Russell Winfield is a pro in the snow, a pro in the street leagues and now cultivates cannabis with a competitive edge
Russell Winfield is sitting on a drawer full of “beans.” Deadstock genetic seeds — or beans — are his safe deposit. He’s close friends with Shane from Aurum Farms and he gardens with the same tunnel vision that made him a professional athlete across several X-Games disciplines. He still rides for companies, but is more captivated by a leafy love affair.
“You can chase it all year,” Winfield said in a sit down with PDA. “I could be in New Zealand but instead I’m laying low.”
He competes on his own terms.
On slopes or skate trucks. He’d rather tell you about haircutting and dropping trellises though. Or about Kromes the White crossed with itself making the “Walter White” strain. Grayskull is what he calls his blossoming brand and Russell is taking it live to the world in a campaign befitting a streetwise company, not a hunky-dory agri-ranch.
He doesn’t smoke anymore, but travelled the world as a sponsored rider taking bumps and bruises like stamps on his passport.
“I’m using the topicals on my joints, that’s real shit,” Winfield shares without a blink.
We could list a glossary of accomplishments here, companies he rode for, names so often dropped but we will instead comply with Russell’s recommendation for simple and understated.
“I do stuff,” he says of his career.
His history with the plant is panoramic. The stories that he delivers so effortlessly are always three-dimensional.
“I used to buy herb for moms in Washington Square Park (NYC),” Winfield recalls launching into a quick diatribe. “I was young, gettin’ this ‘Golden Thai’ strain. It was crazy factory pressed with an eagle on the stamp. It hit too hard, she asked me to go to the Bronx and get that regular Jamaican weed. Everyone had the delivery service homie too.”
“I seen weed everywhere in the world. The Northwest is the best —ever,” Winfield continues. “And I’m in Amsterdam telling everyone that. It’s gotta be the climate for indoor. It’s like pizza and bagels in New York. There’s a reason. So I call this the ‘Platinum Coast’ from Portland to Vancouver. We’re shimmering.”
PDA is collaborating with Grayskull on in-house strains sold only at the PDA Lounge in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. That’s in the lab until the weather warms up however. Conversations along these lines get Russell thinking in all directions about the green industry and the need for farms handling their own creative direction.
“Budweiser doesn’t hand you a keg and say ‘call it whatever you want.’ That why we got brands,” Winfield explains. “There’s Faygo, Nehi Grape Drink, Dr. Pepper. We’re gonna have it the same way.”
After watching dime bags turn to dabs he can’t help but reflect on the arms race for pot potency.
“Everyone wants the fastest car, but the speed limit is still 70,” Winfield points out metaphorically.
Even with the concentrates, muscular flowers and quad-dose edibles Russell still thinks alcohol poses more problems in society today.
“I don’t see how some of these people dab as much as they do and have time to work enough to afford these oils. They gone past high,” Winfield mentions casually. “I wasn’t in to it at 30. I smoked every day — tough — from 9th grade until I turned 30. Weed isn’t my lifestyle, it’s a part of my lifestyle. That’s an important difference. I’m not gonna wind up chasing the dragon. I never had that moderation switch. I’m either on or off. But weed, yeah — it’s better for you than booze.”
Given his professional history and worldly view his thoughts on athletes and cannabis surfaced naturally during the back and forth.
“It’s just that some sports aren’t allowed to talk about it. I heard plenty a stories about golfers competing stoned outta their minds,” Winfield says of X-Games sports and drug testing. “With snowboarding it’s part of the lifestyle, not the sport. Those gold medalists ain’t talking about it. Not enough money in snowboarding to keep your mouth shut ‘bout anything. Oh I get $1,000 a week and I can’t say shit? I’d say ‘go fuck yourself.’”
If he has one cautionary suggestion for PDA’s “Travel More” section devotees, after all the connecting flights and lay-overs, it’s don’t bring weed to Japan.
“Japan doesn’t have weed. You can get in that real trouble,” Winfield warns. “I heard they assume you’re crazy if they catch you with weed and put you in a straight jacket until they can figure it out. But I did smoke in Japan. It was shit, horrible. We got a bootleg opium pipe at the corner shop. Just wait though — they’ll love the wax. It will be touchin’ buttons and all that shit.”
As the world opens up to marijuana in all its forms you can find Russell Winfield on the platinum coast living a life that amounts to a lot more than his hill of “beans.”