It’s the oldest cliche in the book — and for a reason I suppose — but snowboarding is, has, and always will be about the lifestyle as much as the sport. The snowboard way of life, if given due diligence, is an anarchist’s “how to” to finding your own way in life. It invokes this age-old ideal that anything questioning the establishment and subsequently clawing its way to gain any kind of real acceptance somehow carries a more substantial worth than the status quo. And from the very beginning, snowboarding held strong and true to doing things your own way.
If it still, in fact does hold strong and true to this ideal, in the face of its mainstream success and now-general acceptability, is not what I’m here to discuss. That is another conversation for another day. What I do want to touch on, however, are some of the dudes (both past and present) who embody the sort of attitudes that we all should all take a cue from.
These ten are, in my opinion, what snowboarding is all about.
O.G. Maestro. The king of kings.
In the early days, Craig set the standard for what it meant to be a snowboarder. Starting his career in accordance with the governed structure of early race and freestyle competition, Craig quickly separated himself from the rest. And while he was undeniably the best, he soon saw something more.
By pioneering backcountry snowboarding, Craig not only bucked the system, but he set out on a personal evolution, exploring the subtle intricacies of freedom and human experience by connecting with his board in a way that has not been expressed since. Tragically, he died doing what he loved in 2003, but his guiding spirit lives on among his brethren.
Even in his early years, Lando rode like a man. Far from playing dress up and prancing around — as done by many of today’s young riders — this native Alaskan has taken a no bullshit approach to snowboarding, and in doing so has been as forthcoming and focused off his board as he is on it.
Similarly, that focus has led to major decisions less mature riders wouldn’t be able to make. In more recent years, he felt the drink was affecting his shredding he simply set the bottle down for good, taking advantage of the once in a lifetime opportunity he’s been given to ride powder for a living. Respect.
Follow Mark Landvik on Instagram.
I think few would oppose the idea that in recent years the shady lady from the small town of Vernon, British Columbia, raised the bar for women’s snowboarding. Fewer still would argue that her approach to snowboarding is entirely unique, if not certifiably insane. With a never say die attitude, Kimura successfully shows that progression may lie in sheer will power more so than natural born talent.
What Jess does for women’s snowboarding is nothing less than to set the right example for generations to come. In short, her brand of tenacity and undying love for snowboarding is something we all should be so lucky to possess.
Follow Jess Kimura on Instagram.
Young Yoder out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, has somehow successfully forged a path in pro snowboarding against “the dance, monkey, dance!” model that dominates the industry. When the talented 24-year-old kept getting hurt while hitting huge jumps and trying to do what was expected of him as a sponsored rider, he made a conscious decision to stop putting himself at risk for the sake of glory and/or a paycheck.
And it worked out for him. Yoder has spent the last couple of winters riding neck-deep pow in Japan forwarding a new wave of soul shredders who value a nice turn as much as anything else.
Follow Alex Yoder on Instagram.
Romain de Marchi
Pro snowboarding has had its fair share of rock stars, that’s for certain. Yet, while many may be known for their party tricks more so than their on snow tricks, this savage Swiss pretty much took the animal award for the better part of a decade.
Legally, I’m not able to relay the extent of his destruction, but with stints in an Alaskan jail as being well known for his superhuman ability to forgo sleep and reinvent what HUGE meant on legendary kicker sessions, de Marchi was in a league of his own. Still at it to this day, albeit a bit calmer, he lives in Squamish with his wife and two kids heading up YES. Snowboards. And he absolutely still charges harder than most.
Follow Romain de Marchi on Instagram.
Another Alaskan is setting the standard for what it means to be a self sufficient snowboarder, backcountry freerider Ryland has always been on the fringe — that is more than fine by him.
While many pros expect sponsors to pay them because of their history, image or talent, Ryland takes matters into his own hands salmon fishing every summer off the coast of his home state. And given the fickle nature of the snowsports industry, he’s probably on to something. Just like the rest of us Ryland has to work to make it happen. But that’s okay when come December his pockets are stacked and the snow if starting to fly.
All of that being said, as far as his snowboarding goes, if there is anyone that is going to Deeper, Further and Higher than Jeremey Jones, it is probably Ryland Bell.
Follow Ryland Bell on Instagram.
How can you not look up to someone with the best style in snowboarding? Of course Nico is naturally gifted and none of us will ever ride like him, but you at least have to marvel at the grace with which he rides. He is like a hawk man.
Beyond that, it takes balls to turn down energy drink money year after year and instead promote a balanced lifestyle, vegetarianism, and deep appreciation for the gift of snowboarding. Always kind and soft spoken, Müller leads by example not an inflated ego. The world needs more people like Nico.
Follow Nicolas Müller on Instagram.
The list would be severely lacking with this true pioneer. Big mountain Jeremy Jones (not to be confused with big mouth Jeremy Jones) took freeriding from utterly insane Alaskan lines to an almost science-fiction level of intensity with his backcountry pursuits.
What he has done in recent years has literally opened up the far corners of the globe to those who have the experience and willpower of this legend. Thing is, few if any do. And of course I would be remiss to understate the importance of his Protect Our Winters campaign, an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to climate change and fighting the greed and corruption that got our planet into this ecological mess.
Follow Jeremy Jones on Instagram.
As legendary rider David Carrier-Porcheron was helping his wife fight cancer, his best friend and brother-in-law Joe Timlin died in an avalanche. At one point, he was admitted that was almost it for him as a snowboarder.
But with adversity came insight and everyone’s favorite Frenchy was back on his board throwing down his trademark surf style a year later starting work on his highly anticipated Balance movie.
Sometimes you just have to give it up for the nice guy.
Follow DCP on Instagram.
If you don’t measure everything in snowboarding by the mark of a Terje method, you are obviously not paying attention… or are confusing whatever it is you are doing with snowboarding. He is a living legend in the truest sense, and has been the voice that has kept the core snowboarding ideals alive and well amidst widespread homogenization.
He is over forty. He practices yoga. He is a father. He is a husband. He is a health conscious athlete. And in this man’s opinion, he is pretty much everything worth a damn in snowboarding.
But most of all, he is Terje — and that is reason enough.
Follow Terje Haakonsen on Instagram.