17-year-old snowboarding star Red Gerard may be incentivized to turn away from competition to pursue a path that could pay him up to $1 million per year

Scott Davis
red gerard
  • Many snowboarders are finding performing in snowboard films to be more lucrative than competition.
  • According to one report, taking part in films could pay $50,000 to, in extreme cases, $1 million per year.
  • U.S. snowboarder Red Gerard, who won gold at the Winter Olympics, has taken part in two films and has expressed a desire to do more.
  • As a breakout star in the sport, Gerard may decide to turn to filming rather than competing.

Red Gerard became a breakout star at the Winter Olympics when he won a gold medal in the snowboard slopestyle.

At just 17 years old, Gerard seems poised for future success, but as The Wall Street Journal's Brian Costa detailed, Gerard's career could take a different turn away from the Olympics.

According to Costa, not all snowboarders dream of Olympic competition the way athletes in other winter sports do. Aside from Shaun White, the most famous snowboarder in the world, and maybe Chloe Kim now, many do not find competition to be all that lucrative.

Instead, snowboarding for digital films has increasingly become a desired path for snowboarders. According to Costa, snowboarders who perform tricks for films can make anywhere between $50,000 a year to $1 million per year. Some films, Costa noted, sell online, other sells tickets for screenings, and some even have sponsors like Mountain Dew.

Gerard, now one of the biggest stars of the sport, could presumably draw a big pay day to take part in a film. According to Costa, he's already appeared in two.

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Additionally, there's a cultural aspect of snowboarding that doesn't promote competition. According to Costa, some snowboarders want to ride for themselves and perform more freely and creatively, away from the confines of judges and competitions. It could be part of why Shaun White's fierce competitiveness does not make him well-liked in the snowboarding community.

Gerard’s agent, Ryan Runke told Costa: "[Competition] is very regimented: What's going to impress a judge? It's cool, and they love it, but it's not the pure part of snowboarding. The pure part of snowboarding is out in the mountains with your friends. There's nothing that can compare to that."

Gerard himself didn't even sound hellbent on returning to the Olympics.

"After this, I want to go film snowboarding pretty badly and just take two years to do that and regather myself and see what I'm into," Gerard said, adding, "I'll find myself in three years and see where I'm at."

The success of White and Kim should still lead to plenty of snowboarders pursuing the sports' biggest competitions and dreaming of Olympic gold. For some, however, other avenues may be more appealing, and perhaps more financially beneficial.

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