Have you ever heard the term riding the white wave? It’s a way to link the process of snowboarding to surfing. But snowboarding is not surfing. Sure, they may have some commonalities, but Gray Thompson can’t stand the comparison. “I have a big problem with people viewing snowboarding as surfing or skateboarding,” says the California native. “To me, snowboarding is its own entity, we have these mountains, and this is our tool to be in this special environment.” The 27-year-old who has built a career in the industry has also paved his own path specifically dodging all traditional routes to the summit. From dishwasher to film producer to pro snowboarder to board shaper to mountaineer, he hasn’t been bashful about taking risks, and testing the boundaries of the industry on his own terms. “Keep the ball rolling and the doors open,” he says.
That gambling, hard work, and luck led to his partnership with friend, Eric Messier, spurring them to start Warp Wave, a creative collaboration that produced artsy, hi-fi style films that put snowboarding into experimental mode with the sounds, the shots, and the layout which is showcased in their dreamy film, Aurora Boardealis. More recently he has collaborated with friend, Max Hammer to start House Plant Creative, which Thompson says isn’t a “run of the mill production company,” focusing on storytelling, outdoor culture and sustainability. They produced The Range of Mystery, a film where a small group of splitboarders search for a mystic mountain range in Bolivia. In the near future the film Ducky Goes Up will be released, documenting Andrew Harris’ 2017 climb up the Grand Teton, helping to raise awareness in the Down Syndrome community. “The project with Bob has a powerful message behind it – being active and healthy, despite challenges,” says Thompson, who has embraced the idea of branching out to take on new projects that aren’t about snowboarding.