After more than a decade on the Burton global team, Swiss powder jedi Nicolas Müller has joined Gnu Snowboards.
Nico has appeared in numerous films from the Big B over the years and it'll be strange to see a rival base graphic tweaked out during those iconic methods – in fact only this year, Burton released the new Flight Attendant model with direct input from Müller.
There's been more transfer activity of late than an oil rich football club
However, behind the scenes there's been more transfer activity of late than an oil rich football club. First Nico's good friend and fellow Swiss Fredi Kalbermatten (who joined the Global Team at the same time) didn't have his contract renewed – eventually landing a deal with Lib Tech. Then came the big news that Nike – Müller's other main sponsor – are pulling out of snowboarding.
While the swoosh are honouring existing rider contracts (and Nicolas recently told us he had a full three seasons left on his) it appears his thoughts are already turning to the next chapter, and rather than return to a full outerwear/hardware deal with his alma mater (as some had speculated might happen) he is taking advantage of the breathing room to join Fredi in the Mervin Manufacturing stable.
The news isn't a total surprise to WL. During a visit to the Lib Tech/Gnu factory in 2009 we bumped into Nicolas at the local bar. Given that Mervin is located on a remote peninsula off Seattle – several hours from the nearest mountain – it's fair to say he wasn't there for the Twilight tour. In the end the apparent talks came to nought when Nike re-launched with a splash soon after and the rest, as they say, is history. But the guys at Gnu clearly retained an interest and yesterday they finally got their man.
In 2009 we bumped into Nicolas near the Mervin factory. It's fair to say he wasn't there for the Twilight tour
Mervin's environmental credentials (heating the factory on bio-fuel and pioneering the use of non-toxic materials) make them a natural fit for a famously tree-hugging rider who helped develop Burton's green outerwear line. Here's the official press release from the offices they call Mt Weird:
Gnu is proud to welcome Nicolas Müller to the team. Nico’s riding, personality and very being compliments everything Gnu believes, strives for and holds dear. For Gnu founders Mike Olson and Pete Saari snowboarding and building dream boards has always been about creative expression, problem solving and holding “the real world" at bay for as long as possible. This unreality also exists in how Nicolas uses his snowboard to interpret the world around him.
Few riders have ever channeled a more original and explosive approach to mountain riding than Nicolas Müller
Few riders have ever channeled a more original and explosive approach to mountain riding than Nicolas Müller. Creativity and a free spirit are everywhere in his snowboarding, his relationship with the sport, the culture and it’s impact on the world.
Nico is joining a team of finesse freestyle masters such as Forest Bailey, Blake Paul and Temple Cummins. This crew paired with Gnu’s bold engineering, a commitment to art, artists and artistry, a commitment to safe working environments for snowboarders building snowboards in the USA, and the environmentally nicer building practices of Mervin Manufacturing all adds up to an unreal mixture of skill, design, aesthetics, adventure and progression. It’s almost too good to be true. With Nicolas Müller, Gnu is Unreal Snowboarding.
“Life never stands still and we’re here to make the most of it. Riding for Gnu is a fun adventure I can not miss. The decision came naturally when I found Mt.Weird. I am very excited to climb it and ride it every day." ~Nicolas Müller