Are you hungry for adventure and connection? Episode 372 of The Outdoor Biz Podcast features former pro snowboarder and Saturday’s co-founder Josh Rosen. As host of Huckberry’s recently launched series DIRT, Josh shares how the show reconnects and inspires viewers to explore the world of adventure, the outdoors, and cooking in the wild, their backyards, and homes. It is currently streaming on Huckberry and YouTube.
How’d you get connected with Huckberry?
Yeah, it’s been a really lovely, Experience with Huckberry.
Initially, we worked on a project where, Kate West, who’s the content director over at Huckberry, reached out to me cuz she had been in New York when I was there and worked for a nonprofit, bringing kids out. To the beach to surf and up into the mountains to snowboard from the inner city, which was really cool.
And we helped out with that and, in any capacity we could, at Saturdays. And she had moved on and started working in Huckberry and asked if I was interested in doing, it’s, they sell a really amazing, product called the, 72-hour shirt. Oh yeah. Which is this, it’s. All the bells and whistles, antimicrobials, sweat, wicking, all that great stuff.
But you’re gonna essentially wear it and do anything you want for a couple of days, without a wash. So it’s a great shirt to camp with and literally anything you’re getting into.
So before we get to the show, tell us about your cooking chat. Yeah, sure. Is that why you’re there?
it’s interesting because the show always starts with meeting a chef, okay? And the chef always asks or has, so far, are you a chef? Okay. And my answer and the first time I was asked that my response was, No. I’m just a cooking enthusiast. I’m a food enthusiast.
So how did the idea for dirt come to life?
So Kate West came to Seattle to do this article for Huckberry with me about wearing the shirt. And we went out for 72 hours. It’s the 72-hour shirt. And so that’s the deal. It’s like a, what can you do with this shirt in 72 hours? And I loved that task because I have always love to see how many activities I can accomplish in a day, so they came out and we went out to one of the San Juan Islands, which is our little chain of islands out here in the sound, beautiful spot.
And it’s a special place for sure. . , absolutely gorgeous. And we just, we went nuts. We did, the list is long, but we had these amazing couple of days, and somewhere in, in that time I posed to Kate that I had this idea for a food adventure show where essentially we do what we do on dirt, which is that we go to a place we meet with a chef, or the initial idea could also have been like a, somebody who’s very connected to food in that city. And we got some information and that kind of set us off on our journey.
How is this show different than other adventure travel shows?
I think it’s interesting. It’s like until you work in a, you don’t really look at that space that deeply, and after working in this space over the last year and l going around and looking at other adventured shows or on, things like YouTube catching cooks or food, food adventure pieces. It just feels. A lot of those shows and, nothing against them. There are some really great ones out there. We’re really about the chef or the host.
So what goes into deciding where to go? Is it driven by the food sources, the sustainability?
It’s a great question and I think we started in Seattle with no real distinct plan of where we were gonna go next because it was the trial episode and it was I think it was meeting with the people around, in that first episode in Seattle or at Washington State that we realized we can go anywhere. It was really liberating, right? Because initially maybe you gotta go to these really important big cities or, it was, we, there was a lot of discussions, but really it’s we can go anywhere.
We have and we’ve gone to New York cities, this last one, but we were in Minneapolis, and then we were in New Orleans and then, you know, there’s. , there are amazing things happening everywhere. Yeah. It’s just about going and looking and so we I think for us, a balance of places that are very obvious, like a New York City mixed with places like Minneapolis that are not necessarily places you like first on your list to visit.
If you have a weekend off then of course like it’s important that the product that Huckberry. is selling in the season. I’m very connected to that.
So you don’t actually work at Huckberry, but tell me about the brand. Was your perception of it beforehand and after you started working on the show? Did it change?
It was a great beginning to it because I told you, I, I worked with on. Photoshoot with about the 72-hour shirt. I’ve always been very employee-focused. With my company. I think that the people that you have if they are, and you, I’m sure you experience this, if you go into a place where the employees are not treated well or Oh, yeah. Not respected or not supported.
You just feel it immediately, you can smell it. And then you have these places where you can see that these people are respected and are paid appropriately and all of this. Right off the bat with Huckberry cuz there was a photographer and the producer and these people were on the shoot.
You just sensed that this is a place where people are respected. And it felt very similar to Saturdays in that everybody felt like it was a common goal to deliver something that we’re interested in.
I don’t work directly for Huckberry. I’m just doing this project for them, but I feel like part of that family and that’s important to how I work in the world. Like any project that I do, I feel like it’s really important that we’re all passionately pushing a cool goal, and that’s outdoors, right?
So can you share anything with us about projects in the pipeline?
So we are headed off, I’ll say this, we are leaving the country. Which is really exciting. And I’ll leave it at that.
How did your outdoor lifestyle begin?
I was born and raised, in Seattle to two very different parents in terms of the outdoor lifestyle.
My mom is from Oregon, lived in a van, and was a river guide on the Salmon River. And then met my dad who is New York City born and raised. Moved as far away from New York City as he possibly could and stayed in the Continental US. I think he used a piece of string to see which one San Francisco or Seattle was further cuz he hated it.
And this is the sixties, right? And he wanted to just be outdoors. He had this kind of romantic vision of the outdoors. And he assumed, Seattle would potentially have all the things he had seen in magazines, I believe. And he got out here and he had no practical experience with the outdoors at all.
So tell us about your snowboarding career. Obviously, skiing led to snowboarding, and then you became a pro right?
Yeah. So I skied it’s interesting cuz I got to a certain place in skiing and then you either go, in my time you were into racing or you went into like mobile skiing or freestyle. There wasn’t a big free ski community. And I watched snowboarding come up and it was all free ski. It was like the initial, original free ski. Like they just went everywhere, there were no rules. And I was a skateboarder so that energy, just like I knew it, right? I was like holding onto skiing cause I had done it for so many years, but I was like, that, there’s something about that. And then it just looks more, it just felt more like skateboarding, like you were a rebel too. And 13-year-old little guy wants to be a rebel and explore that side of himself. So the middle school I was in had a ski bus and there were some, the cool kids were snowboarding and I was like, all right, I’m gonna try it.
I went to a special high school where I only had to go once a week so that I could so I could take snowboarding as a job. And I started actually snowboarding professionally when I was in High School.
And then you co-founded the surf-inspired brand Saturdays. What was your role there?
So I moved out to New York. My dad’s family was in New York City and so my entire life I visited and knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a part of New York City at some point in my life.
And the second snowboarding ended and I realized that was probably a good time to make the shift in New York City I worked in fashion for six or seven years and different components of it, trying to find my space.
What’d you do there?
So I’ve always been interested in fashion since I was a young kid and living in Seattle, then, and to some degree now it’s just not a very fashion-centric place.
It’s a land of waterproof clothing and comfortable clothing. And that doesn’t lend itself generally to cutting-edge fashion. So going to New York was just eye-opening and there was something about the way people dressed and their independence, the styles they would create for themselves that were just so uniquely them, but somehow looked right.
And when my buddies came to me discussing this idea for a surf shop, I thought maybe that’d be it, right?
So we’d opened the surf shop and then maybe we could design our own. And it was this great experience, the classic New York experience where we came together, we found a little spot in Soho. And this is 2009 in a recession., which is actually a really great time to open something new and unique and I’ll explain why.
We were able to find a location very inexpensively cuz a lot of stuff was closing down and because we were so unique to that landscape, we garnered a lot of attention from the press because we were just an interesting thing, without any marketing dollars, does, marketing dollars had pretty much dried up around the city, and we were just filler for these magazines. They’re like, oh, three guys opened a surf shop in Manhattan. It was all you needed for attention.
So why did you leave?
I lived at that point in New York after 10 years with Saturdays and then six years of being in New York before that for,15, 16 years and being a kid from the mountains and very connected to that there was a longing that I couldn’t block outta my mind anymore. And I just had to come home and be back in my cozy space.
Do you have any advice or suggestions for folks that might want to get into the adventure biz or outdoor biz?
I think for me it was, it has just always been curiosity, right? And exploration and with the surf shops I have lots of young employees who are, starting their careers as whatever, the beginnings of whatever they would be. And I’ve had that question come from young people and my answer to them was to find the space you want to be in, and then experience as many pieces of that as you can, because it really takes doing a lot of stuff to figure out exactly. What suits you?
Do you have a favorite piece of outdoor gear that’s under a hundred dollars that you always have with you?
I love that question. I discovered I mean, I’ve been fishing my whole life and I discovered this last summer I’ve seen them in the landscape, but it’s this Tenkara fishing rod.
It’s just a totally different thing. It breaks down into this tiny thing and you can whip it out. And it’s this beautiful, its own unique cast. But anyway I had a ton of fun with that and I keep that in my pack.
Do you have any favorite books?
Yeah. I do love to read. I feel like I’m very similar to a lot of people lately where I listen to a lot of stuff.
I grew up surrounded by books and I read a lot as a young person, but I tend to listen to a lot of stuff. But I have been trying to buy Paper books of late. My most recent book I bought was that it was a, it’s a translation of the Tao Te Ching by Steven Mitchell. Someone had of course posted an image of one of the pages of the book, and it just landed on me because the Tao Te Ching is just that sort of thing where you could pretty much open it to any page and it’s just, it was written 4,000 years ago or something, but it is so wise it still hits you in the side of the head, right?
As we wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to say to our listeners or ask of our listeners?
I’d love it if you go watch the show. One cool thing that the world we live in now, if you have any insight into what you liked, what you didn’t, or what you can always comment on the bottom and it’s encouraged and That’s about it.