John Logic built a life and lifestyle our 14-year-old selves could have only dreamt of. From a career as a radio disc jockey and opening Seattle’s first snowboard shop, Snowboard Connection, to uniting a community, John helped pioneer an industry that many thought and hoped was just a phase. For those of you who were out of diapers in 1990, you will know that there weren’t a lot of snowboard shops then, and starting a career in the snowboard industry was more akin to setting off to prospect for gold than a job change. There is a cliché saying that with big risk comes big reward, and in John’s case it came true in so many ways. It’s trailblazers like John who really show us that anything is possible, and if someone tells you that it’s not, you should do everything in your power to follow your heart, your 40-year-old self will thank you later.
We recently sat down with John over a beer and burger, and if you’ve never met John, remember he was once a radio disc jockey. Imagine the most articulate, booming, interesting ramble you could ever bear witness to. That pretty much described our two-hour meal with John. Coming in with a script and an outline was futile; his stories were full and plenty. Starting at the very beginning, we were able to carve our way through to when doors just opened for Snowboard Connection and the leaps of faith he made in the process. We suspect that this is just the beginning of an epic saga.
We’ve selectively pulled out a few of our favorite anecdotes from our conversation in case you don’t have time to listen to the entire podcast.
On Meeting Craig Kelly in an Elevator
In 1992, John went to the World Snowboarding Championships in Breckenridge, CO, where a chance encounter in an elevator spurred his action to open a new store, a thousand miles away.
‘I was in the hotel lobby and I got in the elevator with Craig Kelly. I knew who he was and I recognized him. It was just he and I in this elevator, and I just had to say, “I want open a snowboard shop. Where do you think I should open a shop?”
And Craig thinks for just a second and says, “I think Seattle would be a good place. They could use a good snowboard shop.”
He got out at his floor and I went down to the lobby, went to a payphone, called my girlfriend Lisa and said, “I just met Craig Kelly and we’re moving to Seattle. We’re going to open a store in Seattle.”’ <Podcast 5:10 – 6:00>
On Working in Radio
Before ever opening a snowboard shop, John worked in radio. After heading up to interview for a job in Medford, OR, he learned a thing about his life’s priorities.
‘I was bouncing around, trying to find radio work. I kept going up to San Francisco to try to get on LIVE 105. I was doing these different shifts and trying out these different comedy shows. At the point I decided to move and open a store, I was actually called by some friends who were working at a radio station in Medford, OR—KBOY. K-boy. “Bring the boy to work with you. Noontime specials.”
They were like, “Come on up and work at this radio station with us.”
It was two guys that I worked with in LA, Wild Bill Scott and a guy named Brian…oh and a really crazy guy that was like a “Shock Jock”, but he was kind of psycho. So I drove up to Medford, OR, and brought my snowboard along the way. I stopped at Shasta and snowboarded there, made it to Medford. They wanted me to be the News Director. They introduced me to the news director they were going to fire—who didn’t know he was getting fired. They told him I was just there to do some weekend work. He seemed like a nice enough guy…had a wife and two kids. He was making $5 an hour and they were going to pay me $6 an hour.
I had cruised around Medford a bit before I got there, so I said, “Why don’t you just give that guy $6 an hour? I think I should just keep driving.”
They were like, “Oh…okay. Well…can you work this weekend?” So I worked three shifts in exchange for lift tickets to Mt. Ashland.’ <Podcast 11:45 – 14:10>
On His First Time Attending the Las Vegas SIA Tradeshow
Long before everyone had cell phones, you had to trust that they’d remember their promises. After driving hundreds of miles to attend the SIA snowsports tradeshow in Las Vegas, John had to hope that an offer proposed days before still stood.
‘“Meet me in Las Vegas, there’s a show called SIA. Meet me in the parking lot of the Sands Theater.” So I drove to Reno, saw a radio friend there, he had tickets to some mountain and we did a day of snowboarding. Then I drove straight to Vegas and drove to the Sands parking lot, and just sat on the hood of my car and waited for Marshall to pull up, then walked around the show with him. That was March of 1990. We walked around and he introduced me to people. He was like, “This is John, and he’s going to open a store for me.
I’d be like, “Ya, that’s right. I’m gonna open a store for him…somewhere…maybe.”’ <Podcast 14:45 – 16:30>
Full of interesting and funny stories, getting a chance to talk to John Logic is always a treat. Be sure to listen to the entire podcast for even more stories about sleeping at the YMCA and how John and his grandpa slept on stacks of plywood during the build out of the first Snowboard Connection.
Listen to the full podcast: