As we begin ramping up for the season, were excited to welcome a key individual to our team. Our new Terrain Parks Manager Matty Reinhardt. Matty is coming back to Mountain Creek where he started in the industry after several year’s of living in Korea, where he immersed himself in the snowboard scene there an most recently worked on the Olympic Crew for the Pyeongchang Winter Games last season. We took some time to get reacquainted with Matty and his journey that has led him back to Mountain Creek. Here’s what he had to say...
Jackie: Matt, Matty, Matthew- which do you prefer?
Matty: Most people call me Matty so that works.
J: Well then… Matty it is! So where are you originally from Matty?
M: Originally, I’m from Highland Lakes, right here in Vernon, but my family moved to Warwick while I was growing up and I graduated from Warwick High School.
J: Ok, so.. you grew up in the area. What can you tell us about your childhood/first experiences on snow?
M: Vernon was my childhood, I remember skiing every day when I was younger and making that essential switch to snowboarding as it was becoming more popular and by 1989 my brother and I both had snowboards. I was 9, my brother was 11. There were only a handful of snowboarders at Vernon Valley, less than 20. I remember being on the mountain and someone stopped to ask me ‘What is that?’ They had never seen a snowboard before and that was pretty common. It was becoming more popular every day but obviously more popular out West or up in Vermont. So, we started when snowboarding was in the very beginning in New Jersey. It was cool to see snowboarding create this heavy culture that not many knew about at the time. This was about 1991.
I originally wanted to snowboard because my brother and I were skateboarders. We were fortunate enough to get Thrasher Magazine sold out of the Highland Lakes General Store and that was pretty sick. It was the holy grail for us. And in Thrasher Magazine was where we saw our first snowboard ad around 1985 and we immediately wanted to know what it was. We were drawn to it and the imagery they were using. We were beyond excited, but it wasn’t until about 3 years later that my father found 2 Kemper Snowboards at the Vernon Valley Ski Swap. I was younger, so my job was to keep up with the older guys. Many of these guys we were riding with were already sponsored by big companies and would later become pro like Bryan Reilly and his brother Mark, Kevin Whitehead, and Bryan Regis. They were my brothers’ friends, so I was following them around for years. All 4 of them eventually went on to compete, film, land magazine appearances, and were all sponsored for quite some time.
J: So, you were snowboarding for fun, but how/when did you start working in the industry?
M: I started at 19, right here at Mountain Creek. Mountain Creek was the new name for what was formerly Vernon Valley so about 1998 to be exact. I was in school and decided I wanted to become a snowboard instructor. I worked the winter of 1999-2000 and absolutely loved it. My next move was to Breckenridge in 01-02. I was an instructor there as well and got to experience the big mountain town. From there, I was traveling towards Mammoth and hit Summit County in Colorado and put a halt on my travels and stayed. Then I went to Heavenly in Lake Tahoe and landed back at Mountain Creek in 2005. I was checking park passes at the top of Great Northern the year of the Grand Prix where the Olympic team was named.
J:. Traveling, working.. what was your next move?
M: I worked here at Mountain Creek until around 2012 as an Instructor and on Park Crew, and then I made a huge move to South Korea to teach English. I was spending my weekends snowboarding with all of these new friends I had made. I had walked into a Snowboard Shop there and the manager was Korean-American and took me riding on my first day and I immediately noticed the similarities to Mountain Creek (same climate, similar sized mountains). I originally went in there because I needed a board and he said he wanted to talk to the shop owner about sponsoring me. He whipped out a Korean sponsorship contract and I was totally stoked but also a little concerned. I had to translate all of it and I signed off that I would let them know whenever I was filming or shooting photos. I went on to compete in several contests out there like Grenade Games Korea in 2011 where I took 3rd place in the rail jam section, Van’s Hi Standard and then in 2018 the Olympics rolled in. I had a friend who was on Park Crew at Phoenix Snow Park/Bokwang Pheonix Park and their Pipe Crew needed one more guy, so I volunteered. And let me tell you, what an incredible experience. We worked on the pipe from beginning until the end and seeing it turn into such an insane venue was really incredible. We were cleaning everything up and all of the sudden we were rubbing elbows with Shaun White, Ayumu Hirano, Scotty James, Ben Ferguson and all those guys while they were practicing. We watched them training for 3 days, then got to see all of the females like Chloe Kim, Kelly Clark, Haruna Matsumota and all the rest. It was totally awesome. Working on the pipe was just a once in a lifetime experience. Totally life changing.
J: Wow, that’s super cool. Definitely life changing. So now you’re back in the USA and taking on a new role here at Mountain Creek.
M: Yes, Terrain Parks Manager, and I’m super excited to be back home and to bring everything I’ve seen in my travels back here to my home mountain.
J: What are some of your plans/goals for Mountain Creek Terrain Parks this winter?
M: My plans… Number 1 is to set up a Terrain Park that flows with a high emphasis on the terrain we have. It’s unique and we need to embrace it. Think banked walls and transition. We want to get to a place where changing out features weekly is achievable. I’ll be organizing all of our builds, so we can get things moved around, rotated so you’ll see fresh set ups frequently and catch a nice surprise here and there.
I have a lot of work to do, but we’re going to try and re-vibe the culture if you will. This will be my first winter since 11-12 here in Jersey. I was here in the beginning when all we had were side cut jumps, we were jibbing snowmaking pipes and were dragging the occasional picnic table out onto the snow. Everything is so different now and the potential is there for Creek, so I know we can make it happen and bring that culture back.
J: I’m with ya. Hard work and dedication. *fist pound* So we talked about a lot, but I still have some really important questions. Give me a random fact about you?
M: I was able to ride the Olympic Slopestyle course about 20 minutes after the ski slopestyle ended and it was sick. Got to hit the wall ride, get a photo. That was cool
J: What’s your favorite Food?
M: Definitely New York Pizza, but Highland General Store in Vernon is my go-to for anything.
J: Who’s your favorite skier/rider of all time?
M: Either Jamie Lynn or Bryan Iguchi.
J: Solid choices. Favorite feature and favorite trick?
M: Definitely a Wall Ride. And a stylish backside 180.
J: Favorite ski/snowboard film?
M: TB2 a New Way of Thinking by Standard Films with Jamie Lynn, Terje Haakonsen and those guys.
J: Classic. I like it. When you’re not working.. where can we find you?
M: I hike a lot. I also cross-country mountain bike in the off-season. My favorite hike would have to be the Stairway to Heaven on the Appalachian Trail. Nice views, nice little workout.
J: OK, as we’re winding down I’d love to know something that excited you the most about this upcoming season.
M: I am just excited to make Creek fun again. I know I haven’t been here for a little so I’m excited to bring a good culture back and get people excited about shredding in New Jersey again.
We’re excited to have Matty on board for an awesome season ahead. Look out for improvements in the Terrain Park and make sure you say what’s up if you see him around. If you want to keep up with what Matty is up to give him a follow in Instagram at @yeomatty and be sure to follow Mountain Creek Terrain Parks at @mountaincreekparks.