Jack Mitrani is one of snowboarding’s most popular personalities. After spending 12 years as a competitive snowboarder, he translated his talents into a career that celebrates his entrepreneurial and vivacious spirit. Today he is best known as a television host -- most notably serving as the face of X Games -- music festival producer, content creator and Martin Guitar Ambassador.
When Jack was eight, he and his brother Luke convinced their parents to move from Long Island to Stratton, Vermont so they could regularly train and compete in snowboarding. The move paid off as both became pro halfpipe riders, competing in the world’s top events.
In 2008, Jack was an integral part of creating the Frends Crew, a collective of pro riders whose mission was to unite a diverse group of snowboarders as they competed around the world together. That sense of inclusivity and bonding has translated into all that Jack does today. The Crew started to produce hilarious comedic skits around the sport and lifestyle they love which garnered the attention of major media sports news outlets. These skits and other regularly updated original content now live on the online platform Frendly Presents.
In 2010, Jack and best friend and fellow snowboarder Danny Davis, brought some of their favorite bands and frends to an intimate camping weekend in California, which became the inaugural Frendly Gathering Music Festival. The following year, it moved to Vermont where the festival grew into one of the top music festivals in the Northeast. The duo continues to run the Festival which will celebrate its seventh year in its new home of Sugarbush, Vermont in June 2017. In the spirit of the original Frendly Gathering, the festival is designed to remain an intimate affair; organizers cap ticket sales to ensuring short lines, easy access to the stages and a frendly family-like atmosphere.
While Jack retired from competing in 2012, the popularity of Jack’s productions and on-site presence have earned him spots as a fan-favorite host for major snowboard and action sports contests around the world, including the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships, X Games EXTRA, Dew Tour and the Transworld Riders Poll Awards. He recently served as host of X Games Aspen 2017. In every project, appearance and piece of content that he creates, Jack strives to infect viewers with positivity and a sense of belonging.
In addition to his rising TV and producing careers, Jack currently serves as a content creator for select Burton Snowboards social media channels and an ambassador for Martin Guitars. He makes his home in Vermont.
THE WHOLE STORY
Jack Mitrani entered this world at a New York City Hospital on December 29, 1988. From NYC, Jack and his family moved to Long Island where he spent his early days mastering video games and working on his baseball swing. Beginning at around age 5, the family began weekly weekend trips up to Stratton, Vermont to learn how to ski. When Jack was 8 years old, he and his brother Luke were sitting on a trail when a snowboarder came flying by and launched off a little bump in front of them. There was no question, both immediately knew that they had to break free from the plastic traps around their feet and convert to snowboarding. Little did they know that day would change the course of their lives forever.
Jack went on to bring his snowboard in for “show-and-tell” at school, and in every assignment where the teacher asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the answer was a resounding, “a professional snowboarder.” “What about a doctor?” “No, a professional snowboarder.”
In 1997, the Mitrani siblings convinced their parents to move to Vermont permanently after hearing about a school where every Tuesday afternoon you got to go snowboarding as a part of the curriculum. Soon after Jack and his siblings started attending the Stratton Mountain School, where they would snowboard every morning followed by classes from 1pm – 5pm. Still not quite good enough to be considered a pro, Jack started to think that maybe snowboarding was just going to be a forever hobby and passion of his and maybe he should start thinking about what else he could do with his life. At this point, Jack’s younger brother Luke’s (Age 12) snowboarding career was really taking off. He was winning all of the local competitions, soon after invited to be apart of the Burton Snowboards pro team. Naturally, as an older brother would be, Jack was envious and realized that if he wanted to make this life-long dream a reality, he had to work much harder.
In addition to his snowboard Jack constantly had a camera strapped to his hand to capture Luke flipping off of everything in sight, and to make fun music videos and skits. Those around Jack saw that even as a child, he had an innate talent and passion for filmmaking and for making people laugh. He continued to tirelessly teach himself the ins and outs of editing programs, cameras, and how to make the most of this natural gift he was born with.
In 2004, Jack and his family made the conscious decision to forgo he and Luke’s formal education at Stratton Mountain School and pursue their professional snowboarding dreams in the heart of freestyle snowboarding, Mammoth Lakes, CA. While Jack shifted his focus to homeschooling and progressing his snowboarding, filmmaking, as well as teaching himself guitar.
Around this time, Jack’s entrepreneurial spirit was born. After learning how to crochet hats, Jack, Luke and best frend / Burton team rider Kevin Pearce decided to launch a hat business called, “Tassle Hats”. The budding entrepreneurs would sell the hats for about $20 a pop to friends, driving a Tassle Hats-wrapped ambulance (thanks Dad) all over Mammoth. It wasn’t long after that ESPN Magazine came knocking, asking to do a feature on their business.
In 2008, Danny Davis called Jack with a new idea that he, Dave Driscoll, and Keir Dillon had about starting the “Frends Crew” – all centering around the concept that “there’s no I in frends” and that as a collective they could succeed to greater heights than on their own. Initially the crew consisted of seven pro-snowboarders who traveled the world, made funny videos and skits, were winning major contests, and promoted that collaboration was more fun than doing it solo.
What began as a random idea turned into a full-blown movement, with a rapidly growing fan base in and outside of the snowboarding world. While the Frends Crew started with a name, a few branded t-shirts and face masks at the X-Games, they quickly became a vehicle for the type of guerrilla marketing that major brands wanted to be a part of.
As Keir Dillon neared the end of his snowboarding career, the crew collectively decided to launch a headphone company called Frends Headphones. The building of the headphone line included all of the trials and tribulations of any startup in a saturated market. As time progressed, the headphones didn’t pick up in the action sports community quite like the crew would have hoped so as the operating CEO, Keir decided to pursue a completely different direction, Women’s fashion headphones. Today, designers like Rebecca Minkoff collaborate on custom sets.
In 2009, Jack launched a video platform called Frendsvision where he would upload a daily video from the Frends Crew. The content stream gained a large fan base, becoming a staple in the snowboarding press and community. Throughout this time the Frends crew had one of the craziest seasons of their lives trying for spots on the US Olympic snowboarding team. Kevin Pearce suffered a traumatic brain injury in preparation for his qualifying run, Danny Davis made the Olympic team and subsequently broke his back while four-wheeling (two weeks before the games), Scotty Lago secured a bronze medal, and both Luke and Jack were in spitting distance from making the team. Crazy year to say the least and Jack was there with his camera to capture it all.
In 2010, with the Olympic debacle(s) behind them, Jack and frends wanted to put together a three-day gathering near Mammoth Lakes, CA to reset, get together, and celebrate life. Two hundred close frends and fans showed up to this inaugural Frendly Gathering. Given the success of this first event, the next year Jack did it again and added a snowboard contest to the mix, as well as a Led Zeppelin cover band to top it all off.
In 2011, Jack and frends brought the Frendly Gathering to Vermont, and with only 30 days of planning they executed the first East Coast gathering with two stages, 12 bands, and 500 first-time participants. Vermont felt like the right home for the Frendly Gathering so the next year he and Danny Davis partnered up and decided to formally keep the growing music festival on the East Coast and put everything they had into it. In 2012, they set up five stages, booked 30 bands, and 1,200 people came. By 2014, the audience grew to 4,000 people, and now the duo is focused on improving the quality of experience for festival-goers.
Currently, Jack lives in Topanga, CA spends his days getting healthy, working on Easle Entertainment, designing products with Burton Snowboards, playing guitar, and of course planning for the next Frendly Gathering.
Jack is on the path to be the next Rob Dyrdek. “It really is inspiring to see other action sports athlete explode from their sport into a serial entrepreneur and a TV icon. I also want to focus on my production company Easle Entertainment and piece together the best content revolving around snowboarding, music, inspirational pieces, and of course comedy skits.”