A Bachelor’s Degree in Radical – Matt Sterbenz Interview

4FRNT's Matt Sterbenz talks about the Shreddership

Interview by Mike Rogge



Hey Sterbenz, how’s it going?
Things are going fairly well. We’re delivering skis to early ship customers now. While that’s going on in one side of the warehouse, the other side is full on ski factory with Cody, Eric and I pressin’ em out. The shops near completion and we’re busy writing a lot of emails this time of year.

Nice, man. Let’s get right to it, what’s the 4frnt Shreddership contest?
The Shreddership is a combination of a scholarship and a sponsorship. The basic idea is that we are giving away a product sponsorship to a college student that is based 50% on skiing and 50% on their academic record. Choosing to pursue your education is a lot of times seen as sacrificing your dreams of skiing every day, or becoming the next film star. We know that isn’t the case, and want to recognize those people that have made the decision to stay in school.

Being in Salt Lake City gives us a really good perspective on this. Not only are we within an hour of the best skiing in the world, but we also have two major Universities within a few minutes drive (University of Utah and BYU). There is a really strong skier/student culture here that you see every time you walk on campus, or hop on a tram. By tapping into this, I think we are going to be surprised at how many ridiculous skiers are out there who still manage to be accomplished students.


The initial round will be judged separately on an academic application and on a “sponsor me” video. Both will be weighted 50%. The finalists will be judged based on the totality of their application, and by all of the “intangibles” that are harder to measure.


Where can interested potential applicants apply?
Anyone interested in learning more about the Shreddership can go to http://www.4frnt.com/index.php/en/shreddership to see all the rules and requirements. Finished applications can be sent to contests@4frnt.com.


What do they win?
The winner will get a one-year product sponsorship from 4FRNT.


Do you think we should give a free Powder subscription to the winner? You know, because reading is good for you and all.
A free year of Powder would be a great addition to the Shreddership. I know most of us here at 4FRNT spent a lot of class time reading Powder on the sly. If we got subscriptions for the final 4, I think kids would be stoked on it.
(Note: The final 4 will receive a complimentary year’s subscription to Powder Mag)


Why was it important for you to incorporate the academic portion into the contest?
Year after year, I think everyone witnesses, in pure amazement, how quickly skiing is progressing in style, tech, aggressiveness and fluidity. If we were to host a sponsorship scholarship on skiing alone, we’d get a response similar to what we already have. Shredders sending in vids, each with their own editing and music flavor, all really well done and difficult to pick out of. With an academic component, we get to learn more about the skier, their mindset and a bit more about what type of marketing value they can bring. It also solidifies our moral interests to see our team riders excel in life, not just skiing.


What makes you qualified to read these entries? Did you go to college?
I did. That alone doesn’t make me qualified however. The people that we feel are qualified to review these proposals are those that are already living the balance. Yes, some of those people would be me and others on our team, but also some of them are not 4FRNT people. When the idea came around, and we started talking about how to judge this contest, we immediately looked out to the field of peers we have in the ski industry non-related to 4FRNT that did pursue education and also made it athletically. It was a surprise to all of us how few of people out there actually are killing on the slopes with a degree and with that knowledge, the contest was born.


What do you think the most difficult part of balancing a ski career and school is?
Daydreaming. When you are on the hill, you’re thinking about getting home in-time to eat, study and wake up for tomorrow’s test. This complicates the focus you need to be spending on the hill – since you are already there and skiing at the time. Then when you are in class, you’re looking at the storm coming in, the hall pass you intend to take for yourself for early turns the next day and then the bell rings, you don’t know what you were supposed to do for homework. And that quiz at the end of the week? Yeah…you probably didn’t catch that either.


And finally, this is a bit off-topic but is it true Hoji and Cody are hand making every pair of Hoji’s new pro model in the 4FRNT factory?
(Sterbenz sent this future ad to me as his answer)


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