We’re at the business end now; here we salute three of UK snowboarding’s heaviest hitters…
#4 – Danny Wheeler
When we last polled the industry back in 2007, statuesque Yorkshireman Danny Wheeler topped out the list. An epoch has passed since then, in snowboarding terms at least, yet he’s only slipped a few places – which, given that he’s barely been anywhere near a snowboard in the last few years, is some indication of his lasting influence.
Danny blazed the trail for British riders to compete on the European stage. While his continental contemporaries laughed at the fact that he didn’t learn on real snow (Rossendale dry slope was where he cut his teeth), he worked hard and got results that proved the rosbifs were here to stay. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed, and as well as the podiums he secured a pro model snowboard and jacket.
In 2006 he took the dedication and drive that had defined his contest riding, and poured it into Skyrocket – a passion project that he directed, edited and starred in, bring relatively unsung heroes like Mark Kent, Nelson Pratt and Simon Brass along for the ride.
He did all this while battling undiagnosed OCD, not to mention being considerably taller than your average pro. A giant of British snowboarding, in every sense.
“Instrumental in raising the profile of British snowboarding, with a career spanning more than 20 years” – Scott McMorris, rider
“A finely tuned freestyle machine who spearheaded two or three generations of British freestylers. An immaculately-curated repertoire of big tricks saw him take on all comers on even the biggest boosters” – Ed Leigh, rider/presenter
“The original British pro” – Dan Wakeham, former halfpipe Olympian