In every profession there are people that force themselves to the forefront of the industry, with passion, talent and sheer determination.
Dan Brisse is one such person.
After entering the professional snowboard scene in 2006, Brisse has worked his way to being one of the most well-known names in the sport. In 2011, Brisse took the number three spot in Snowboarder magazine’s “10 best riders on earth.”
He also won the gold medal in last years X-Games “Real Snow” competition and it is his current focus for the season to win it again.
“I’d like the feeling of getting a repeat gold medal, so that is what I’m working on now,” Brisse said.
With his list of accomplishments growing by the season, Brisse is living his dream. But the dream did not happen from just relying on his talents. He has been nicknamed by some, “blue collar Brisse,” for his intense work ethic.
“You can have all the talent in the world, but if the work ethic isn’t there, I don’t see it being possible to make it,’ Brisse said. “You really have to want it; you have to have that burning desire. The guys that work hard will be successful and the others will get left in the dust.”
Coming from the mid-west town of Richmond, Minn., Brisse watched as other riders from his home state became the faces of the industry he loved. And he decided to get serious about breaking into the professional snowboard industry.
“I was in the tenth grade and I realized there were other guys from Minnesota, like, Bjorn Leines and Chad Otterstrom that were making it big and that’s when I decided that’s what I was going to do. So I ended up moving to Salt Lake in 2003,” Brisse said.
Justin Turkowski, Brisse’s friend and videographer, has firsthand experience with his work ethic and drive.
“I think Brisse has the hardest work ethic and motivation for his career than anyone I have worked with in snowboarding or in any industry,” Turkowski said. “He still has the excitement of a kid when it comes to snow or finding a feature he is excited about. I think the most important thing that he has though is his constant positive attitude.”
Making it to where Brisse is takes more than just his talents, it requires the work of his snowboard and film crews to make his video parts possible. From building jumps to moral support, he asks a lot of the guys working with him, but he is always looking out for them as well.
“Our work schedule is extended hours. We love what we are doing so those ‘extended’ hours usually don’t seem long. He respects crew members and usually asks, ‘What is the minimum number of hours you can sleep and still have sufficient energy,'” Turkowski said. “It is a running joke that for every 1 scoop of snow you will make, Brisse will make 3.”
Craig Stevenson, co-founder of Directive board shop in Logan, Utah, watched Brisse explode onto the snowboard scene; from Capita Snowboarding promotional videos, to several top snowboard videos including Absinthe Films “twe12ve,” and “NowHere.”
“He came on the scene out of nowhere and started blowing up when he started a new urban riding style of hitting drops and gaps on a new level,” Stevenson said. “He’s got a great work ethic, a lot of pros get some good shots or video parts and then just relax, but he keeps pushing it.”
Brisse has received industry-wide praise for his intense style; from the parking garage gap that Transworld Snowboarding named the “gap of death,” to “Chad’s gap,” in Little Cottonwood Canyon, he is creating a new standard of what it takes to survive as a professional snowboarder.
“I think my motivation is that feeling of once you get that trick and just remembering all the work that went into it. You have this imagination of what you want to do and then putting it down is what makes it worth it for me,” Brisse said.
You can follow Brisse at http://www.Facebook.com/danbrisse.
By Josh Ruggles. Sean O’Sullivan and Jessica Dunn contributed to this article. Photo courtesy of Justin Turkowski.