On the left: Danny Kass, two-time Olympic medalist and one of the U.S. snowboarders rumored to be caught in New Zealand this week with “not an insignificant amount” of marijuana.
The rumor mill has been hard at work today. A few snowboarding websites have been posting a similar story regarding a New Zealand newspaper (Queenstown’s The Southland TImes) headlining “US Snowboarders Up On Dope Charges”. Link.
The article states that there were two American snowboarders, ages 21 and 26, pulled over in Wanaka, NZ during a random roadside breath testing.
The article continues on to quote the sergeant Paul Crosswell of Wanaka Police Department who said the two males were caught with “not an insignificant amount” of cannabis in the car. (Interesting wording there)
The author of the story does not name names, but does call out the 26 year old male as an “influential male snowboarder” who has won double Winter Olympic medals. He then refers to the 21 year old male as a candidate “vying to represent the US at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver next year.”
Which leads anyone with any capable google-ing skill to figure out that Danny Kass is a 26 year old male who has won two medals at Winter Olympic games.
And, furthermore, it is seemingly known within tight snowboarding circles that Danny and Louie Vito (age 21) are currently traveling and riding together in New Zealand in a van that they purchased and had painted. Danny just posted a picture of the van on his twitter account.
Oh boys, boys, boys. There is no authoritative answer from any source at this point acknowledging that it was Danny and Louie, but we can certainly see where all the speculation comes from.
The Southland Times article says the men will stand in front of the District Court in Queenstown on Monday (August 10th).
Another slightly odd part of the article points out that the riders are very “high profile”, and the only other high-profile cannabis case in New Zealand was in 2000 when a US billionaire philanthropist Peter Lewis was “discharged without a conviction when he paid more than $50,000 to charity after admittedly importing more than 23g of cannabis”.
$50,000 dollars! Yikes. (Thats 33,000 + in US dollars). But wait, the guy imported weed and got off without a conviction because he paid off charity? Did we read that right?
Anyway, the smart guys over at Boardistan looked up cannabis charges in New Zealand via the New Zealand Herald and found that “that maximum penalty for a conviction for possession of marijuana is three months’ jail and/or a NZ$500 fine (US$330)”. Link.
If there is any more news regarding the US riders caught with weed in New Zealand we will post it here at the GrindTV.com snow blog. Otherwise we’ll be looking forward to seeing both Louie and Danny riding in the Burton New Zealand Open next week at Cardrona Resort just outside of Wanaka, as well as in the World Cup Olympic Qualifier the following week.
Louie Vito, the younger rider rumored to be involved. Just to make it clear. Nothing is official. No one knows yet the true identity of the riders. (Editor Note: While we do not promote the use of drugs in any way, we do promote both Danny Kass and Louie Vito as stand up guys, exceptional athletes and great representations of our country in the upcoming Olympics should they succeed to qualify.)