Austin Smith probably wore the The North Face Himalayan Suit more than any other athlete during the winter of 2017-18, but it wasn’t for climbing 8,000-meter peaks. The snowboarder spent half the season living out of a converted ’53 GMC firetruck in the parking lot of his home mountain, Mount Bachelor, and needed the suit, which he affectionately named Bernie, to stay warm in the sub-zero, gusty conditions he faced in early January. The idea of living a stone’s throw from the lift stemmed from a desire to get back to his roots, after eleven years of snowboarding professionally and chasing storms around the globe. The plan worked. Austin’s snowboarded every single day, no matter the conditions, gained a new appreciation for his backyard and found the peace of mind he was seeking.
When other kids were graduating high school, Austin Smith was traveling the world as a professional snowboarder. He bypassed the contest scene and jumped right into the coveted role of snowboard film star. In 2007, his first year filming with a major production company, he earned the closing segment in Mack Dawg's We're People Too and won both Rookie of The Year and Video Part of The Year honors from TransWorld SNOWboarding. After gaining a handful of major sponsors, Austin underwent two ACL reconstructions and almost two years off the hill. When he suffered a third consecutive ACL tear in 2011, he ignored it, filmed with a torn ACL and scored the opening part in Videograss’ Retrospect, one of his ten film appearances. Since then, the 30-year-old has kept the snowboarding world inspired and entertained through cover-gracing photos, sarcasm laced interviews, award winning film parts, magazine co-editing stints, iconic events and a brand supporting clean water.
During his injury rehab time, Austin co-founded Drink Water, an initiative turned brand in response to the influx of unhealthy energy drinks in action sports. The movement evolved from a message and merchandise (Austin and friend Bryan Fox printed t-shirts and stickers that said: Drink Water) gaining attention from The New York Times to an event production company and media house. Drink Water hosts two popular banked slalom events: Double Tap and Rat Race, which raise money for water.org, a non-profit working to bring safe water and sanitation to the world.