Big Heir

Jesse Csincsak gives handouts in a hand-to-mouth sport

Rather than wait for sponsors to find them, a handful of riders have flipped the tables and become sponsors themselves. Danny Kass, winner of last month’s Vans Superpipe competition in Lake Tahoe, is one of the few riders who actually make a living at the sport. But he also sponsors his own team through his apparel company, Grenade Gloves.

Being your own sponsor has a certain “fuck you” appeal. “I got sick of trying to promote myself,” Csincsak says. “I got real tired of being the guy sending out riding photos, saying, ‘Hey, look at what I can do.'” So he tried something even more radical: He started a non-profit foundation to give money away to aspiring competitive snowboarders struggling to pay for their snow jones.

Csincsak, who is 26, moved to Breckenridge 7 years ago after falling in love with the town during a competition he attended while in high school. Any sane person with a goal of riding in the Olympics doesn’t stay long in eastern Ohio. “We don’t really have ski mountains,” he says. “It’s more like ski Garbage Dumps.”

Aside from the mountains, the first thing Csincsak noticed after moving west was the social stratum. “There’s two classes here — your rich and your not-rich,” he says. “There’s really no in-between.” He started giving away some of his ski days to more down-and-out friends. It felt good. So in 2001 he started J-SAK Snowboarding, a 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to giving handouts to deserving riders.

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