“If you were to ask a handful of Matt Gustafson’ colleagues and friends to choose some words to describe him, you may discover similar answers. Considerate, lively, inviting, and passionate about the things he chooses to involve himself in. I met Matt, aka Guf, many years ago at a House Boardshop snowboard event, and I can just remember this dude radiating enthusiasm and high-energy that was extremely contagious, to say the least. Guf is a kind-hearted character with a passion for inspiring the next generation of snowboarders into choosing their own path, through progression, leadership and simply being a well-rounded individual. This phrase is going to be used a handful of times in this series, but Guf is a true jack-of-all-trades here at The House Outdoor Gear, and you can be sure the next time you see him, you’ll be greeted with a heartwarming smile and a high five.” -Tanner B.

Title:
Content Strategist | Brand Ambassador
DOB:
11/12/1981
Hometown:
Alexandria, MN

So tell us about yourself.
Ha.  I’m tall for a snowboarder?

Tell us about your first experiences on snow? What made you want to start riding?
The first time I rode something like a snowboard was on a red plastic sled down a small hill in my cousin’s backyard.  We’d point it straight for hours, I must have been five years old or so.

My grandparents, uncles, and parents got me into skiing when I was six. Georgie Odio, Chris Runge, and Brandt Kuehl were all friends I met skiing, that transitioned into riding, and it looked more fun – I had to start. I rented a 92/93 151cm Burton Air and was so pissed that riding didn’t click as fast as I wanted it to. I’d hiked Big Ben at Andes Tower Hills because taking the lift took longer. Eventually, I figured it out and I’ve been riding four days a week since.

Guf’s goofy demeanor definitely doesn’t translate into his riding. Mean toe side carve at Copper Mtn. PHOTO:Stephan Jende

What is your current position with The House Outdoor Gear? How did you get into that?
Like a lot of my colleagues, I wear many hats.  Currently, I’m a Content Strategist and Brand Ambassador.  

After graduating high school in 2000, I moved to Minneapolis to study at The Art Institute International.  A friend of mine, Kyle Lunneborg, was working at the shop and he introduced me to Curt Schuler the Graphic Designer and Team Manager.  Curt put me on the shop team in 2000, and a few years later I started slangin’ decks on the sales floor and teching boards. In 2011 the House COO, Kris Magnusson, thought I’d be a good fit for a newly created marketing department position that needed to be filled.  I’ve been grinding here for a little over seven years.

Guff is for the children. 

What is your day to day like?
Ah!  Every day is different, but the first thing I do when I sit down is write three daily goals that need to be accomplished.  Items that are of utmost importance to the growth of the company and community.

The large scope is communicating the House story through inspiration, knowledge, and authenticity while increasing sales and enhancing the customer experience.  Mass scale collaborations that mold the ever-changing marketplace make project management a blast. Working with organizations and brands to benefit the all is a beautiful thing.

There are many moving parts to this machine, and I want to do more, to go deeper down the rabbit hole every day.

Tell us something you would to like to accomplish outside of your job? Any goals in the near future in snowboarding?
I want to continue strengthening the non-profit Vision Elite Sports and Thrash Camp that my wife Sarah and business partner Paul Miller founded in 2013. The organizations provide instruction outside of the resort lesson skill spectrum.  Vision Elite and Thrash Camp staff have helped thousands of kids learn tricks by providing an opportunity for riders to achieve their highest potential.

A newly set group of goals is to summit the highest peak of each state that is above 10,000’ – there are 13 total.  The first on the list is Mt. Hood (11,239’) and should be relatively easy.

As for snowboarding, I want to dial in Front Blunt Sameways and rip pow at Valdez, AK and Niseko, Japan.

What is your favorite part about working within the action sports industry?
Stakeholders have passion as a strong common thread.  Those who don’t have it stick out like a sore thumb. Testing and riding new gear is always nice.  Oh yeah – free gear, free gear is tight.

What is your least favorite part?
One of the most personally challenging parts is adhering to the hierarchy when projects sway from the direction they should go.  

Knee deep pow+Blue bird day= A happy Guff. PHOTO: Stephan Jende

Top 5 favorite snowboarders. Go.
This list changes all the time.  

    1. Terje Haakonsen
    2. Tom Gilles
    3. Igemar Backman
    4. Daniel Frank
    5. Jussi Oksanen

New school…Ben Ferguson, Mike Rav, and Jill Perkins

What is your favorite resort to ride in the Midwest? Favorite resort not in the Midwest?
Andes Tower Hills, Trollhaugen, and Hyland are my top three local resorts.  Each one has something special about it. Andes Tower Hills has and always will be my favorite resort in the world.  I grew up riding there, know it like the back of my hand, and 90% of the people there ski in jeans, camo, blaze orange, or snowmobile gear.  Trollhaugen has a lot more to offer than their perfect parks, the natural terrain is diverse and awesome. Hyland is the metro’s daycare center.  The ropes are fast, the tranny is tight, and there’s a million lines to create. Buck Hill gets an honorable mention, because of the early season wales and it’s one of the last places to ride a pipe.  When it’s freshly cut, it’s oh so good.

If I chose to ride domestically out of the midwest it’d be here…  Mt. Hood Meadows, Snow Summit, Mammoth, Telluride, Jackson, Loon, and/ or The Kanc (Lincoln, NH).

International Favorites:  Nevados de Chillan, Chile; Cardorna, New Zealand; Zermatt, Switzerland; and Folgaria Marrilleva, Italy.

Any advice for anyone who would want to get into working in the action sports industry?

  1. Get plugged in with your local shop – it’s the center of the universe.
  2. Define exactly what it is you want to do from within the industry.
  3. Educate yourself and become an expert in your desired field.
  4. Focus on accelerating your strengths.
  5. Network.  
  6. Ask smarter people more questions.
  7. Have gratitude and say thank you.
  8. Make opportunities, don’t wait for them.
  9. Be ambitious.  The ambitious recognize the ambitious.
  10. Get a mentor and be a mentor
  11. Show up and do the work.
  12. Offer assistance.
  13. Remind yourself that you’re not more important than anyone else.
  14. Smile.
  15. Network some more.
  16. Be patient.
  17. Write your goals down.
  18. Do your absolute best.

squad.

Anyone you’d like to thank?
The Creator of the heavens and the earth, everyone who’s offered support, advice, and guidance.  My list could go on forever.

Best advice you’ve ever received?
Be patient, do the work.

 

-Tanner B.

2018-08-30T18:00:54+00:00

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One Comment

  1. Stacia September 14, 2018 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    Great read! Nice job Tanner.

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