By David MacKinnon / Photos Red Bull Content Pool
Seb Toots has done it all. The Quebec-born contest killer has won everything from X Games to the inaugural Olympic Big Air, and managed to produce unique video projects along the way. Now Seb has taken on the Rocky Steps outside the Philadelphia Art Gallery, a spot made famous by the 1976 film Rocky. The 72-stair beast is so iconic it has it’s own Wikipedia page. Red Bull and the Seven Springs park crew installed two rails, a down-flat-down and a down-flat-down-flat-down, to take Seb down the 130-foot-plus concrete monster. We figured it was the perfect excuse to catch up with our boy– read on for the goods.
How you been? I don’t think I’ve seen you since Uncorked at Grouse.
Yeah, pretty busy! But in a good way. I’m back home right now; we just got hit by a good storm. X Games is coming up next week, so yeah! Lots of riding!
Nice! And you won the Olympics. Did that change your life?
That was a crazy one for sure! Especially with coming so close in Slopestyle. I just wanted to ride my best at Big Air, and to win it? That was pretty dope! It definitely changed things in terms of bringing more people to know me, like outside of regular snowboarding. People who don’t follow the sport, which is actually a lot of snowboarders. And it’s cool, because it helps them get deeper into it. But I also got to expand a bit. I got to throw the first pitch at a Blue Jays game and ring the Sixers bell–being a gold medalist helped open those doors for sure.
Perks! Did you flash your gold to get two insane rails set up at the Rocky Steps
Yeah, it feels like it! [laughs]. The project was actually set up without me– Red Bull invited me to be the rider. It was a huge honour to be asked. That thing is huge, man, 72 stairs. It’s two different rails, a down-flat-down into a down-flat-down-flat-down. The first one is 24, then 48. And they’re really big steps! It was hard– I knew it was possible, but I definitely felt a bit of pressure. Like ‘what if I don’t get it?’
Was it a battle?
I actually got in the first two hours or so, but I wasn’t that happy with it. I’m pretty picky. I had two other makes, another one I didn’t like and the one we used. But I rode it pretty much all day– I was like, ‘well, they set it up, so we might as well just keep going.’ I’m really stoked on the shot we got. The whole crew killed it. Mike McEntire, Mack Dawg, was in charge of filming. He’s a legend in the snowboard industry. He made Decade, Chulksmack, all the MDP movies. I was stoked to work with his crew.
Who did the set-up?
The park crew from Seven Springs did the install. The snow came in huge boxes– it was like 20 tonnes of snow, which is crazy.
Did you do anything else while you in Philly?
We filmed a story edit for the project as well– that was really fun. It’s like Rocky, kind of spoofing that famous scene where he runs up the steps. Pat Bridges was part of it, he played my coach. He’s training me to hit the rail, he’s like ‘you’re not ready!’ [laughs] We worked on that for three or four days– we hit the rail in one day, and it was great, but the rest of the trip was just hilarious. And that’s when I got to ring the bell at that Sixers game.
So good. You’ve put out a lot of short, jib-focused edits. How important is it to balance your contest riding?
Both sides are super important to me. I’m not at home too often in the winter, and I don’t have too much time to film for bigger projects, so it means a lot to spend some time working on something creative. Edits like these are an opportunity to push another side of my snowboarding, but also to snowboard in a less structured way. I wish I had more time for it. But now that the Olympics are done, I’m only doing the major contests– Dew Tour, X Games, and the US Open. I’m hoping that gives me more time to focus on projects, and get out in the backcountry. I still have so much to learn about that type of snowboarding.
I heard a rumor you’re starting a vlog– is that tied into these projects?
Yeah– we don’t have a launch date or a schedule or anything, I don’t know how consistent they’ll be. But I want to do 8-10 vlogs over the next year, that’s kind of my goal. I want to show people a little bit more behind the scenes, what’s happening in my life a bit, some more personal stuff. It will be about snowboarding for sure, but we might branch out a bit. I want to meet up with other athletes and stuff, showcase some other sides of my life. A lot of people know that I snowboard, but I like a lot of different sports– I want to show people some of that.
Catch Seb at X Games this week, and keep an eye on Snowboard Canada for updates on his vlog.