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Down But Not Out

If you were to ask Josh Mills what he did for a living, chances are he wouldn't tell you that he is a pro snowboarder. Mills likes to keep a low profile—a refreshing quality in an industry never short on egos.

It's his indifference toward the snowboard scene and attitude that rejects any "get rich from riding" notion. He's just a guy who, well... loves to snowboard.

A typical winter for Mills is him living out of his truck for the winter, traveling from spot to spot to ride and film. Unfortunately, this past season was rough for Josh, who began the season with a punctured spleen.
Two weeks after his spleen healed, he blew out his knee.

When this happened he contemplated selling all his snowboard gear, his truck and his sled, perhaps he could buy a motorcycle and just ride around for a while. But reality kicked in, and he headed back to California to relax, have the knee surgery and get back into it. After all, Josh Mills is in this game because this is who he is, a snowboarder. And that's all that matters.

ESPN: Where are you at these days? Still in California?

Josh Mills: Yeah I am in LA. I just moved into this place, but now they are getting evicted. Everyone has to be out by the 1st.

No way! That sucks. Any clue where you are going to go next?

Well, I am having knee surgery on the 3rd so I will probably just go to the parent's couch for a couple weeks. Then I am going to head up to Bend, Oregon, to hang with friends and get on the rehab train.

So you are getting surgery on your knee—that's good news. I'm sure you are tired of explaining, but what happened?

I was in Montana filming for the People movie. One of the guys on the crew crashed his sled into a tree and broke the ski off. Since he was new to the crew I was riding it out for him, the sled took a weird turn I fell off and blew out my knee. I was a bummed to say the least...Oh, also the landlord at the house we are being evicted from tried to kill one of the guys with a knife.

Wait, what?!

She broke into the house one morning at 5 A.M. and tried to stab him. It was nuts.

Um, did she have a reason to stab him or was she just on a wild rampage?

Wild rampage—he was sleeping. She busted out the window in the back and started stabbing his door. They got it on video so she is going to be in big trouble now. Cops came and everything, she has a few screws loose up stairs...

So maybe it is a good thing you guys are getting out of there.

It's just sad because it was such a good house, pool in the back and everything. I am going to miss it.

Yeah that's rough. Anyway... It sounds like blowing out your knee put a damper to the rest of your season. Were you able to get some good riding in before that happened?

Not really. I just had a bad winter. It sucks...I felt great until my first injury. And then two weeks after I healed from that, I blow my knee.

Tell me about the first injury.

I fell on a jump and thought I broke my back. Had to get life flighted out of the backcountry to Boise, ID. Didn't break anything but I punctured my spleen.

No fun, man. So What have you been doing with yourself lately?

I ride my bike about 20 miles everyday. Then I hang out by the pool or go to the beach. That's about it.

Biking is fine on your knee? I guess it must be if you are riding 20 miles everyday.

Yeah, it's just the side-to-side movements that hurt it. But biking is great and I want it to be super strong before surgery.

Makes sense. You're probably going to be immobile for a while after surgery right?

On the couch for about a week, then you can hobble around. Last time I was walking in a month almost without a limp. Just hoping that is how this one goes too.

Any big plans for what you are going to do for that week on the couch? Movies, books, pretty girls giving you foot massages?

[Laughing] No girls—just books and movies. Wait, I'll be honest... just movies. I love movies.

I've heard a rumor you have a man crush on Clint Eastwood. Is this true?

Yes it is. I mean the guy has been in so many amazing movies.

True. I guess I don't blame you.

You shouldn't. I hit a car the other day on my bike. Well, two cars.

What?

[Laughing] Yeah, it was nuts.

What happened? You hit a car or the car hit you?

Yeah I hit the car, two cars.

And?

I was on my way to Subway with my friend Ben Rice. We pull into the parking lot, not realizing how fast I was going. So I can't slow down and sideswipe a PT Cruiser, push off it, and bend the mirror back. Some lady had to jump out of the way right before I slammed into the back of a Civic. I flew over the handlebars onto the back window. It was a mess. Broke her tail light. I got up and fixed my bike while they stayed in their cars. They didn't even roll down the windows. So I left, it was awkward.

The woman didn't seem to care that you messed up her mirror?

No. And they didn't even ask if I was okay, or ask if I was going to fix their car. They just sat there.

They were probably in shock. I think I would be if someone on a bike came in at a high speed and just ran into my car while it was parked.

Yeah, maybe.

Well good luck with your surgery, watch out for cars and crazy landlords.

She is terrifying, but that's what makes being here so exciting. Thank you for the good luck wishes. Take care out there on the east coast.