A WY­OMING RANCHER SPENDS AN AF­TER­NOON IN ENG­LAND WITH EL­TON JOHN

Transworld Snowboarding - - CONTENTS - STORYTIME // WORDS MARK CARTER, AS TOLD TO TAYLOR BOYD

Carter’s got sto­ries. One of my fa­vorites in­volves a pig he named D-Con, but that’s for an­other time. Here’s one from Wind­sor, Eng­land. “This was a crazy time in my life. I was dat­ing this girl Rachel, who I’m still great friends with. She’s Justin Tim­ber­lake’s per­sonal pho­tog­ra­pher, so I went from hang­ing out in Ten Sleep, Wy­oming, in the sum­mers to fol­low­ing her around with Justin. The first sum­mer we were dat­ing, she asked me, “Hey, you want to go to Europe with us?” When we trav­eled to­gether, it wasn’t an en­tourage; it was me, Justin, and Rachel. First off, Justin is an amaz­ing hu­man. Su­per rad guy. He can shred; he’s gen­uine. I can’t thank that dude enough for the ex­pe­ri­ences that he gave me through those years. So I find my­self in Europe be­cause Justin was do­ing a sur­prise ap­pear­ance at El­ton John’s AIDS ben­e­fit. I think this was in 2010, but I could be wrong. The event was held at El­ton’s place in Wind­sor.

I didn’t know where the fuck Wind­sor is, but Justin, Rachel, and I drive out there from Lon­don. We roll up to the front of his house, and I’m kind of stand­ing out. I re­mem­ber the but­ler be­ing like, ‘You don’t need your skate­board.’ Then front door opens and there’s El­ton, stand­ing there. And he goes, ‘Wel­come. I’m El­ton.’ And I’m like, ‘Hi, I’m Mark.’

He’s wear­ing a white adi­das track­suit and cir­cu­lar red glasses. I was fas­ci­nated by how cool this guy was. He gave us a tour of his house, and we had lunch. He has one of the big­gest art col­lec­tions in the world. We just bro’d down with El­ton. It’s funny when you meet some­one like that; they’re just hu­mans. As ac­com­plished as he is, he was so down to earth, hum­ble, and just present with con­ver­sa­tions. What made things es­pe­cially crazy was that Michael Jackson died that day. So I was with that crew when it hap­pened—peo­ple who were re­ally close to him. It was a crazy en­ergy.

That night, the event was go­ing down. It wasn’t open to pub­lic; this was the A-list of A-list. I rec­og­nized every­body. Just like, ‘Oh shit, that’s Keith Richards.’ So it was just a re­ally in­ter­est­ing place to be, es­pe­cially for a per­son like my­self, to have a win­dow into this world that few peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence. I ended up sit­ting sidestage, and lis­ten­ing to the mu­sic was so pow­er­ful. Justin is an amaz­ing per­former and en­ter­tainer, but El­ton, dude. When I and lis­tened to him play the piano and sing, that was pow­er­ful, pow­er­ful stuff. I was re­ally grate­ful for Justin and Rachel for shar­ing that ex­pe­ri­ence with me. I was this up-and-com­ing snow­boarder, and maybe I kind of thought I was hot shit. But af­ter hang­ing out with those guys, I was like, ‘I’m just a fuckin’ snow­boarder.’ It def­i­nitely hum­bled me hav­ing an ex­pe­ri­ence like that. That was some crazy shit.”

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