RossVegas has a new face

Arlen MacLaine
By Arlen MacLaine
October 3rd, 2013

RossVegas, our local board shop, is now under the watchful gaze of Dave Cashen.  A long-time veteran of the skate and snow industry within Canada, Cashen now finds himself in the Kootenays as proprietor and manager of RossVegas Boardshop.  Though his gig at RossVegas might be new territory, Cashen’s experience in the snow/skate scene should prove invaluable.

After graduating high school in Ontario, Cashen moved west to Vancouver to be a part of the skate scene there.  A year before he moved west, the skateboard company he was riding for, ‘Homeless Skateboards, started making snowboard outerwear.  Having been a skier his whole life, up to that point, some changes had to be made.

“The two owners of Homeless, Mike Best and Mike Vento, were ripping it up on snowboards and were industry figureheads,” said Cashen.  “There was no way, especially back then, that they could have a skier on their team, so they got me all hooked up and were taking me out snowboarding 3-5 days a week for 2-3 months before I moved that winter.”

Upon moving west, Cashen met fellow ‘Homeless’ skater Ryan Taron, who introduced him to people the industry.

“The catalyst which probably set things in motion, in regards to my snowboarding career, would have been at the “End of Season Jam” at Mt. Seymour that year, where many of those individuals were filming and riding that day,” said Cashen. “I showed up with a buddy to check it out and shred, then these dudes approached me asking if they could film me for this video “Season”. The “dudes” as it turned out were, Murray Siple, Rob Dow and Devun Walsh. Needless to say, I didn’t hesitate, and I was stoked to film that day with those guys.”

After that, Cashen grew close with Dow and Walsh, travelling, filming, and living together.  They, and others, soon founded the ‘Wildcats’ and could usually be found shredding the slopes of Mt. Seymour.  After 8 years as a pro, Cashen had to step down due to a multitude of injuries, including 3 ACL blowouts, and a total of 5 knee surgeries.

About 2 years ago, Cashen had a serious bout with cancer.  He pulled through, but at the cost of his stomach, which had to be completely removed.  While recovering from major surgery, Cashen started a blog to share his experience, and hopefully help others dealing with similar circumstances.

When asked how the experience has changed his outlook, he replied, “I suppose the quick answer is to say it reinforced my beliefs and what drives me, which are my passions and trying to live life through them as best I can. To me that’s living, and when I was sick and recovering, all of that was taken away from me, so when I got strong enough, I looked at what was most important to me and where it could be most easily attained…and here I am.”

After his recovery, Cashen felt the Kootenays calling.  He relocated to Nelson, where he worked at the ‘Ripping Giraffe’ board shop.  Before long, he was approached about the possibility of taking over managerial responsibility for RossVegas. After some discussions, the opportunity of becoming an owner arose and was something he could not turn down.  Though his earlier days may have been more on the riding and skating side of the industry, Cashen is no one-trick pony.

“As I got more and more involved in skateboarding and eventually snowboarding, I always made an effort to get involved in the business side of things,” he said. “Whatever I could: R&D, marketing, media, and eventually everything in between. I’ve been in the retail game, a warehouse jockey, the tradeshow scene, and I was part owner in the Wildcats and Cashless inc. My life throughout the past 20 years has been consumed by those industries, and I know it and most in it very well. If I’m lucky I’ll spend the rest of my life in it, too.”

Now that he is at the reigns of RossVegas, Cashen wants to use this experience to take the shop into the future by having a greater online presence through using social media, and also building the brand via brand collaborations, events, team riders, and community involvement (to keep up to date on the happenings in the shop, check out RossVegas’ facebook page).  He is excited to introduce some new brands to the area, and added, “I will most definitely incorporate as much of my network within the industry as I can to help promote the shop, Rossland, and the scene in the Kootenays.”

“I love the charm of the town, and ever since I was that young kid wanting to be an extreme skier, I pictured myself living in the mountains in a town like Rossland,” said Cashen.  “Its been 4 seasons since I last shredded, so I’m really looking forward to hitting the slopes here in the Kootenays.”

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