1. Does anyone call you Johnny? Can I call you Johnny?
Not a whole lot of people call me Johnny. I think the only one that does is Steve Duke, Terrain Park Manager at Canyons. Maybe I’ll start calling him Stevie. But you can call me whatever you like.
2. You pretty much cleaned house on the World Cup Snowboardcross tour this year. Can it be chalked up to additional training or a different approach?
I have always been in good shape. And I would like to think I have always been a good rider. I got on new snowboards and my mental game was way up. I finished third in the World Cup and was the top American. I had some unfortunate luck at the end of season and got tangled up with a member of the Czech team. When I bring home the Globe (trophy for winning the World Cup) next season I’ll be real pumped.
3. Now that the season is over are you hittin’ the beach or is training in session?
Winter didn’t end in Utah until about June 1st. But winter ended for me on May 3rd. I had bone spurs removed from my left ankle. On the May 23rd I had the same procedure done to my right. At the moment I am rehabbing and hitting the gym. I will be training most of the summer. My prize money is starting to run low so I might be spinning wrenches soon. I am not asking for sponsors, but if someone sees this and is interested please get a hold of me.
4. If I participated in snowboardcross, I’m pretty sure I’d take the Bode Miller approach as it seems races are usually won by the man and/or woman with the least amount of fear. How does one train specifically for snowboardcross?
When I find out I’ll tell you. In all seriousness it is tough. Snowboardcross is as competitive, if not more, than men’s alpine skiing. Five years ago, when I first started doing World Cups, the top 10 guys were always the top 10 guys. Now, the whole field has a chance of being on the podium. It is tough. I think being a well rounded rider with good turning skills, air awareness, and most of all instincts, is going to do well. Each course has different characteristics that certain riders will excel at. Freestyle snowboarding has athletes that seem to be peaking younger and younger every year. It is almost like gymnastics with kids in their teens taking home the cash. Since SBX requires instincts, the only way you can practice is get in the gate and learn from experience. I am 26 now. I think I will be hitting my peak in eight years.
By the way, I save my beers for after the podium.
5. You’re a Canyons Resort athlete. When it comes to your home mountain, describe your ideal day on the slopes?
This is where the insider trading is illegal. I don’t want people riding my stashes. My ideal day is getting on the bubble around 9. If Super Condor or 9990 are open I’ll head over there. If not, I’ll do a few laps on the bubble. I’ll head to some pow stashes. I usually don’t have to work too hard for my turns at Canyons. But if I do, I’ll grab a buddy and head to the lift access backcountry. I will usually finish off my day with a few laps in the park.
6. You hail from the East Coast. Judging from your website you’re a Boston sports fan. All the ladies are wondering; if you met the perfect girl and she turned out to be a die hard Yankees or Knicks fan, would that be a deal breaker?
She wouldn’t be the perfect girl then. A Knicks fan is better than a Canadiens fan though. You forgot to mention the Bruins. First Stanley Cup in 39 years. That’s a long time between drinks!
7. I heard you used to be a plumber? Is that true? And are you still a plumber?
Ever heard the expression “Your s*** is my bread and butter?” Plumbing is my bread and butter. My journeyman license number is 30554. My father took care of a family of four. I’ll be looking for work soon unless I can land a solid sponsorship deal. Plumbing pays the bills and funds the snowboard career.
8. Canyons is known for its backcountry access. Do you put in time earning your turns out of bounds?
Of course. I just wish they could publish photos that are shot in their backcountry. It is the most under rated resort in the world. I don’t think there are too many resorts where you can get four back country runs in before noon.
9. Snowboardcross has allowed you the opportunity to travel quite a bit. If you had to narrow it down, which you do for the sake of this question, what would be your favorite country . . . besides the U.S.?
That is a real tough question. Based on food it would have to be Italy. The snow would be Japan. If I had to combine both I would say Argentina. The red wine and beef down there are fast food prices with Talisker quality. Plus, my teammate Alex Deibold and I found the best natural hip in the world just outside of San Martin de los Andes.
10. By winning the Grand Prix at Canyons you became the U.S. National Champion. What was it like getting that title and pulling on that green jacket, particularly since it all went down at Canyons?
It was unreal. It was mentally a tough event for me. I flew to Korea four days before the event for a World Cup. That event got cancelled so I literally spent 75 hours there, jumped on a plane, and took the 24 hour trip back. I missed the first day of training. Jet lagged and all, I spent all my free time with the local media and my parents who had flown into town for the event. After training I didn’t get out of my snowboard boots until 1am. I went on to fall both qualifying runs and post an unimpressive qualifying result of 22nd. I woke up on race day and said to myself, “I am just going to take my one run and watch the race. I am jus t not into it.” My first heat was stacked with X Games gold medalist, Nick Baumgartner, and X Games silver medalist, Kevin Hill. Nick made a mistake and I was able to battle from a bad gate. My confidence was high after that and the rest is history.
P.S. Give Jonny a follow: @TeamCheever