In a lot of ways snowboarding hasn’t changed much since I started riding almost 15 years ago. It’s still about the search for unique terrain, building features with friends, exploring the mountains, powder days, riding the chairlift while breathing in fresh mountain air, laughing, slapping high 5′s, travelling and getting rad.
In a lot of other ways, snowboarding has changed considerably. Halfpipes are more then double the size, riders are dropping in on features that wouldn’t have been considered “ridable”, triple corks are getting stomped on the regular, and the grooms of today barely recognize the names of pros I grew up looking up to.
There’s still some riders from that era that the kids recognize, Legends like Terje Haakonsen and Craig Kelly, or the young guns from the 90′s like JP Walker, Jeremy Jones and Devun Walsh who burst onto the scene at a young age and helped define what snowboarding looks like today. But lots of other riders have been forgotten by the youth of today. Riders like Daniel Franck, Jim Rippey, Brian Iguchi, Ingemar Backman, Dave Downing and Noah Salasnek. The list goes on and I apologize for leaving out some big names.
These riders progressed snowboarding 15 years ago in much the same way that Travis Rice, Seb Toots and Torstein Horgmo do today.
Sure, some groms riding the jib line might recognize the last generation of big name pros, but they have no idea how much of an influence these riders had at the time.
In the 1990′s Terje Haakonsen was the king. When he dropped Subjekt: Haakonsen in 1996 it was the equivalent in the snowboard community of Travis Rice releasing the Art of Flight (without the multi million dollar budget and mainstream media coverage). Check out the opening segment of Subjekt: Haakonsen featuring Terje and Daniel Franck. There’s some gold in here. Remember, lots of these tricks had never been done before!
While you’re at it compare it to this highlight reel/interview with Travis Rice that dropped yesterday. The tricks are bigger, the terrain is crazier and the cinematography has progressed considerably but the soul is the same.
Let’s hope that with all the big changes that has happened in Snowboarding over the last couple years with the Olympics, corporate sponsorship and NBC coverage that the reason we ride never changes.
I’m not too scared, kids will always be stoked to throw high 5′s on powder days.
Who was your favourite rider when you were growing up? Why?