Highlighter™ with Colton
I’ve wanted to do this interview for a really long time because people need to know about more people like Colton Morgan. I’ve never met anybody else quite like him, putting it into words will barely do it justice. He’s one of the most interesting people that I’ve ever met and the same can be said about his snowboarding. He beams with childlike excitement and creativity that is impossible to ignore when you’re around him. He cares about his friends and family to infinity and beyond, loves frozen yogurt and his mustache has had multiple birthdays. Colton has spent a lot of time in the Tahoe area spreading good cheer with folks from the bHappy crew and nowadays is filming with Working For The City while doing most of the work behind the camera for Under Dawgs. His talent comes through in his pursuits and he’s motivated to really make his mark in snowboarding to show people that fun and friendship are truly what we should be doing this for.
Who are you, where are you from and what do you do at High Cascade?
My name is Colton Wilkie Morgan and I’m from New Jersey. I’ve lived in Tahoe City since I was 15, now I’m 20. I’m a counselor.
Were you the typical kid that rode in jeans and wore a bunch of Grenade stuff?
I was the kid that would get out of school, and my mom would drive me to Mountain Creek to go night riding. I was pretty scared of all the kids there ‘cause they would shoot off fireworks and do all this crazy stuff. I just liked to ride at night.
How long after your family moved to Tahoe did you link up with bHappy?
Really short after! My mom took me to an Academy Snowboards Camp in spring. At first I didn’t want to go but I went and I was in a group with these kids and it was kind of all the bHappy kids. At first I wasn’t really down for them and kept to myself but as time went on I started liking them all. By the next year we were all really good friends. I saw JB from Academy the other day and we kind of talked about how he brought all of us kids together. Thanks, Academy!
That sort of turned into Under Dawgs. We’ve heard from Jesse Gouveia and Andrew Aldridge but could you tell us about it from the filmers perspective?
Under Dawgs was going to be a skate video and hopefully still will be, but I didn’t have a project to work with this year. I was going to do Working For The City but things got all screwed up and I didn’t make it back to Minnesota this year. I heard that all those guys in Salt Lake didn’t really know what they were doing. I don’t remember how it came about but I asked Aldridge one day if he was down to film a full video and it just sort of took off. In the beginning of the season I wanted to get filmed but there wasn’t really a filmer around because Paul (Heran) was busy. I went out with Andrew Brewer, Nial Romanek, Nick Visconti, Sammy Spiteri and Max Tokunaga and they wanted to get clips and I was down to film them because I’d bought my camera after winning last year’s Arbor Faceoff. Basically I was down to do it because I like being around snowboarding and filming things right, even though I was a little bummed I wouldn’t be being filmed as much. It just sort of turned into a project that I really wanted to do my best and work hard on. I enjoy learning about it, its tight.
Contrary to what a lot of kids usually do, you moved from Tahoe to Minnesota for snowboarding. What motivated you to do that and how did you end up liking the move from the mountains to the Twin Cities?
I liked it a lot, I wanna go back next year. It’s cool living where there is 2 cities to do so much. I really like these short resorts with a lot of hits so its awesome to go there. I also really like the feeling of being able to ride downhill and uphill thanks to tow ropes, I don’t know; it’s the best. People say Tahoe is the best because of powder but I’m gonna try to film something at a spot every time it snows so I’m gonna mess it up if I go ride that stuff anyway. I’d rather put my time and practice into trying to get a video part. Minnesota is so awesome; there are so many homies there. Sometimes it can get a little laid back or maybe they don’t stress it as much when it comes to serious stuff which isn’t always bad. I’d like to think I’m productive most of the time. I’m down for Minnesota and the homies. And all the spots!
WFTC2 hit some snags but it sounds like it is really coming out, is that true? Should people have expectations for this movie or will it blow their minds regardless?
Yeah, its comin out! The premiere is on the 13th. I keep saying this and its NOT because I’m in it, I don’t wanna hype up my own part, but it’s the best snowboarding. It puts so many people to shame and I don’t even know what to say about it. When you see it you’re gonna be blown away if you know whats up and understand snowboarding in the streets, you’ll get it. The stuff that goes down in that movie is so mind-boggling. Everything I watched go down while we were filming for it is insane. Those kids are so raw. There are some people that shouldn’t be where they are in snowboarding and these Minnesota kids should definitely take some people’s spots. Companies should make room for kids like Sam Bakken, Jordan Daniels, Colin Wilson, nobody needs to worry about Jesse Paul because he’ll be fine really soon, and all the other guys that nobody has even heard of yet. The ones that no one has heard of are my favorites and they’re about to surprise people.
I don’t know how long you’ve been filming for but you’re really talented with a camera. There are a few other riders like Ted Borland and Brendan Hupp that certainly know what they’re doing behind a lens as well. Why are you guys filming instead of being filmed?
Basically all of my friends pretty much know how to film in terms of composition and zooming, where to stand and angles. But when it comes to exposure and levels of audio and all that technical stuff that you need to check it can be hard, you have to know what you’re doing. Its rough to leave those little things up to your friends when you’re trying to get a trick. When you’re building a spot and trying to do something that’s worthy for your part it can be harder to do while you’re worried about the shot turning out good. This winter we’ve tried with Sammy and Jesse filming some of my tricks and some things turn out good and some things don’t. If the whole movie is filmed in weird ways and footage from a bunch of different types of cameras are in it, it turns out fine and its just one of those types of movies with that feel. But if the filmer who is also a snowboarder puts a lot of thought into shots and how one shot is going to end and one part is going to start then you have something there. You want flow. It might be pretty harsh that I wont accept some people’s footage for the movie but if it doesn’t look right and fit the feel then it just won’t. We’re making a movie for our friend Drake. Drake was just like every one of us, he loved stuff that’s really, really tight and sick. He loved Videograss and Keep the Change, those are people we look up to and that’s sort of what we’re trying to do, I guess. That’s what we wanna make, something really sweet and close to legit.
You’ve definitely got a unique approach, who are some of your filming influences?
Benny Maglinao, the guy that does Alien Workshop stuff. Jason Hernandez, I like his style and love how professional he is. JJ Abrams, the guy that made Super 8. Paul Heran. Jon Stark, one of my best friends and probably the only person I talk to about filming and nerding out on stuff. Skylar Brent, he’s been sick and filming since before Looney Tuesdays. Roobs is a G. And definitely Jackson Casey. I don’t know, it’s hard to make cool stuff but I think the best stuff honestly come from people just messing around. Oh, and Tanner Pendleton but you don’t have to put him in there because everybody loves him.
Can you talk about what its like meeting people at High Cascade and what the lasting effect of that can have on you?
Well, its funny. Dudes like Headwrap and Ryan Paul that worked there thought they were just guys trying to snowboard but to me they were people I was really stoked on. One day they asked if I wanted to ride with them and it sort of started my experience there. When I first showed up I wasn’t really enjoying it so much. Aaron Fraher was bunking next to me and I was scared and thought this kid was gonna beat me up. By the next session I met RP at the Rail Island and hiked it all day just learning a trick. Whenever someone gave me a thumbs up or a head nod that really started meaning a lot to me. By the second session I was way more hyped to be sociable because I was shy going by myself. Then my mom let me stay another session after that and me, Fraher, and Tyler Flanagan were this little group of friends and we would just terrorize Govy. But Scott Stevens, boarding with him there was really awesome. I feel like he really knows what it means to hang out with a kid and hype them up, its really cool. He makes kids so stoked and makes you want to approach people that you look up to or wanna talk to. Also the old Skate Manager, Micah Hollinger. He made me really psyched.
You seem to have spent a bit of time all over the country on your snowboard, what are some of your favorites?
Probably Boreal in Tahoe, I like living there because the weather is awesome. I really like living in Minnesota because that just worked for me. Oregon is really awesome, I was just in Bend staying at the Warbingtons farm and I really like how they live their life and just do things simpler. We also went to Baker this winter and I thought it would be fun living there and coming home to build a fire. I used to hate Salt Lake and its still whatever but I really like it because of all the friends there. I don’t know, there are a lot of places.
Why does snowboarding make you happy?
Friendship. I don’t know, like, you start snowboarding maybe because your friends are doing it or you get someone else to start snowboarding because you get them hyped on it. Friendship. You continue to snowboard with your friends because its fun and fun is friendship. I think snowboarding is so awesome because you’re pushing each other and having a really good time. Some people enjoy going out alone every day; I know I wouldn’t. I think it makes me happy because you go out with your friends and make cool stuff, build cool jumps, film videos that make you laugh or get you really hyped.
Don’t you think it’s a little bit crazy and awesome that you spend your summers standing on a board riding on a snowy volcano in the middle of a forest in Oregon?
I don’t think it’s crazy because I think its cool. You can stand on this thing and slide on a surface that falls out of the sky. I think that’s cool that you can do that in the summer and in the winter. I think its INSANE that there’s a camp that exists in the summertime because of what comes out of the sky. It’s turning into this huge thing because of something that fell out of the sky, that’s what’s crazy. I like how you can do other things in the summer, too, but we’re really blessed that we can do that in the US in the summer. A lot of people go to other countries and stuff but I think we have a really special summer snowboarding place that’s close to all of us.
Speaking of volcanos, what’s your favorite flavor from Volcano Cones and who would be your ideal ice cream date?
Galaxy. Well, I was at Disney world with my friends Max and Ben and we were at this place called Doughnut Man and I saw the most beautiful girl ever. Max says no and Ben says no but she gave us Tiger Tails and something was up, love was in the air and I haven’t stopped thinking of her. We call her the Doughnut Girl but I don’t know her name or anything.
How long have you been skating? Would you say that you got better at High Cascade?
Well, I definitely started trying to learn how to get better at High Cascade. I’d done it before but I was wishing that I started when I was younger so I wouldn’t be the Squid of the crew. But I’m trying to get better and I’m having fun so that’s all that matters. Last summer right after I met Drake he taught me how to frontside 50-50 the Battle Zone ledges and that was really tight.
How old is your mustache? Does it have a name?
This mustache is from 2 summers ago, so its about to be 3. I don’t shave it or anything; it just stays this length and looks this way.
How much chocolate milk have you drank this season?
Well I had a glass this morning and I just had one with dinner. I also had 2 glasses of chocolate coconut water and I guess it sorta tasted like chocolate milk. You gotta go to Wisconsin for that good stuff. Or a tip for the kids out there, in summer at High Cascade what you have to do is throw in whip cream to your chocolate milk when they have ice cream out. Its like a Govy Starbucks drink.
Who are Taquito and Consuela?
Taquito is one of the loves of my life. He is a one eyed dog that’s a wimp. Consuela is a brave little girl and she’s very strong. They’re both Chihuahuas.
What’s something you’re looking forward to the most this summer?
Hanging out with my friends, snowboarding and meeting kids that are as into snowboarding as I am. Meeting kids that are truly psyched on snowboarding get me really psyched on it.
Sponsors / Shoutouts
I wanna thank Salomon, Bonfire, Arnette, Comune, High Cascade, all of the Under Dawgs, Jon Stark, all of the Working For the City homies, all of my friends, my mom, my sister, and Taquito and Consuela
Greg Furey - http://gfurey.wordpress.com/
Ben Birk - http://www.benbirk.com/