Atmosphere

Over the Hill

Nearing age 30, pro snowboarder JJ Thomas isn’t ready to get off the mountain—yet.

November 2010

In the world of action sports, the big 3-0 usually spells the twilight of an athlete’s career. After years of bone-shattering falls, tweaked muscles, and torn ligaments, it’s hard to keep up with the fearless teenagers and 20-year-olds. But don’t tell that to JJ Thomas, a pro snowboarder from Golden. After an illustrious decade-long career—which included a bronze medal at the 2002 Olympics—he’ll turn 30 in April and is still competing with the kids. “It’s strange that I seem to be the oldest dude out there,” Thomas says. “I swear it was yesterday when I was the youngest.”

At the 2010 Winter X Games in Aspen, Thomas was the oldest rider in the men’s superpipe field. He took fifth, behind four eventual 2010 Winter Olympians—who boasted an average age of 21. He also just missed out on the 2010 U.S. men’s Olympic halfpipe team, losing a tiebreaker to a 19-year-old. Despite all that, Thomas finished the season as the 2010 Dew Cup halfpipe overall champion. “Last winter was a fun one,” Thomas says. “I plan to keep it going.”

Although Thomas isn’t ready to retire, he is making plans for the future. He co-created the clothing line YEA.NICE. He’s also a part of MileHi, an electronic rock duo that plays at venues like the Gothic Theatre and the 3 Kings Tavern on South Broadway. “I figure I owe it to myself to keep riding,” Thomas says. “I’ve been doing it for so long. And my body is still feeling good, so why stop now?”