Eric Rasmussen—Raz to anyone who knows him—is an unsung hero of the upcoming Winter Olympics. The ski and snowboard technician at Boyne Country Sports in Petoskey was charged with tuning ten snowboards for Australian Olympian Torah Bright—a gold medalist in Vancouver and a sliver medalist in Sochi.
How did you come to tune for Torah Bright?
Torah’s chief technician is a guy named Mike Wagner—Wags—who is a rep for SWIX. He was in Vancouver during the last Olympics, and was working with snowboarders Shaun White and Seth Wescott. Wags met Torah out there, and she needed some help with her boards. So Wags contacted me about tuning up a few of her boards; the boards were express mailed from the manufacturer to Wags, then to me—I was in Petoskey—and then I mailed them to Vancouver.
Torah is competing in three events. Do all the boards receive the same treatment?
All the boards are different; I tuned ten boards, and she may end up riding only one. Of the ten I tuned, there are five sets of two, with each set being tuned for certain temperature and snow conditions. When we learn what the conditions will be, we’ll take the set that we’ve prepared to match those conditions and tweak both of the boards in the set—I won’t be there to do that. I tuned all of the boardercross boards, a couple half-pipe boards, and a slopestyle board; there are a lot more boards going that I don’t even know about.
Tuning a snowboard sounds more scientific than I thought
It’s pretty hard to explain what I do to people who aren’t familiar with snowboarding. There is a lot that goes into it—the structuring of the board has infinite possibilities. The cuts, the inclinations of the cuts, the grinding…they all affect how a snowboard will perform, especially when they’re being used at the sport’s highest levels.
What was it like to send the snowboards off? A little like sending Moses down the river, maybe?
You do have an attachment; I have a personal attachment to everything I work with. But, boy, I wish I could be there to make the final tweaks. It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of it, and I put as much into it as I could so Torah could go out and perform. It’s all about Torah—she’s the best in the world. I’m lucky to get to do what I do.
Watch Torah Bright compete in Sochi in these snowboarding events:
- Sunday, February 9th, 7 pm on NBC
- Wednesday, February 12th, 8pm on NBC
- Sunday, February 16th, 3 pm on NBC