American teenage snowboarding phenom Red Gerard comes from a large, tight-knit family. Many of Red’s family members joined him in South Korea, and they made news of their own with the amusing story that they were shotgunning beers before Red hit the slopes.
Red isn’t the only accomplished member of the family; his sister is a food blogger with her own cookbook.
Gerard, 17, was the first American to win a gold medal in PyeongChang at the 2018 Winter Olympics. The Big Air final was on February 23. According to Yahoo Sports, the Gerard family consists of parents Conrad and Jen Gerard, and six other siblings ages 9 to 32 who are named Creighton, Trevor, Brendan, Tieghan, Malachi, and Asher.
The siblings include “a filmmaker, pro snowboarder and a sister who’s got her own business and half a million Instagram followers,” reports 12News.com. One works at a law firm. The professional snowboarder is Brendan, 28.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Red’s Family Built a Snow Park in Their Backyard in Colorado
The Gerard family snow park is part of the Red Gerard lore. The story goes that Red’s family, after moving from Cleveland, Ohio to Silverthorne, Colorado, crafted a “makeshift snow park” in their backyard. According to NBC, that’s where Red perfected his “slopestyle skills,” although he’s been snowboarding since he was only 2-years-old.
You can thank Red’s brother, Brendan, for the snow park idea. Brendan, one of four Gerard brothers, “noticed the yard had the perfect slant for a snow park. They put in rails, which are the first features at the top of a standard slopestyle course,” reported NBC News.
“A dirt bike with a rope towed the riders — not just the Gerard boys but now dozens of neighborhood kids — from one end to the other. There are even lights,” explained NBC.
The snow park even has its own Instagram page and has attracted more than 6,000 followers. The page is called redsbackyard. “hi I’m red gerard come join me on an adventure to my back yard!”-@redgerard “Its more of a wayward home for lost boys & fu*ked up adults,” the profile reads.
2. Red Attributed the Family’s Move to His Mom’s ‘Mid-Life Crisis’
The family move to Colorado when Red was 7-years-old was obviously critical to his snowboarding success, but he attributes it to another factor. “My mom actually had, I don’t know what you call it, like a midlife crisis,” he said. “Like, ‘I’ve got to get out of Cleveland.'”
The family first moved to Breckenridge, Colorado. Jen Gerard agrees with her son’s description of why the family moved. “Call it my midlife crisis,” she said, according to Time Magazine.
Red’s website explains, “Redmond began snowboarding at age two. He quickly learned as the sixth of seven children that if he didn’t keep up, he’d be left behind. It’s not always easy in a family of nine to get attention. Dirtbikes, bicycles and snowboards were Red’s saving grace. But living in Cleveland didn’t allow for a whole lot of snowboarding. It wasn’t until the winter of 07-08, when Redmond’s mom’s love for the mountains could wait no longer, that the family decided on a trial move to Breckenridge. Here seven year old Redmond got his chance to hone in on snowboarding. Unfortunately, back and forth moves didn’t help his cause, but when back in Cleveland there was always the living room stairs to ride.”
It wasn’t long before a very young Red Gerard had a deal with Burton after the company discovered his YouTube videos. Red takes high school classes online.
3. Gerard Revealed That His Family Was ‘Shotgunning Beer’ During the Olympics
Red Gerard revealed that his family and supporters – 18 in all – who came to cheer him on in PyeongChang had a lot of fun in the host country. “They were all shotgunning beers on the way to the mountains,” he told reporters.
“Mom, Dad and the whole gang shotgunning beers at 8:30 in the morning to get their underage son pumped for his run. It doesn’t get much cooler than that. Not only is it cool, it worked because he dominated his run,” reported Barstool Sports.
Wrote Jeff Passan, MLB reporter for Yahoo Sports, “The most precious metal grasped by a member of the Gerard family on Sunday was aluminum. Around their clan 18 strong was ….emptied-and-crushed cans of Cass Light, Fitz and even a Budweiser…”
4. Red’s Sister, a Food Blogger, Praised Him as ‘Awesome’
Red’s parents and siblings are huge boosters of the team. “My brother is just Red,” Tieghan said, according to Yahoo Sports. “He’s awesome. And this never will change a thing.”
Tieghan Gerard has a following of her own. She is a food blogger, who runs a website called Halfbaked Harvest. The “about me” page on the website explains how she got into food blogging. “The recipes you’ll find here are inspired by the people and places I love most,” Tieghan wrote.
“I come from a family of nine, and a big family means BIG meals. In effort to tame some of our mealtime chaos and get dinner on the table at a respectable hour, I began to help cook. I soon realized how much I enjoyed it, and before I knew it, I had taken over cooking our meals full-time. I captured the process in photos and documented my best recipes, and that’s how Half Baked Harvest was born.”
Tieghan wrote that she lived in Colorado until age 14 and now lives in a converted horse barn. She started the site in 2012 and has since appeared on many national programs and launched a cookbook called The Half Baked Harvest Cookbook: Recipes From My Barn in the Moutnains. Tieghan has almost 500,000 followers on Instagram.
Tieghan has also been blogging about the family’s adventures in South Korea. She wrote in one post, “Catching Opening Ceremonies, and watching my brother walk the circle with Team USA, was a moment I don’t think anyone in my family will ever forget, pretty cool. As mentioned, I didn’t stay for the whole thing, but the performances and the lighting of the torch were all pretty incredible.”
5. Red’s Father Confessed to Being Nervous When His Son Competed
Imagine the feelings of the Gerard family to see their teenage son, just 17, competing with the world’s best and defeating them. It’s a dizzying ride for a young man whose talent was recognized when he was very young.
Red’s father Conrad admitted as his son hit the slopes in PyeongChang, “I’m kind of nervous.” According to Time Magazine, the father, “wearing an ominous Cleveland Browns beanie, stroked his frizzy gray beard and took a swig from a can of Kloud, a premium South Korean beer.”
Conrad admitted to being a bit in the dark about the rules of snowboarding. “I don’t understand all the tricks he does,” Conrad Gerard said. “I asked my boys, was that good? They said, ‘Yeah, it’s good.’”
His mother, Jen, said of Red growing up in such a large family: “There’s 23 years between them. I think in a large family you almost need to find your little niche.”