Ever wonder what kind of humans spend their day behind the keyboard oozing about snowboarding? Well, it’s about time you meet them. Internet met them at least. Why might you ask? Because usually if you’re good enough to capture snowboard culture in words or imagery you’re probably a pretty rad rider yourself and at minium an interesting human being. So this series is all about pointing the spotlight back on the wordsmiths and photographers of our industry.
Nick Khattar, a writer, photog, and all-around adventure seeker is no stranger to print here at SBC. Maybe you recognize his name from the 27.2 Mt Cain feature? It not, snag a subscription before we’re onto the next mag! Anyway, let us let Nick talk because no one knows him better than himself, duh.
NICK KHATTAR BIO
Nick Khattar, or “Dragon” as he is known to his friends and a wide array of psychiatrists, is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker, who occasionally moonlights as a deckhand on Arrow Lake. He is originally from Halifax Nova Scotia but has called Revelstoke home for the last 7 years. He is a single father of one dog named Ernie. He enjoys ume ishu, squid, and long moonlit walks out of the backcountry. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and advanced degrees in geographic sciences and marine geomatics. He is passionate about growing his own sprouts and chasing waterfalls.
INTERVIEW WITH NICK KHATTAR
The background of Nick?
NK: Single father of one dog named Ernie. 35 years old. Been writing, shooting snowboard photos, and making snowboard videos for the last 15 years or so. Grew up in Halifax Nova Scotia. When I was 15 my brother told me if I learned to snowboard he’d fly me out to Lake Louise to visit him. So I did and he did. After that Snowboarding was all I cared about. Out of high school, I moved to Jasper and then Banff for a few years. Returned east for university where I pursued a degree in journalism. Halfway through my degree I moved to Vancouver then got a job as a filmer for a snowboard company in Tahoe and lived there for a few years and finished my degree via correspondence, writing essays after spending all day in the backcountry. After that, I went back east to do my post-grad so I could get a job that would pay off some bills. Worked on the high seas traveling the world for a few years mapping the ocean floor. Eventually moved back to Vancouver until I was able to find a steady job in Revelstoke that would let me snowboard a lot. I’ve been living in Revelstoke for the last 7 years making snowboard movies with Wasted Youth and shooting photos and writing stories about my friends. Chasing a dream that sometimes can feel like a nightmare.
Nick Boards – tell us about your relationship with snowboarding, please
NK: my relationship with snowboarding is complicated. I love snowboarding. I love the places it takes you and the people it introduces you to. My best friends and best memories are all a result of snowboarding. Snowboarding has become my raison d’etre. Everything I do now mostly revolves around the winter. That’s good and bad. I chose a lifestyle based around snowboarding over the pursuit of a fulfilling economically sound career. I’ve had high paying jobs but I quit them because they always meant living in the city and spending more time working than snowboarding. To continue living the life I live I’ve got to come to terms with the fact that I’ll probably never own a house or have a family. That makes me sad. Sometimes I think about moving back east where life is affordable, getting a 9-5 job and just focus on surfing and skating. But I think the mountains pulse in my veins now and leaving them would be like cutting off a part of my body.
What was the first thing you wrote that wasn’t a school assignment?
NK: the first thing I remember writing was a couple of short stories for the yearly CBC short story contest. They do an open submission For writers every year and I wrote a couple of pretty dark short stories. One was about a kid with a split personality and his coming to terms with that character. The other one was about a guy on one of the planes that was hijacked during 9/11. It was kind of a first-person confession of a dying man. That was in 02’. Those actually might be the only fictional short stories I’ve ever written and I wrote them when I was 19 living in Banff sharing a two-bedroom apartment with 9 guys.
When did you first merge snowboarding + words?
NK: After a few seasons in Banff and Jasper I determined I wanted to go into journalism so I could justify writing for snowboard magazines. I think it may have been my first year of university. Likely writing about local snowboard events for the university newspaper. The editor of the newspaper was really stoked on my writing and really wanted the paper to cover more subculture type sports so she was really supportive.
Last issue you coordinated and wrote the “Lessons Learned at Mt Cain” article – lots of voices, lots of stories, how did you approach it?
NK: That trip was really diverse. There were a lot of people there and a lot of people who had never really hung out together. So much happened and everyone on the trip has such good voices. Also, there were a few adventures that I wasn’t a part of so it only made sense to get other people to contribute to the story. Also, Bruce Johnson and Johan Rosen are amazing and hilarious storytellers so it only seemed fitting to get their take on things.
Any upcoming writing or snowboarding plans?
NK: Currently working on a piece about a winter canoe trip I did down the Columbia River last winter with Johan Rosen and Seb Grondin and planning our next video project for the upcoming winter.
What’s your personal approach to balancing work + boarding?
NK: That’s a pretty tough one for me personally. I find it hard to be out in the backcountry and not be shooting photos or trying to find a story angle. I guess most of my real boarding gets done on the ski hill. Fortunately, I have a job that affords me A LOT of time off so there’s no shortage of ski hill days. I can even get a few laps in before work sometimes as well. I am hoping this winter to focus more on movie projects and put myself in the story as a rider instead of strictly as an observer or photographer so I can spend more days in the backcountry riding instead of freezing my toes off.
Trip? Japan with Wasted Youth
Resort? Val D’Irene
Snowboard? Vega Bad Nite
Pocket Snack? Boiled eggs
Track on repeat? The Big Country by The Talking Heads
Word of the day? Inculcate; instill (an attitude, idea, or habit) by persistent instruction teach (someone) an attitude, idea, or habit by persistent instruction.
Words to live by?
NK: Either get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’