The snowboarding world is today mourning the death of a genuine legend, Noah Salasnek, who had been battling liver cancer since last year. He was 47.
Hailing from Lake Tahoe, Noah was a trailblazer during the 90's boom years. His distinctive knock-kneed style came straight off the vert ramp and, alongside a creative approach to riding that encompassed spins, butters and some of the earliest rail riding, it helped cement the link between snowboarding and skateboarding. With a battle still raging for the soul of the sport between competing visions (race and freestyle) it's fair to say that Noah's influence – beamed to our screens via parts with Mack Dawg and Standard Films' TB Series – was crucial.
"Noah helped cement the link between snowboarding and skateboarding – his influence was crucial"
While today's skate-inspired riders tend to express themselves in the street, Noah was notable for his progressive big mountain riding. And yet even here, that casual style and eye for a transition shone through. His parts in TB4 and TB5 (the latter including an iconic first descent from Alaska known as Super Spines) are perhaps the ultimate expression of his talent.
“In my opinion, Chris Roach has probably the coolest style ever and Noah Salasnek is the best all around rider ever," suggests Trevor Cushing, director of the excellent series of historical snowboarding documentaries Powder and Rails, “I’m sure it’s probably possible to tie those two into every progressive thing that’s ever been done in snowboarding."
Amen to that, and rest in peace Noah.