Gear Feature

Life at a Higher Altitude | Austen Sweetin and Miles Fallon

Quiksilver riders Austen Sweetin and Miles Fallon talk about the rush of snowboarding, sustainability and Quiksilver’s new ‘High Altitude’ line

We live in a world where people chase a constant high. We aim to reach an elevated state of mind — to live at higher altitudes — because it gives us a feeling like no other. There may be different ways to reach this, but in the end, we all end up in the same place and, as snowboarders, we know exactly how good it feels when you get there.

“We aim to reach an elevated state of mind, to live at higher altitudes because the feeling it gives us is like none other”

Living at higher altitudes is something Quiksilver team riders Austen Sweetin and Miles Fallon are no strangers to, hence why they’re back reppin’ Quiksilver’s ‘High Altitude’ collection for a second season.

Known for their captivating riding style and all-round good vibes, Austen and Miles sat down with us to chat about the rush of snowboarding, improving sustainability throughout the industry, and why they’re so stoked on the new Quiksilver ‘High Altitude’ line.

Austen no stranger to charging full hog down the mountain. Known as a bit of a speed demon, he finds snowboarding to be a good way for him to express himself. “Sometimes the best way to express yourself is to just let it all out, let loose, go crazy.”

Even when things don’t go to plan, there’s method to his madness. “I found that going fast and going big doesn’t always work out, but I feel like in snowboarding it’s about those moments when it all connects”, he explains. “It just makes me feel really good and it’s this feeling that I’m constantly chasing.”

“Sometimes the best way to express yourself is to just let it all out, let loose, go crazy”

His style is instantly recognisable. You could spot Sweetin across the mountain from the chairlift, and that high octane, electric energy found its calling once he strapped in. “Most of the time, I’m a pretty energetic person, and that probably translates into why I fell in love with riding boards as much as I do – it lets me express myself.”

Rocking a smile as big as Miles’s, he oozes stoke and positive vibes. Despite the year we’ve had, it doesn’t seem to have slowed Miles down, and he’s stoked on everything he and his friends got up to last winter.

“Together with his crew, Miles has put together a video project with the main focus on street riding”

“This past year has been really fun”, Miles tells us. “With everything going on, I was still able to do some cool projects with some friends. We filmed all year just in the states, travelling around, back and forth, west to east. I got to ride with my heroes, learn from them, and just soak it all up like a sponge”

Together with his crew, Miles has put together a video project with the main focus on street riding. However, we need to wait for a little while longer for the movie to drop, as it won’t be available online until the 1st of December 2022 – something to look forward to.

Living at higher altitudes comes naturally to these two, and both Miles and Austen are stoked to be part of Quiksilver’s High Altitude line for the second year in a row.

“Living at Higher Altitudes comes naturally to the two guys”

For this year’s ‘High Altitude’ edit, the guys headed up to the Snow King Resort in Jackson, WY.

“It’s our new favourite resort”, Austen says. “It’s literally got one lift and it goes straight to the top from the town. You can just walk there while getting a slice of pizza on the go”.

Apparently, the resorts overall terrain makes it the steepest one in North America – a no brainer for why the two riders found it to be so much fun.

“Miles and I spent two days there. Essentially we just tried to film everything. We did a lot of buddy boarding, going past each other, hitting jumps, carving in and out, moving through each other. I think people are going to get a good pump to go snowboarding. It’s like getting a cup of coffee to get you fired up on your way to the mountain”, Austen explains.

Bold colours, retro prints and a boxy oversized fit, Quiksilver’s ‘High Altitude’ line draws its origin from the brand’s 90s heritage and has been updated for today’s aesthetic. But what is it about the line that most appeals to Austen and Miles?

“We did a lot of buddy boarding, going past each other, hitting jumps, carving in and out, moving through each other”

Both guys are stoked on the use of Gore-Tex. Miles is also a big fan of the removable hoods, while he finds it easy to mix and match all the pieces of the collection, “All the pieces kind of go together. All the colours go and blend very well.” And, according to Austen, “There’s a little bit of flavour for everyone.”

Austen is currently rocking the Quiksilver Dominate Gore-Tex jacket and Snow Down Gore-Tex pants.

“I’m wearing the Gore-Tex kit. The pants are single colour, purple, and have got two pockets on the side. And honestly, it’s kind of all I need in a pair of pants.” Austen continues, “The Jacket is really lightweight. It’s Gore-Tex, it keeps things dry. It’s a good everyday kit.”

A personal favourite of Austen’s is the Flame On Fleece. “It is something that Thomas [Quiksilver’s snow product manager] and I have been working on for a couple of years. It’s got no cuffs so it’s nice on the wrist and it’s not tight on the neck either. It’s a loose-fitting, comfortable, fleece that fits very nicely underneath a jacket.”

As for Miles, you can see him cruising down the mountain in the Live Wire jacket and the Snow Down combo.

“I think it looks sick”, Miles responds when asked about the new collection. “It’s loud and inspired by the past. Every time I go up the hill, people keep on telling me it’s a dope kit.”

As part of Quiksilver’s ‘Surf the Mountain’ campaign, the ‘High Altitude’ line isn’t just about performance and style, but also about Quiksilver’s journey to push for a more sustainable future within the textile industry.

“A personal favourite of Austen’s is the Flame On Fleece”

This year 93% of Quiksilver’s outerwear assortment features sustainable components and by choosing to ride for a brand that values sustainable practices Austen and Miles are already making statements when it comes to their personal values. But it doesn’t end there, as both of them have their own ways of helping to keep Mother Nature happy.

“When I was younger me and my homey Mike Dalton started this beach clean-up,” Miles tells us. “I’m from the Jersey Shore so I grew up by the shore, surfing, and we just started doing it [picking up plastic on the beach] on the weekends – doing our part, trying to keep our local beaches and bays clean. It’s really sick to have a little community of people doing it.”

As a man who’s lived off the grid and goes on an annual litter picking trip around the Vancouver Islands, Austen is very modest about his way of life – even if we find his efforts to be quite impressive.

“I mean, I do a lot of things on a smaller scale,” he says. “I’m probably not going to change the world but I can change my lifestyle to help a small part of the world to move in the right direction.”

Once a year, Austen, his fiancé [Robin Van Gyn] and their friends take a boat out on Vancouver Island. “We go to all these islands which are essentially uninhabited”, he tells us and continues, “We clean up as much of the trash as we can fit into the boat and then dispose of it best we can.”

Austen also decided to live off the grid for a few years, which came with its own challenges. “It was a cool thing to try. We used rain captured water, a compostable toilet and had a fully solar panelled home. Moving into a more normal house after an experience like that has definitely made me more aware of turning off lights and trying not to waste water. When living off the grid you come across a lot of power management, which made me realise that we probably waste an absurd amount of energy and water.”

“When living off the grid you come across a lot of power management, which made me realise that we probably waste an absurd amount of energy and water”

Austen is a huge advocate of the ‘look good, feel good, ride good’ mantra, which is why he appreciates Quiksilver’s outerwear being made out of plastic bottles. “They’re a company that supports me and what I support through snowboarding. It makes me feel really good and I like that”

Chasing a constant high, living at a higher altitude, has become the new way of living. And, in the end, I’d dare to say that the majority of us stuck with snowboarding because of the rush it gives us. It makes us feel alive, and that feeling is worth chasing.

Keep your eyes peeled for the second part of the series with Travis Rice, Bryan Fox, Austen Sweetin and Miles Fallon who discuss the new Quiksilver ‘Surf the Mountain’ campaign amongst other things.

In the meanwhile, make sure to check out Austen’s latest edit, the ‘Wind Slab’. to get you pumped for the winter and to see how the ‘High Altitude’ collection looks like in motion.

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