Sponsors:, adidas, Oakley, Ride, Mountain Light Project
Hometown: Waterbury Center, Vermont
Lives: Bellingham, Washington/Waterbury Center, Vermont
As a world-renowned pro at the forefront of backcountry progression, Jake is known for his fluid blend of soulful freeriding and innate technical trickery. In his quest for pure, all-mountain expression, the Vermont native turned Washington local has pursued a singular and relevant path in snowboarding. Jake’s formative years were spent on the east coast competing in icy halfpipes and rock hard slopestyle courses, until he turned pro after winning some of the biggest events in the world, including the U.S. Open. After establishing himself as a top competitor in both venues, Jake set his sights on the backcountry, where a string of progressive video parts followed suit and positioned him as one of snowboarding’s best all-terrain talents.
Sponsors: adidas, BozWreck, Gnarly, Howl, Drink Water, Active Ride Shop, Sony Action Cam
Hometown: Laguna Beach, California
Lives: Laguna Beach, California/Salt Lake City, Utah
Laguna Beach, California is not a place commonly associated with snowboarding talent. Then again, Keegan Valaika is an uncommon kid whose trajectory in pro snowboarding has been anything but predictable. As a grom he localized the SoCal park mecca that is Bear Mountain, where his natural ability quickly blossomed into a full-blown prodigy designation within snowboarding’s ranks. Soon swept up in sponsorship and competition, Keegan quite literally grew up in the industry. The influence of veteran pros and the freedom of filming inspired Keegan’s vision of his own career.
Sponsors: adidas, Billabong, YES, NOW, Airhole, Whistler Blackcomb, The Circle
Hometown: Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada
Lives: Encinitas, California/Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
The backcountry environment is a demanding and dangerous place. Learning how to handle a snowboard in this often harsh and always consequential terrain isn’t for everyone. Helen Schettini however, is totally up for the challenge. The Kamloops, British Columbia native who migrated west at age seventeen to pursue her snowboard dream has spent the last several seasons exploring and progressing in Whistler’s legendary backcountry. As one of only a small handful of female riders who undertake the sled-accessed approach to big-mountain freestyle, Helen has come a long way in a short time.
Sponsors: adidas, Lib-Tech, Von Zipper, Stance, Airhole, Mammoth Mountain, Wave Rave
Hometown: Crowley Lake, California
Eric Jackson is truly a product of his environment. Raised on the steeps of California’s Eastern Sierra range, E-Jack grew up riding the massive parks of Mammoth and exploring the surrounding backcountry as a hyperactive grom. Driven by his older brother John, Eric rode twice as hard and developed a deep bag of tricks and explosive style. In 2011, Eric joined a new crew and produced a mind-bending blower pow-filled part for People Films’ Good Look that earned him Men’s Video Part of The Year honors from TransWorld SNOWboarding as well as a coveted spot on SNOWBOARDER Magazine’s Top Ten Riders Of The Year list.
Sponsors: adidas, Salomon, DaKine, Ashbury, Nuclear, Drink Water, Botique du Skate
Hometown: Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Lives: Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Louif Paradis’ name wasn’t always synonymous with street snowboarding. That took work. Day after day, Louif grew up snowboarding the streets of Quebec City, focusing on simply riding his best, keeping his style on point, and riding spots that were unique and original. This dedication came from visualizing tricks it in his head and countless attempts. As a result, he’s netted a solid 13 video parts put out over the past 13 years.
Last year, TransWorld SNOWboarding awarded Louif with Video Part of the Year, while his film, Déjà vu won TransWorld SNOWboarding video of the year.
Sponsors: adidas, Capita, Union, Oakley, Monster Energy, Stonp, Mizu, Wend Wax
Hometown: Ishikari, Hokkaido, Japan
Lives: San Clemente, California/Chitose, Hokkaido, Japan
In today’s modern era, snowboarding continues to grow even more specialized than ever, and most riders are forced to focus on one style of riding with hopes of breaking through and making it big. Japan’s Kazuhiro Kokubo is the rare exception. The versatile phenomenon competed in pipe for Japan at the 2010 Olympics. Kazu used to spends his winters winning global halfpipe titles like the New Zealand and U.S. Open. Now he has been spending more and more time making his mark in the backcountry, dividing his time between the park and the powder. Kazu has established himself as one of snowboarding’s most well-rounded riders.
Fear surged through my veins, my muscles tense as coiled springs, ready to explode at the slightest touch, yet relaxing was vital - I desperately fought to slow my breathing and calm my mind. Tenuously clinging to the dead vertical face like one of the many small succulents which covered the wall, obscuring the holds. I was six hundred metres above the ground, with the last bolt out of sight, at least ten metres below my feet, and still unable see anything above. Scenarios flashed through my mind; we had just heard that a member of the only other party to repeat this route had broken his leg during a fall… “
Best not to think… Just concentrate and focus on the next move… You will be fine… One move at a time… Don’t think about anything else!
“Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar!” The call to prayer echoed across a craggy cirque in the Hajar Mountains. Jakob and I were in Oman to climb at a virtually unknown sport-climbing area near the small village of Hadash.
To say it was scenic here would be a grievous understatement. The purple, slate crag was exposed on a shoulder of a gigantic mountainous bowl, 1,000 metres above the plains below. Below us, dirt tracks snaked across dry riverbeds and small rocky outcrops appeared lunar and minuscule against a backdrop of 2,000-metre peaks. The call to prayer rang like a testament to the majesty of it all.
Jakob pitched off the crux of his route and swore his bad beta: “Agh, I should just do that!
b:razil 192 million inhabitants, the world’s fifth-largest country. Home of carnival, the rainforest, the Amazon, passion and emotion. An emerging economy, a land with many faces, a diverse and handsome society. Now a hotspot for the international slackline community. See g for more.
c:urriculum vitae CV or résumé. Some CVs focus on academic achievements. Some on records. Some on both.