Tommie Bennett is a versatile 32-year-old snowboarder from Edwards, Colorado. Tommie has been snowboarding for the better part of 25 years and maintains a steady focus on multiple aspects of the sport at once. Whether he is in the park, riding groomers, or finding hidden pow-stashes, Tommie is consistently working on becoming the best snowboarder he can be and works hard to improve the riding of those around him. I interviewed Tommie to discuss his snowboarding journey and what his next steps are.
Tommie started snowboarding when he was just a few years old and was heavily influenced by his father and brother. His father, a skier, allowed and encouraged him to start his career on the Arrowhead side of Beaver Creek, just a few minutes away from Edwards and one of Colorado’s “best-kept secrets.” His older brother, who started snowboarding a year before him, was also an early role model and a significant reason why he started snowboarding at such a young age. Tommie only took one lesson as a kid and has since taught himself everything from the fundamentals of carving to the specifics of flipping and rotating. Watching professional athletes like Travis Rice and Scotty Lago have greatly contributed to Tommie’s versatility and creativity on the mountain.
Over the past couple of seasons, Tommie’s main goal has been to create an educational platform for all levels of the snowboarding community. To do this, he uses several social media outlets, including Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, where he has amassed nearly 150,000 followers. On his Instagram page, Tommie posts videos of unique tricks that he then slows down, shows from different angles, and thoroughly writes about in his caption. Whether it is a flip, rotation, butter, or rail-trick, Tommie makes sure to provide a very well-thought-out caption that provides a step-by-step analysis of how to complete that specific trick.
On his TikTok, Tommie posts similar content but uses voiceovers rather than captions to explain his tricks. Tommie is a highly creative snowboarder, and TikTok allows him to express this while encouraging others to learn through their own creativity and fundamentals. Additionally, his YouTube is a place to find more extended, more detailed tutorials, walk-throughs, vlogs, reviews, and podcasts. Across social media, Tommie uploads a wide variety of education-based snowboarding content.
Tommie became motivated to educate other snowboarders based on his previous experiences in the industry. After working for several snowboard instructing and coaching agencies, he realized that he brought much more to the table than the organizations valued him for. So, he decided to create his own training program and “live and die by his sword.” Now, having a significant online presence, Tommie stated that his main goal in terms of social media for the upcoming season is to “get the content to be better [in general], fine-tune what I’m already doing, and step it up one with royalty-free music…and high-quality footage.”
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Another major venture that Tommie has been concentrating on is his Benetek Snow Goggles startup company. Tommie believes that being able to effectively read and understand the shadows and contrasts in the snow, as well as the bumps and moguls, is one of the most important aspects of riding and can drastically improve a snowboarder’s or skier’s capabilities. For example, Tommie likes to 360 into mogul fields, but without a nice pair of goggles, it is harder to spot the bumpy landing, and the trick becomes more difficult. Tommie has ridden with all types of goggles, from cheap handed-down pairs to Smith Optics and Oakley. He stated that higher-quality lenses crucially offer a wider field of view, a longer life span, anti-fog technology, and more profound color contrast throughout the snowy terrain. Additionally, Tommie said that he started a google company to become more familiar and in touch with the production and business market of snowboarding:
“[It is important to] understand the manufacturing side of snowboarding. Our snowboard industry relies on so much of manufacturing to actually have the equipment to ride with.”
Tommie’s ultimate goal for Benetek is to compete with the top goggle brands and incorporate his story and education within other riders. Snowy, low-light days on the mountain can make it hard to ride at a high level, but a nice pair of lenses instill “a level of confidence that comes from being able to see and by looking good.” Function and fashion are a significant part of Tommie’s style on the mountain, and being able to make a direct, firsthand difference in the way other people ride has motivated him to take this route.
According to Tommie, there are three reasons why individuals choose to quit snowboarding: “They don’t have friends to ride with, they’re not progressing, or they get hurt.” Following seasons of injuries, including a broken back, broken wrists, thumbs, and ankles, and having suffered from multiple concussions, Tommie decided to take a step back from the competitive side of the sport and direct his energy towards reducing and eventually eliminating these three reasons as to why people quit. Through his social media pages, Benetek, and actually riding every day of the winter season, Tommie has been working relentlessly to create the best platform possible for snowboarders to connect, gain confidence, and ride by the fundamentals to avoid injury.
Some of the best advice that he gave is to maintain a snowboarding mindset throughout the summer. For Tommie, the best ways to do this are to ride throughout the summer at places like Mount Hood, Big Snow, or even in the backcountry. If riding in the summer isn’t a possibility for someone, he says it is crucial to focus on other training regiments such as range of motion and mechanics, strength training, endurance, and fundamental movements. Whether through hitting the gym, riding a skateboard, using a trampoline, or building makeshift rails, there are countless options for summer training that Tommie values.
Tommie is a selfless snowboarder and embodies everything right about the sport. He is both the teacher and the student and continues to work on his progression from a fundamental perspective. His favorite trick, a backside 360 seatbelt/crail, perfectly represents the educational style of his riding. The spin and grab completely contradict each other, making the trick unique and challenging to understand, but with the correct focus, attention to detail, technique, and fundamentals, it can be easier than expected.
Talking with Tommie was a fantastic experience, and getting to hear his story firsthand helped me understand the deeper meaning of snowboarding. In its essence, snowboarding is a community-based sport that revolves around the fundamentals and having an enjoyable time no matter what level a rider might be. At the end of the interview, Tommie gave a shout-out to his loyal supporters, who have been showing love since day one. He promised to continue educating the snowboard community and improving his content one day at a time.
TikTok – @tommieb
YouTube – Tommie Bennett
Benetek Kickstarter (now closed)