Shop Monkey: Kevin Mills from Big Dreams

THE UK'S SNOWBOARD EXPERTS TALK SHOP

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The UK’s snowboard shop workers are unsung heroes, with a vast wealth of knowledge about the sport and snowboard gear. We’ll be interviewing one of them every few weeks to get their take on all things shred-related. First up is Kevin Mills from Big Dreams in Dorset. 

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An Englishman’s dome is his castle…

Which shop do you work at?

Big Dreams snowboard specialists, Wareham, Dorset

How long have you worked there for?

“Worked” is a hard word to describe it! I’ve known Benny aka ‘Uncle Fester’ for about 13 years. I helped him set up the shop 10 years ago, and I get roped in every season to help with servicing and all the bits he cant be bothered to do!

What makes your shop way better than others?

We have a pool table as the shop’s centre piece! Nah, actually the wealth of knowledge that we all bring to the store. I think combined between us there is over 35 years of riding experience.

What’s your favourite place to ride?

Anywhere there is snow. But I’ve done 5 seasons in the Zillertal in Austria, so I guess that’s no 1.

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Kevin sending it. Photo: James North

Dome or dryslope and why?

Dryslope, cos it’s way cheaper. Domes are cool, but the features only last a few hits before the ruts set in. If you have a good snowflex kicker to ride you know every run how it will feel!

Graphics are a very personal choice… which are your pick of the bunch this season?

I’ve always loved Nitro boards as they have a dark edge to them, but as far as graphics go it doesn’t matter as long as the board is good.

If money were no object and you could pick your dream setup (board/boots/bindings), what would you go for this season and why?

The board has to be the one I have ridden for the last few seasons the Amplid Dopamine 156. It’s got rocker, a mellow flex and is so much fun. Plus it’s the cheapest in the range!

Whenever one of us is out we always make prank calls to the shop asking for spandex ski suits or snowblades.

Boots, I’m a Vans man. The Wiig boot is just the best, and laces all the way. Bindings are a tough choice, but the new Salomon Districts look amazing, and are super comfy. I’ve never been into the expensive gear. Cheap and cheerful gets the job done.

What look do you think will be the tits this winter and which are you going for? Any fresh new outerwear pieces that you just can’t stop trying on during your lunch break?

There is no fashion out in the backcountry. When it comes to outerwear I always choose Bonfire, its just the best value for money.

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Gettin high with a little help from his friends.

Which bit of tech are you most stoked on for 2013/2014?

The Salomon Hologram bindings, its a follow on from the Relay series.

Are bricks and mortar stores doomed to an existence of living in the shadow of online retailers? Can the two co-exist? 

Internet retailers are scum I think. They haven’t got the knowledge to sell items face to face so rely on deals and flashy website with offers to make a sale. Independent core shops are the best because you can talk to someone that has ridden the product and give you the best advice. We tried the internet thing but people know that popping down to the shop, chatting about rubbish snowboard stories and getting to see the gear is best thing to do.

What’s the strangest/craziest thing a customer has ever asked for?

Whenever one of us is out we always make prank calls to the shop asking for spandex ski suits or snowblades, but its always funny when someone buys a dodgy board from ebay that’s practically an antique and brings it in for a service. Most times the service will cost more than the board is worth!

Tell us a joke – extra props if it’s a monkey-related one!

More of a funny story really, but here goes. Many years back while at ISPO in Munich, we were driving back from the show to Austria, and I got pulled over buy the German cops. They see a battered old VW van full of English guys and assume the worse I guess. Anyway we get searched and Benny has a tiny bit of weed on him, so it’s off to the station to be given a proper telling off, when he starts giving the cops shit about them being skiers and snowbladers! Luckily they saw the funny side. Oh and Benny looks like a well shaved monkey, if that counts?

Check out Kevin’s shop Big Dreams Snowboarding, here.

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