him, his projects and what he thinks of our little country…
Hey Grant, could you introduce yourself for the people that don’t know you?
Yoooo, so obviously I’m a snowboarder and I come from the mountains of Colorado in the US. I started out riding slopestyle contests locally, but now I kind of like to do it all. I try to film backcountry, hit street rails and still ride some contests. If I’m snowboarding, then I’m happy. Other than that I’m into flying airplanes and traveling wherever to have a good time!
Yeah it seems that you went to many different places lately…
How did you end up traveling so much?
Yeah man I really love to travel. I think that developed when I was pretty young. I was about 6 or 7 years old when my father took a job in Dusseldorf, Germany for two years. So I spent two years in an international school learning German with kids from around the world. When I moved back to the US, I forgot German, but I like to think the international friendships and experiences continued to influence me. It’s something I feel a lot of Americans never really exposed themselves to, you know what I mean?
A few years ago, I really started traveling to different places for snowboarding. Before that, I got a bit lost in what I wanted to do with snowboarding, and why I was doing it. When I asked myself about it, the thing that came up first is that it’s a lotta fun. However, I also thought about the pros we see in videos, and how they form a community of riders of different nationalities. They always go to cool places, not just to snowboard, but to experience everything: the sights, the food, the party, etc. That’s when I realized that it’s what I want to do. Now I’ve been snowboarding in 16 countries on 4 different continents and I don’t really want to stop.
Wow, that’s a lot of travel…
So after snowboarding in all those nice spots around the world, you got stuck in Switzerland for quite some time last season. What made your Swiss adventure special?
Last season I was figuring out where to go and I decided to live in Europe for a few months. I wanted to be able to discover more places without flying over a huge ocean. So I chose to live over the border in Innsbruck, Austria. Since I had already spent so much time in Austria in the past years and I had many good Swiss homies, I wanted to do some filming in Switzerland.
I’m not sure if it’s obvious when you live there, but one of the big draws and special part of that decision was the Swiss snowboard culture. I feel that between the riders, the shops, the parks, the bars, the videos and of course the mags, they all keep the spirit of snowboarding alive and thriving. I really felt that regular people see snowboarding as the coolest thing on earth when you’re in Switzerland. It’s not like that in the US. In addition to that, the Swiss mountains have really insane terrain and spots to ride. The access is also drastically better than where I come from. But please don’t tell anyone that… ahhahah
Switzerland 1 – 0 USA.
I finally understand why you guys need to make America great again!
I really liked your video dude!
Since it’s part of your Loose Boardin’ series, can you tell us a bit more about those episodes?
So Loose Boardin’ came from what I was describing earlier about traveling and snowboarding. The idea was to go to a specific country or region, go all in for two or three weeks filming and make a mini part. This is season 3 of Loose Boardin’ and so far we’ve done Japan, Chile, Austria, British Columbia and New Zealand. Thanks to the editing work of my good friend Tom Haraden, I’m really happy with the way they turned out. Now, of course, we’ve just released the Switzerland episode and I’m excited to say we have an edit from India coming soon!
When it came to filming the Swiss edition it was a bit more random than my usual trips as I didn’t bring a filmer, which is something I’ve never done before. Even if I knew I wanted to do an edit in Switzerland. But when I got a call to do the Laax Open for the US Team, I just showed up with no other plan than sleeping on Elio Fumagalli’s couch. During the contest I started talking to a few swiss dudes I knew about some filming ideas. Then, next thing I know, I was riding a train to every corner of Switzerland and it was all coming together.
Sometimes no plan is the best plan…
Oh, and your intro really made me laugh! How the hell did you come up with this crazy pirate idea?
Haha… glad to hear that! So the intro comes from two different things. First, I love pirates. I have no idea why, but I do ahah. So if you watch some of the old Loose Boardin’ intros they’ve all been pirate themed. Actually I was really hyped on what you wrote in your intro, calling me a modern pirate! I couldn’t have said it any better.
The other reason to do these intros is that snowboarding used to have a lot of them in older movies. Somehow, I felt like it made them more special. I always got stoked when I saw someone rip on a snowboard and also do something funny or interesting to add a little more personality to the video. The only people who really did some skits recently are Tor and Kevin… So I think riders need to bring it back! I also want to give a shout out to my friend RJ McNichols for helping me refine these crazy intros.
You also had some nice sessions with some of our favorite local riders and even had a little cameo in the Escape Movie 2.
How did you get in touch with those guys and who did you spend the most time with?
Because of my contest background, I originally met Leo Eigensatz and Jonas Bösiger 5 years ago and it just kind of expanded from there when visiting Laax. Like I said, this year I was doing the Laax Open and I was talking to a few guys about filming, I even went filming with Elio and Blume one day during the contest. After the contest, Gian Sutter asked me to join the Escape dudes on a mission to another valley and I was super down. I met Lou Staub and the other guys and it was really nice hitting spots with them, so I wanted to do it more. I ended up going on a mission to St. Gallen with them and a few other little sessions. Big shout out to Lou for putting this crazy American in the video! If you haven’t gotten a chance to see Escape Video 2, stay tuned for the online release!
That being said, the Escape guys were super focused on riding street all the time and I kind of wanted to go build some kickers. So I actually ended up talking to Michael Schaerer about going to Grindelwald and that was a really nice trip. Gian Simmen and Grindelwald First hooked it up and we had a few nice days of jumping and filming with Valentin Müller, the in house film and photo guy there.
But to be honest there are so many really cool Swiss boarders that I can’t really name them all. I guess that’s one reason why I always come back.
I am pretty curious about that gap session in Scuol. We had already seen some footage from there in Menduri’s interview and now you have some amazing tricks there in your video… How did the whole session happen?
It was originally Mendu Stecher’s idea. When he told David Hablützel, Big Mikey Schaerer and myself about it at the Indy Bar one night, we all thought that we had to hit that. It was one day of building for six guys, mostly on this crazy in-run. The next day though, the session was all time! I lost the rock paper scissors and had to hit the jump first. I went waaaay too fast on a frontside 540 and landed really big. But after that, we all got comfortable and somehow I just started putting down tricks. I think there are even two more tricks I put down on that jump that we didn’t use. But I’m really happy about the way that turned out, everyone killed it! Big shout out to Kuno Egli and Scotty Stephenson for coming out to shoot that session.
Oh and I know that Mike is still sitting on some footage from there, so stay tuned…
So now that your time in Switzerland is over, what are your next plans?
Right now I am back in the US flying airplanes and working on finishing up the India video. So if you like what you saw on this episode stay tuned for that one. It’s definitely the most interesting place I’ve ever been to. As for next winter, I am always looking for a good reason to get back to Europe and Switzerland. I would love to spend another winter out there in Innsbruck or Laax, but I also think its good to change it up. At the very least, I’ll likely come that way for a pow jump session, or to see all the homies no matter what I end up filming next season.
Any last words before we finish this little interview?
A lot of people really helped me out in making this, so I want to thank them. It was a pleasure talking with you. Hopefully I’ll get to ride with you guys in Switzerland next year!
I want to say danke to Whiteout and the Swiss snowboard community for being so rad!
I want to say danke to Gian Simmen and Vale Müller at Grindelwald First.
I want to say danke to Blume, Mathias Wittwer and Luca Kuppelwieser at Laax.
I want to say danke to Lou Staub and the whole Escape Video crew.
I want to say danke to Torstein Horgmo and Craig Gouweloos from ShredBots for putting my video up.
I want to say danke to Tom Haraden, Scotty Stephenson, Ian Macy, RJ Mcnichols, MOJO, Kuno Egli for helping me filming and putting this together.
I want to say danke to Bataleon, Switchback, Deeluxe, Vonzipper, Transform and Protec for supporting me and my projects.
I want to say danke to Elio, Mundu, Danny Kewku, Doli, Lars, Habluuutzle, Big Mike, Ralph, Celia, Der Nudist, Gian, Joel, Yannick, Elias, Martin, Djité, Faxe, Buri and Tomy for all their help in Schweiz.
I want to say danke to Haci’s Kebab in Flims for making delicious Kebabs!
So you better stay tuned for Grant’s next video in India! We also want to say thanks to Scotty Stephenson, Valentin Müller & Kuno Egli for their nice photos! Hope to see you soon in Switzerland Grant…