Originally ran in the Bode Merrill Guest Editor issue of SNOWBOARDER Magazine.
Hans and Nils were born only a couple years apart from each other. They both came from New Jersey to Vermont and then to Utah to pursue snowboarding. They both have hippie names and are freakishly talented on a snowboard, skateboard, surfboard…any board, really.
Although they may seem similar from an outsider’s perspective, they are actually two very different individuals with different passions, goals, tastes and styles. For instance, Nils is a super nerd, studying mechanical engineering at the University of Utah and Hans is more of man’s man who would most likely lose in the first round of a 1st grade spelling bee. (Sorry Hans, you’re a smart guy but you can’t spell for shit.)
That’s why I wanted to do this joint interview with them, to ask them the same stupid questions and see what they come up with. I hope you have as much fun reading this as I did conducting it.
Bode: Hello hello! Testing. T. Bird’s fat foot smells like farts. Alright, we are recording. Are you ready?
Alright, first question, what is your best trick?
I don’t know, I have a lot of good tricks that I like doing. I like back 9 seatbelts. I feel like that one is pretty technical.
Back 9 seatbelt?
Yeah, I think that one is tech enough to be one of my best.
I feel like I could pull a muscle just thinking about that trick. What was your first snowboard?
What was my first what?
God, I don’t even know what year that was. It was a Burton Chopper, and I think I was still in preschool. It was the one that had the alien on the bottom. It was a demo board, like from the Burton factory or whatever. My dad’s friend was a board designer there, so yeah, a Burton Chopper.
Sick. How old were you when you got your first snowboard?
I was three-and-a-half and I got it for Christmas.
Wow, you started young, that’s sick.
Yeah, I rode it like once and I think when I was seven or eight, that’s when we moved up to Vermont and I actually got to snowboard every weekend.
You and Nils pretty much have all the same sponsors. Do you think you would still be friends if you got dropped and Nils turned pro?
I don’t think much would change between us.
That’s good to know; brotherly love. If you could change your name to anything, what would you change it to?
Good answer. Who is your celebrity crush?
I don’t know, it changes every year. When I was younger it was Megan Fox when she was in “Transformers.” She was a babe in that.
Megan Fox, we’ll take it. Who is your celebrity crush if you were gay?
I don’t know. I don’t think I can think of any male actor names right now. That’s like my weakness, male actor names. I dunno, Robert Downey Jr., I guess? That’s the first name that came to my mind! And he is rich.
I wasn’t expecting that. You a boob or a butt man?
I don’t know. Whichever one takes the cake on the playing field, really. Sometimes boobs are better, sometimes butts are better, but you know what? I think ass might actually attract my attention better.
Alright, so you are going ass. Zak Hale or Michael Wick?
Ah, fuck. They are basically the same person. I would say Michael Wick for sure. He’s more entertaining.
Okay, what’s the biggest thing you have ever fit in your mouth?
I don’t know. I’ve been really hungry before and shoved pretty much a whole slice of pizza in my mouth.
Like, a New York slice or a Chicago slice?
No, like a New York slice. Chicago would be pretty nuts.
Chicago might be too nuts. You might choke.
Yeah, who knows what they got in those things.
Okay. Do you believe in God?
I don’t believe in God but I do believe in some form of a higher power, whatever the heck that is. I don’t believe in a being up there looking down on all of us. I don’t really believe in it like that, but I feel like there is another force that we don’t know about. But that’s about as far as my mind goes.
Like, “The Force?” Like, “May the force be with you?”
Yeah, in an ideal world, that would be sick.
Alright, he believes in The Force. Who is stronger, you or Nils?
Now? Probably Nils. It depends on how much he’s been climbing, to be honest.
I didn’t expect that. I definitely thought you would think you are stronger than him.
Right now, yeah, I probably am stronger. I do a lot of roofing and lifting and whatnot. I actually don’t know. I haven’t arm-wrestled my brother since like 2013.
Alright, we will have to set that up for the future.
We actually should set that up some time.
Who is smarter, you or Nils?
Nils would be more book smart, probably. I feel like I would be more street smart.
Yeah, Nils is kind of a nerd, huh?
Yeah, Nils is a bit of a nerd. I am a bit of a woodchuck.
Who would win in a fight, you or Nils?
Okay, kid is confident. What is the square root of 69?
The square root of 69…I dunno, what is it?
I’m asking you.
Is this a trick question?
You can answer it however you want to answer it.
I don’t know.
Alright, he doesn’t know the square root of 69. What’s your favorite movie?
Probably “The Big Lebowski,” off the top of my head.
Ooh, good answer. What’s your favorite book?
My favorite book? I don’t have one book in particular but I read “The Inheritance” series. It was kind of like sci-fi. It was four books. The first one was called Aragon or something. They made a shitty movie about it but the books are pretty badass.
Well, that was the name of the first book. They named a book after each dragon. It’s like some dragon sci-fi shit.
Okay. Say the name of the book again, I didn’t really catch it.
It’s called, uhh…uhh…I’m pretty sure it’s called “The Inheritance” series.
Alright. I might have to read that, dragons are tight.
I can look it up.
No, we got it.
We got it.
What’s your least favorite state?
My least favorite state is probably Texas because the only time I was there I was stuck on the tarmac in a plane for like five hours and it was 110 degrees out.
So you’ve never actually been outside of the plane in Texas. Was it just because you got stuck there on a plane?
It’s just because I got stuck there on a plane. But, actually no! I take that back. I will say Nebraska is my least favorite state.
Nebraska is pretty boring.
Yep, I forgot about that one.
Not much goes on in Nebraska. Is there a state rivalry with Vermont? Does Vermont have a rival state?
Not really. I mean, we don’t like tourists where we’re from, but that’s not really a state thing, those are just out-of-state people that come here that are really rich. People from Massachusetts or New York.
But you would never say anything ’cause Vermonters are a bunch of pussies aren’t they?
Vermonters are a bunch of pussies.
I would not say that to any real Vermonters.
I’m just kidding.
We don’t really pay attention to out-of-staters, really. I think Vermont people just kind of do their own thing.
We’re actually the most sustainable state in the country.
Really? How do you figure that?
And it’s where Will Smith goes in the end of that zombie movie, too.
Will Smith was in a zombie movie?
I haven’t seen it.
They end up in Bethel, Vermont.
Alright, so Vermont is the best state because Will Smith goes there at the end of a zombie movie. I’ll remember that. We are going to be moving on now. Do you put money in a tip jar even when no one is looking?
Yes, if I feel like they deserve a tip, for sure.
You are a generous tipper. Even when you don’t get credit for it.
That doesn’t matter though. They aren’t going to count it till the end of the day.
Tipping is about the credit!
Well, that too. But if they’re busy, give them a tip. They don’t have to see it.
What are some of your biggest pet peeves?
Not putting a new roll of toilet paper on the toilet paper thing when you use the last of it. That annoys the hell out of me.
That’s a good one. That annoys me too.
That’s the first pet peeve that comes to mind.
That’s a good pet peeve. We’ll run with that one. What is your spirit animal?
Umm….I would say my spirit animal is a fuckin’ eagle.
Why is it an eagle?
I don’t know, I feel like I wander a lot.
Yeah? You’re a wanderer?
I kind of like doing my own thing…like alone. Not alone, but…
Eagles are sick. Do you feel like you can fly sometimes? I have seen you fly but do you feel like you could fly?
I feel like if I could fly I would be a really good at it.
Alright! What would you do with a million dollars?
I would probably buy the coolest piece of land in Vermont and make it my dreamland, basically. That’s probably what I would do.
Okay. That’s kind of a boring answer but it’s truthful.
Well, I basically would buy land and just make an insane compound. It would have a skatepark, it would be on the water. We’d play water games and all types of shit. Dirtbiking, too.
Yeah, that would be awesome. I would like a compound too at one point in my life.
Enough land to hunt, fish, farm, do whatever.
Tell me your favorite joke.
My favorite joke. I can only think of some dumb blonde jokes. Will that work?
Whatever you would like, man.
Fuck, I can’t think of any jokes.
It’s hard to do on the spot.
Yeah. Alright, what’s the difference between a blonde chick and a brick wall?
A brick wall has only been laid once.
Alright. I like it.
I got a couple others that are on the same scale.
It’s a blonde joke, you’re kind of a carpenter, you’re laying bricks. It’s a good joke for you.
I don’t know a lot of jokes, man. That’s a weak spot for me.
Alright, if you think of any more let me know. What’s your go to karoake song?
I have actually never sang karaoke.
You have never sang karaoke in your entire life? Ah man, that is so sad.
If you were going to karaoke a song, which song would it be?
Probably “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen.
That would be a great one.
That would be my first song.
It matches your personality perfectly.
Yeah, he’s actually from New Jersey, too. He grew up not too far from me.
Oh, so you’re from New Jersey, not from Vermont?
I moved to Vermont when I was in first grade. I was seven years old.
So you got all this Vermont pride and you are not even from there?
Yeah, I don’t even really remember much of New Jersey. At a very young age, I remember being like, “I don’t think my sister is from New Jersey” and I don’t think my brother would remember living there. He was like, super young. I can kind of remember being on the shore and shit. We are shore born, mountain raised.
Shore born, mountain raised, I like it.
Yeah, I definitely don’t feel very comfortable down there like I do in the woods of Vermont but that’s about it.
Cool. Do you have any hidden talents?
I used to bike shit ton, and I am getting back into biking.
That’s not really a hidden talent.
Yeah, well, I feel like people know that I’m a carpenter though.
I’m talking about weird things though. Like, are you double-jointed anywhere? Can you read people’s future? Can you touch your nose to your tongue? Some weird shit.
No. I feel like I can always tell when someone is looking at me, though, every time. Like, “What are they looking at? Why are they looking at me right now?”
Alright, that’s a good hidden talent. I like that one. I Googled “best interview questions for job interviews” and I picked some of my favorites. Are you ready for your interview within the interview?
Alright, hit me up with the interview within the interview.
Why should we hire you?
I’m a hard working guy and I will do whatever.
Perfect. Who would win in a fight between Spiderman and Batman?
Batman for sure.
Why is that?
I don’t know. He’s rich, he’s got his technology. I mean, Spiderman is good, but I don’t think he really has got too much going on besides the Spidey thing.
Alright, the kid’s not a Spiderman fan. Explain to me something complicated that you know well.
Hmm, let me think. Something complicated that I know well…I’m just thinking about things that I’ve done, not complicated things.
Explain to me something that somebody else might think is complicated but is not complicated to you…
Building a house is definitely complicated and I can do that pretty easily, but there is a lot that goes into that and it is kind of boring.
Well, explain it to me if you know it well. You’re trying to get hired, so sell yourself a little bit.
Should I sell myself on house building right now?
I don’t know man, it’s whatever you want to do. You can also skip the question if you want.
Yeah, I mean, I can explain to you the million things that go into building a house for sure. There are a million things, from laying down concrete foundations, electricity, septic, water, wood layout, padding, all that shit. The list goes on…
Bode: Hi Nils!
Nils: Sup buddy! How are ya?
You ready for this super serious interview?
Yeah, let’s do it!
First question, what’s your best trick?
My best trick is probably a method or a heelside turn, in my opinion. I’ve been working on it, and it’s coming together.
Cool. What was your very first snowboard?
My first snowboard was a Burton Chopper in 1998. Pretty sure it was Hans’s for one season and it is now currently painted with our family name on it to help people get to our house because our house is on a really long dirt road.
So we have two snowboards and one of them says “Mindnich” and the other one says our address.
That’s so sick. Both of your guys’ first snowboard was the same snowboard.
Yep, it all started on one board.
See, this is the shit people want to know!
They want to know it!
You and Hans pretty much have all the same sponsors. Do you think you would still be friends if you got dropped and the other turned pro?
Yeah. For sure.
You don’t think there would some secret hatred for each other?
I would be so stoked if my brother went pro. I wouldn’t be totally psyched that I got dropped, but it would be cool because my brother would be a pro.
If you could change your name to anything in the world, what would you change your name to?
I mean, I have really been liking Nils but I have thought about fully committing to Niles, because for some reason that’s how people spell it every single time at coffee shops or any time I order food. Apparently, the entire world is convinced that my name is Niles so I might as well go with it! Makes things easier.
I have the same thing with my name. Whenever I say my name at a restaurant, I say “Bode” and they spell it B-O-D-Y, and my name is not “Body.” That’s how you spell the word “body.” Alright Niles, I feel your pain. Who is your celelbrity crush?
What is that chick from “That 70s Show” that dates Ashton Kutcher?
Mila Kunis, man. She’s a babe.
She is a babe.
Jessica Alba is pretty damn hot, too. Lot of hot celebrities.
That’s a good one, too. Moving on, who’s your celebrity crush if you were gay?
Fuck it dude, Ashton Kutcher!
Going Ashton? Okay, hahaha.
That’s a good looking couple right there!
You could complete their love triangle.
Alright. Boobs or butts?
Butts. Butts. Butts.
Zak Hale or Michael Wick?
Zak Hale. I’ve been hanging with Zak in Oregon, I got more respect for Zak now.
Ooh, more respect for Zak. Not a lot of people would say that!
Well, when you’re comparing them to Michael Wick!
Hahaha! Good point.
Do you want your shit wrapped in tin foil or polished?
I don’t know. What’s the biggest thing you have ever fit in your mouth?
I don’t know. I can’t fit my fist. I know that’s a weird trick people have. I feel like I could take a pretty big bite out of an apple.
Do you think you could fit a whole apple in your mouth?
Well, it depends on the size of the apple. If it was an apple the size of a plum, then yeah.
So you’re saying you could fit a whole plum in your mouth?
Probably a plum, yeah.
What about a peach?
No, unless you blended the peach. But I think that gets away from the question. Are you talking about how much smoothie can you drink? Because I can drink a lot of smoothie.
You found a loophole in my shitty question. Alright, we’re getting a little more serious. Do you believe in God?
Ehh, what’s your definition of God?
Like, how Christianity sees God.
No, I think of God as more of a spiritual energy type of scenario.
If I had to interpret it, no, not necessarily in the traditional sense. I don’t really go through the day thinking about that.
Who is stronger, you or Hans?
I think in general I’m stronger. I can say that if you want to put it in rock climbing terms. I haven’t arm wrestled him in a while but for a while I was never able to beat him in arm wrestling and then in my junior year of high school I beat him left-handed and right-handed. But we haven’t arm wrestled since then and he started roofing and I started school, so…
He said the same thing about the arm wrestling thing, so we’re going to have to get an arm wrestling match between you two and televise it or something. “The Mud Dicks Arm Wrestling Championship.”
We’ll have it at this trail in Vermont.
Which one of you two is smarter?
Street smarts, I feel like him, but I think I definitely have the book smarts, considering the fact that I am about to be going into my junior year of mechanical engineering. But he is a carpenter so I think he has more—what do you call that? Applicable skills and knowledge?
He’s got more skills?
Yeah, I learn a lot about the theory of what he actually does, which is kind of cool. He will build houses and I can tell you about them. I can tell you about a house, hahaha!
Who would win in a fight?
Once again, I think this comes down to upper body endurance, which I think I got on him, but he’s got more will power. But if we were both really fired up, I feel like I could beat him.
I would really like to see that, like full-on UFC-style Nils vs. Hans. No holds barred.
We’re within a couple pounds of each other, we’re the same height. We are fully the same dimensions.
I always pictured you being the smaller one, but maybe that is because you are younger.
I used to be a lot smaller than him.
Have you been hitting the gym?
Just getting active, yeah!
What is the square root of 69?
Fuck…that would be…the square root of 64 is 8 and the square root of 81 is 9, so I’m pretty sure I think that would be like 8.3.
Roughly. Unless I fucked up the root squared.
So you are going with 8.3. I am going to look it up right now.
8.3 times 8.3.
What is the square root of 69 [Looking it up]? 8.3! Holy shit! I think that kind of proves that you’re smarter one. Wow. That’s impressive.
Hahaha! I promise I snowboard, I’m not just a nerd. You gotta believe me!
Now some simple questions, what’s your favorite movie?
Favorite movie? Dude, I don’t know. I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately. I watch a lot of TV shows, too.
Favorite movie of all time…
The third original “Star Wars” is pretty good.
“Episode 3 Return of the Jedi?”
We will put that one down for now. That is just a good film.
Yeah, it was a great film! I have it on VHS.
I should peruse your collection.
What is your favorite book?
I really don’t read that much. A book that I read that I really liked was “Into the Wild.”
That was a good book, and another really good book that I read while I was in high school was “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.”
Oh, my girlfriend is reading that.
That book is sick.