Sam Taxwood photos • bob plumb // interview • blake paul
The first memory I have of Sam was the realization that he was way better at snowboarding than me. When our crew of friends was coming up, before it turned into “Lick The Cat,” Sam was the one to watch. He was young and fearless. Sometimes I don’t even know if he thought much before he dropped in to do a trick (laughs). Sam has developed much beyond that now. I’ve watched him tackle everything from a 22-foot pipe, to a massive Whistler step down, to a psycho five-kink rail. He does everything his own way with his own style. Every trick he films seems to matter more to me than other riders. I would categorize him as a young blue-collar athlete. I don’t know what that means, but his strong work ethic in life and powerful grace on a board goes much beyond labeling him as just a pro snowboarder. Sam is one solid dude, and one of my closest pals. Cheers to the kid!
Growing up as a kid, what’s the first memory that comes to mind on a snowboard?
Riding around at Snowbird where I grew up, getting stuck in the snow on my first few pow days or maybe my mom taking me to the ski and snowboard swap to get my first board.
What videos and snowboarders were you into?
Afterlame, Follow Me Around, Moment of Truth, Smell the Glove, and a bunch of old 411 videos were some of the first videos I had and still are so good. All the local Utah dudes got me stoked: like Aaron Bittner, Bjorn and Erik Leines, Deadlung, MFM, and after watching Afterlame I thought Travis Parker was a god.
Who was the first pro you saw when you were coming up?
Aaron Bittner I think? I always remember watching him and some other dudes ripping around Snowbird, jumping off of cat tracks.
You’re parents have been working at Snowbird forever, what do they do there?
They have been. My dad is the head of tram and lift maintenance and my mom is the season pass office manager.
You get any special treatment up there as a kid?
I think so for sure, but I also got in a bunch of trouble if I did something stupid like ducking ropes or asking people for money in the lodge so I could get a candy bar.
I feel like Salt Lake is the snowboarder capital of the world. Generations of boarders still live and ride there. Who can you give some credit to for bringing you up?
Erik Leines was a huge help keeping me out of trouble and showing me that you can go out and film. He took Griffin Siebert, Evan Drage, and myself around to spots and filmed us and showed us what and what not to do, along with taking us into the backcountry for our first time. Very fortunate to have had that guidance from someone I looked up to.
Who was your crew growing up and who is it now?
Griffin Siebert, Evan Drage, Sage and Blaze Kotsenburg, Max and Gus Warbington, Ben Bilodeau, Blake Paul, Jordan Tramp, Erik Neilson, Nils Mindich, Jerm, Jordan Morse, and everyone else around Salt Lake. Nowadays it’s pretty much the same, not much has changed aside from everyone being a bit more busy these days.
How did you get involved at Nitro and L1?
Just from riding Snowbird along with going into Milo all the time. I met Ryan Twilliger and he started to give me boards when I was 12 I think. I’ve stuck with them ever since and I followed suit with L1 a few yeas after and I’ve been stoked on the people involved and the brand from when I started.
Some of your first parts were in Keep The Change videos. Anything you miss about those days?
I think those were my best years filming street stuff. I just didn’t really know what I was doing for the first bit and would try things I definitely would not even think about trying now. I miss those trips and hanging with that whole crew though. Roll Call year was so much fun out east hanging with Colton, Mark and Derek.
What was your first real filming trip?
My first trip was to Minnesota with Mark Wilson, Derrek Lever, and Dylan Drogotta. Me, Jon Ray, and Rob Balding drove out there and we filmed around Minneapolis and Duluth for a couple weeks. One of the more memorable trips I’ve been on I think.
Got any good Bob Plumb stories?
Bringing a stray cat home from Bulgaria probably is on top of the list with many others. Favorite human!
What do you do in the summer to help fund your snowboarding?
I haven’t done it in a couple seasons but I’m going back to doing some chairlift construction this summer. Its a nice way to put away some money before the winter so I’m stoked for that this coming June!
What’s been going on the last two seasons, how’s the Vans video shaping up?
It’s been cool to work on something for two seasons for a change. Kind of gives you a little breathing room and a chance to pick the stuff you really want to ride.
You bought a snowmobile last year and jumped right into filming in the backcountry, how’s that experience been?
It’s been a blessing and a curse. I’ve learned a lot, which has been cool and I’ve been able to ride terrain I normally never would have without it. But those things aren’t easy, that’s for sure. At least for me, haha.
Quick questions… Best skate spot?
Lick the Cat MVP?
Who should be voted off Lick The Cat?
Spring Break with the whole crew.
Craziest Place you’ve been?
Best roommate on a trip?
Wrapping this up now, any shout-outs? Anything big I’ve missed?
Family, friends, snowboarding, sponsors, skateboarding and sunny days.