Q&A: Ian Compton on his switch to Nordica, The Weak and spacey music
Vermont-bred skier Ian Compton is Internet famous. The twenty-four-year-old has developed a cult following resulting from his regular appearances in Line’s Traveling Circus as well as his own project, “The Weak,” the East-centric weekly webisode series which has garnered thousands of pageviews.
As connected as his online personality is to the ski community, one could assume that it’d be easy to reach Compton, but the gentleman—known for his one footed grinds, juggling prowess and prominent smile—is consistently hard to get in touch with. His failure to setup voicemail on his phone has led to countless missed calls and his retreat to the wilds of the North only adds to delayed correspondence. When I was finally able to reach Compton for the who, what, when and where, this is how he answered, and why next season is going to be different.
Are you ready to begin?
Jah, I am eating eggs while I do this.
Alright, let’s start with the easy questions: Name? Age? Current Location?
Ian Compton, 24, Greensboro, Vermont.
That last one was a trick, I know you’re living in Northern Vermont. Tell me more about where you’re living.
I live in a place called the Northeast Kingdom. It’s a small town with lots of local businesses from beer to cheese. It’s a good place to route back to Mother Nature.
And your current housing? I understand it’s a home that was designed by your grandfather?
You are correct, sir. He built it back in ‘53. He passed at an early age and my Grandma used it to do her artwork. Now my sister and I share it; she does her art while I sit in front of my computer.
It’s been a process. Last summer I just started digging one day with a vision in my mind. After coming 13” from digging up an electrical line, I relocated and put in 300’ of rebar. Winter happend and I returned with a change of plans. I am going organic and using wood for eveything. It’s much easier working with wood by myself instead of cement, and all the rebar is going to my buddy Ben Grunow for his house. We recycle here in VT.
So that’s pretty much the summer plan? Skate and be organic in Northern Vermont? A lot of athletes pack up and head either south to New Zealand or take up residence at Hood or Whistler for the summer.
I am going to Hood next for a week with Evan Williams to film an edit. Training wise, it’s smart to keep skiing, but my body and mind need a rest. I refuse to get burnt out on skiing, I want to retain my childhood excitement for the sport and never have it feel like a job.
So switching gears, you’ve gained quite a following with “The Weak.” How’d it come about?
Dan, sorry! Chris Logan just called. Let me catch up. I am sorry.
You’re sometimes hard to reach.
The Weak was something that came about real randomly. My good friend, and roomate at the time, Jack Borland and I were just talking about making something weekly. Of course I spelt it wrong and ended up with The Weak. Ended up working perfectly because it is indeed quite weak. I now have been making weekly edits each Tuesday for the past two years.
How has it developed? Which episode was your favorite from this past season?
To be honest, I feel I’ve gotten too serious with it. Towards the end of the year, I realized [that] and tried to snap out of it. I just get wrapped up in corny, spacey music. I think my favorite episode was The Weak at Sugarbush with Evan. Best mountain to film at and you can get so much done with one other person. [Specifically] when it’s Edubs with the camera.
Each episode seems to vary from one to the next and some are received better than others by the audience… what do you take away from the praise and/or criticism you receive?
If I make one person stoked I feel I did my job. I don’t intend for everyone to feel the same way I feel. I make these edits based on my moods and environment so of course I will have people that don’t relate. The only thing that bothers me is how some people can go so far out of their way with negativity. There are plenty of things I don’t like, but to slander them does not benefit me or anyone else in any way. Kids will be kids and you can’t please everyone.
Fair enough. What do we have to look forward to next season with regards to the Weak?
More variety, more locations and more all-natural environments.
Hah. That’s pretty vague. Does that mean we’ll see you filming pow in the backcountry?
Course. [Pause] Not. I have a chainsaw and a state filled with woods. I want to create things that someone wouldn’t normally see in an edit. Gotta keep it weird.
Speaking of next season, you’ve recently made a fairly large decision. Can you tell us what that was?
Yes. I’ve switched ski companies from Line to Nordica. The big thing here is how people always seem to speculate why things like this happen. I left on good terms with a handshake and a huge thanks for everything [Line] had done for me. I love those guys and they will remain my friends for life.
That’s a pretty positive response. Are you afraid that some might take it the other way?
I am positive there will be some backlash to why I left, but thats life, change is weird and many people can’t fathom it. It’s healthy to keep things flowing, plus Evan Williams [Nordica TM] is one of my best friends and he makes a great whiskey. [Note: Evan Williams does not, in fact, make Evan Williams whiskey.]
So how did you come about making the decision?
Nordica is based out of the East and they want to create a new image for the company. Having a friend as a team manager works out incredibly, plus I can drive 40 minutes and meet up with everyone at the HQ.
So you’re interested in helping create that new image? How would you see that happening?
A lot of people think racing and fast when they hear about Nordica. But they couldn’t be farther from the truth, this year people will start to realize what type of company Nordica is.
A company that’s putting together a pretty amazing team. Evan and everyone else at Nordica have such a passion for the sport, it’s great working with an East Coast based company.
But it couldn’t have been an easy decision to move on from Line?
Not an easy one at all. They’re still my great friends but you won’t see me in the TC anymore, sadly. [It was] a fun stage of my life but on to the new project.
You and Evan have been friends for how long? As your new team manager, are you worried you’ll have to call him boss?
I toured with him around my high school sophomore year. We have been friends since. He’s done a lot for me in the ski world and some of my most memorable trips have been with him. I joke to people about him being my boss but more importantly he is a friend I work well with. He’s someone that I have complete faith in when it comes to style of product and performance. Nordica is on a huge come up and it’s an honor to be able to help revamp with the team, Evan and all the employees at the HQ.
And in working well, you mentioned earlier the colab you had with Evan during the Weak’s Sugarbush episode. Evan himself comes from the New Intel Group background. Will we see a larger production of the Weak?
You’re gonna have to watch to find out. Anything is possible. Evan’s really good with a camera so I’ll be bugging him. Sorry in advance, Evan.
So this profile will probably appear just as you’re boarding a flight out to Oregon to go shoot at Hood. Tell me more about the trip? How’d it come about? Have you been to Hood before?
[I’ve] been to Hood a bunch. It’s just been two years since the last time. The deal with the trip is to get the [Nordica] team together and do some filming. Works out perfect that it’s also my first trip as one of their athletes—it’s great knowing I get to hop in a plane with Evan and have a travel buddy. It’s long going, traveling from the East, so it’s nice having a friend (BO$$) traveling with ya.
Will you feel like the new kid on the block as far as being on the Nordica team?
I know most of the people on the team, and some I have known since they were kids so it shouldn’t be too weird as far as being “the new guy.” As long as no one gives me a wedgy…
Let’s try some rapid fire questions. You’re somewhat of a pizza snob. What’s your perfect recipe?
Would have to kill you if I told you.
Favorite craft beer?
When in Vermont…
One thing people still don’t know about you?
I peed my pants in karate class once.
“If I didn’t ski I’d?”
Be a farmer.
I listen to?
You may or may not have bought a synth?
God damn truth.
My shadow and dog.
Well it’s almost lunch hour, anything else you’d like to say?
Greet change with open arms. It’s good to stir things up in the community. Things go stale if left too long. And eat organic!
About the author:
Dan Brown is a photographer who lives just South of Boston with a dog named Frank.