Ed Leigh: The Best Snowboarding I’ve Ever Seen


Johan Olofsson tearing down a virgin face in Alaska. Photo: Dan Milner

After my last blog on the Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Seen I thought it would be nice to balance things with a look at the most incredible riding I’ve been lucky enough to witness during my twenty years in the industry. Please don’t mistake this as my opinion on the best things that have ever happened in snowboarding. Far from it, these are purely the most impressive feats of board control and judgement I have witnessed in the flesh and in snowboarding, because so much riding happens in front of no one, it is an important distinction.

All the acts you’re about to read about, have happened in front of less than fifty pairs of eyes and in most cases less than ten. But as the comments for Gumby’s big air proved everyone has a Gumby story and I imagine most of you have one of these, a moment of sublime genius that falls perfectly into place in the snowboarding universe. The digital age has allowed us to better document each others exploits, but there is still no substitute for the joy of a drunk game of “my mate’s a better rider than yours”. Pub banter is still one of snowboarding’s most rewarding experiences.

There is still no substitute for the joy of a drunk game of “my mate’s a better rider than yours”.

So before you settle in for this read may I suggest that you go and buy a slab of 33 Export/Steigl/PBR, shoe polish the lower half of your face for that authentic goggle tan look whilst casually letting the drunk eye wander over anyone nearby (that aren’t your parents) imagining they are wanton chalet girls/boys. And then once you’ve scoffed at my tales you can use the comments below as a kind of digital heckling/”that’s nothing” tool.

Finally before we start I want to say that all these moments have stuck with me for the same reason. All of them were spontaneous moments, perfect moments where the subjects were lost in riding, not show boating or contriving a situation, just reacting naturally to what circumstance had thrown at them. To me that is what made them so memorable.

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