Vuarnet Fellow Forrest Shearer’s snowboard adventures around the globe—on some of the highest peaks and farthest unexplored regions—have made him one of the most prominent big mountain riders in the world. Brought up surfing and skateboarding in Southern California, Forrest now splits his time between the Wasatch Range of Utah and California’s high country of the Easter Sierras. When he’s not sending it down vertical walls of snow, he works to raise awareness for the environment and actively engages in the outdoor community to advocate for public lands, outdoor recreation, and lead the fight against global climate change.
All photos: Jean Louis de Heeckeren @dh_imagen
What has snowboarding taught you?
My professional snowboarding career has literally taught me everything in life. I owe so much to snowboarding and the mountains- you are a product of your environment. It has given me so many things that I've been able to directly apply to my life outside of snowboarding - mentorship and knowledge, resilience and respect, positivity and patience. Every aspect of snowboarding for me has been about constant learning and just trying to give back and share with my community and friends. It led me on this adventure through life to places I would have never imagined. A pathway I'm still on, a continued drive to build relationships and an openness to share these places that I love. Let's keep our mountain ecosystems thriving.
What are your hopes for the future of snowboarding?
Snowboarding is in a beautiful place. The community has gotten really big but I feel the core of it is still there. If you see a snowboarder on the mountain, we support each other and lift each other up. I hope snowboarding in years to come continues to have impact in the form of creativity and motivation to do something bigger than you. Whether you're nervous or excited, snowboarding is that vehicle to conquer your fears, go towards it and commit. Overall, the future of the sport is likely to see continued innovation and evolution, as well as a focus on sustainability and inclusivity.
What is the biggest challenge for the snowsports industry? Biggest opportunity?
Focused on the future, the biggest opportunity is getting more kids on snow. Making a solid effort to make our sport more inclusive and empowering local communities with established programs to make snowboarding accessible. Biggest challenges? The future of snow and getting more of the industry behind climate advocacy and caring about the future of snowboarding.
What positive progress have you seen in sustainability efforts in snowsports?
It really just starts with making quality products that last. Vuarnet has an incredible history of making the best glasses out there. Love to see the evolution integrating positive solutions - continuing to improve on materials with the least destructive impact on the planet. So rad!! As snowsports and active lifestyles continue to grow so are the environmentally conscious snowboarders and skiers. Paying an few extra bucks for solid craftsmanship and supporting brands that have core values that you can get behind can lead to more time having fun.
Innovations that you’re excited about?
As with many industries, there is a growing focus on sustainability in snowboarding. Scaling innovative ideas can't happen fast enough. Forever chemicals - moving away from harmful chemicals used in waterproofing to PFC-free gear, Circularity - once a user is finished with a product it goes back into the supply chain instead of the landfill. Shared open sourced ideas you can take inspiration from and adopt to create large scale changes.
Forrest's Favorite Gear