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Under the Sun With: Snowboarder Jordan Small

Under the Sun With: Snowboarder Jordan Small

In our Under the Sun series, we catch up with Vertra ambassadors to learn where they feel most at home outside. For snowboarder Jordan Small, it’s Bear Mountain. 

Growing up, Southern California was Jordan Small’s playground. 

Starting in early elementary school, you’d most often find him skateboarding with his older brother and cousins, tackling ramps his dad built in their garage, or hitting the beach to ride the waves. When winter weekends rolled in, though, the Small family headed to Bear Mountain to snowboard.

“Where I grew up, you’re instilled with action sports early on—every kid’s skating, surfing, snowboarding alongside or instead of mainstream sports like baseball or soccer,” Jordan says.

Early on, Jordan dreamed of becoming a pro skateboarder. But his dream shifted as his love of snowboarding and skill grew while tackling Bear Mountain—considered to be the most dedicated park for snowboarders in the world. It was on Bear’s notorious and vast terrain parks that Jordan developed his dynamic street style of snowboarding, navigating wallrides, mini jumps, hips, snakeruns, rails, and other freestyle elements. 

During his freshman year of high school, sponsors took notice. “I got my first paycheck, and I thought, I could make a career out of this,” he says. 

And so he did. Jordan has been snowboarding for a living for the past 15 years, officially going Pro in 2021. Vertra recently caught up with him to hear about his career, the role Bear Mountain has played in his life, and what’s next for him as a snowboarder, burger pop-up shop owner, and future dad.

Vertra: Can you talk about what Bear Mountain means to you—any fun memories to share? 

Jordan: Bear is like home to me. It’s where my career started and where it all came together for me. And it's just one of the most fun parks on the planet. It’s such a special place up there in the snowboarding world.

I have core memories as a little kid driving up the mountain road, so stoked in the backseat of my dad's Suburban—just ecstatic. I loved piling into the car with my cousins and brother and heading up for the day. Later on, I lived up there for seven winters. My buddies and I would get a house every winter. We would just film, ride, edit. It was mayhem and a good time. Too many memories to recount from those days.

Being on the mountain, it's bliss. Crisp, clean, no rules—nothing to guide you. Just you and your crew having some fun. You got all your homies there, and it feels like you could do anything.  

For those who don’t snowboard or haven’t been to Bear, how would you describe why the park is such a famous destination for snowboarders? 

Jordan: Bear originated the snowboard park. It's got that reputation and it lives up to it. It has a crazy number of freestyle elements that make snowboarding more aggressive and fun, and the crew there is always changing it up at the park. There aren’t many places where 98% of the days are sunny and perfect weather. It's just one of those special places that every snowboarder needs to experience. 

Vertra: Do you have a favorite spot in the park?

Jordan: The best chair is Chair 9 in the main park run. You ride above the park the whole way up, and you watch everyone when you're going over—you watch your homies do some sick stuff. And then you just kill it on the way down. Chair 9, that’s the spot. 

Vertra: You’re known as a street-style snowboarder—what does that mean exactly?

Jordan: Street-style snowboarding is super fun. It’s my favorite thing, but it’s definitely not as well known. Everyone who thinks of snowboarding pictures mountains and powder and riding lifts, but street snowboarding is more aggressive, more urban, and more expressive. I’ve always had this type of style since I grew up at Bear, and you're pretty much forced into riding rails, and hitting walls. It’s an artistic way of riding, and it's super gnarly at the same time.

Vertra: In addition to being a skater and snowboarder, you’re a surfer. I’ve seen a film or two online where you’re doing the SoCal Trifecta (skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding all in one day). What role does surfing play in your life?

I didn’t start fully surfing until a little later, like middle school, but the ocean was always part of my life. As I got older, I started surfing more and more. And now surfing is my favorite thing to do. It's taking over skating and snowboarding. 

Conquering the trifecta is definitely a novelty day that me and the homies will do every once in a while. We'll either start up in the mountains and then come home and surf and then go skate. Or surf super early, head up to Bear, and hit the skate park in the evening. We pull a trifecta once a season just for the fun of it.

Vertra: You’ve been a Vertra ambassador for a few years now. How did you first learn about our products and what do you like about them?

My buddy (and fellow professional snowboarder) JP Walker introduced me to Vertra and gave me one of the face sticks. I immediately loved the Invisible Face Stick. I haven’t found any other clear face stick that holds up the same way. 

I’ve found that Vertra sticks last, even when you’re in snow or water. I was used to sunscreen just coming off immediately in the water, but I’ll put Vertra on and still have it on me after a three-hour surf session*. You can tell it's just good quality—smells good, feels good, which I’m about. If I'm going to use a product or represent a brand, I want to make sure I love it. 

* Vertra recommends re-applying every two hours for best results.

Vertra: We love to hear it. In terms of what’s next for you, social media tells us you’ll be a dad soon—are you already daydreaming of taking your daughter out to Bear?

I can’t wait to become a dad. I got her snowboard ready, her skateboard ready, her bike ready. She’s going to come out of the womb ripping for sure. I definitely want to instill the SoCal lifestyle into her. I’m not going to push her. I just want to give her the opportunity to fall in love with the sports like I did. I have a feeling, though, that she’s going to be just like me. We’re going to do it all. 


Fast facts: Jordan Small

Location: San Clemente, California

Age: 31

Occupation: Pro snowboarder

Other hobbies: Surfing, skateboarding, running pop-up burger shop SMALLS Smash Burgers

Go-to Vertra product: Invisible Face Stick SPF 45 

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