New Zealand by Heli
Boardin' School - Snowboard Bends & Raduction
Boardin' School - Speed Zome(tm)
Boardin' School - Total Comfort
A mellow, reserved Finn with an Olympic silver medal and an unprecedented TTR title three-peat under his belt, Peetu Piiroinen kept his foot on the competitive gas in 2012.
He suffered a broken rib last December but healed quickly to win slopestyle bronze at X Games, took 3rd in slopestyle at the Burton European Open, and won the Innsbruck Air and Style with a backside 1260 mute in the super finals.
Taking home world titles, stacks of cash, and cars is nothing new for a high-flying Finn who stomps his technical tricks on all forms of transition. In 2011 he linked podiums at the Burton European Open, Munich Air and Style, and Innsbruck Air and Style to win both the TTR title and the BGOS title after scoring silver at the 2010 Vancouver games the season before. Recent trips to backcountry zones show he's ready to bring his freestyle attack to natural terrain. We're just wondering how many more titles and trophies Peetu will win before he shifts focus to filming.
Home Town: Hyvinkää, Finland
Home Mountain: Sveitsin Hiihtokeskus, Finland
Mark McMorris is the definition of a meteoric rise and last season the trajectory of this quiet Canadian continued to astound.
Not yet old enough to rent a car or have a legal drink, McMorris won double gold at 2012 Winter X in Aspen, stomping the first triple cork 1440 in the history of the competition to secure the Big Air win. He also took the title in Davos at the O'Neill Evolution with a big backside double cork 1260. To add to the accolades, he took home the 2012 Transworld Rider's Poll Rookie of the Year award. But for those who saw him burst onto the scene in 2011, stacking these stats comes as no surprise.
How a flatland kid from Regina, Saskatchewan, learned to ride like this is anybody's guess, but his progress can be easily measured in podiums around the world, including a 2011 X Games slopestyle silver and an impressive 2011 victory at the legendary Air and Style in Innsbruck. McMorris is just starting to rev up his competitive engine, but the kid rips regardless of cash prizes-as evidenced by his status as the rider with not one, but two triple cork variations under his belt. We've witnessed his talent in Brain Farm's The Art of Flight and this season we'll see another dimension of Mark's corked out riding in Burton's newest film, 13.
Home Town: Regina, Saskatchewan
Home Mountain: Don't have one
Let's start with the headline-Kimmy Fasani became the first woman ever to land a double backflip in both park and powder.
It was a landmark achievement in the history of riding, but it was no surprise for friends and allies who have been trying to keep up with Kimmy since she won three consecutive USASA national championships while still in high school. It might be her fearless approach to flight, but this longtime Mammoth local is now solidly in the class of girls who are pushing the levels of women's riding on film and in the backcountry.
In 2011, Kimmy not only landed the double back off a fifty-foot booter but she also nabbed Snowboarder's Ms. Superpark standout award, hung tough with a heavy crew of legends in the Whistler backcountry and was one of three pro women selected to film her own full segment for Standard's TB20. Her resume includes a stack of published photos, a highlight reel of aerial footage and a bachelor's degree in marketing, but what impressed us most was that she found the time to get married to longtime boyfriend and pro skier Chris Benchetler in 2011. In 2012 Kimmy continued to go big, heading to Japan to ride pow with the Burton girls, and linking up with Standard to film another awesome part. All while beating out Terje, Jussi, Jeremy, and Stephan at the TWS Shootout to become only the fifth female ever-and first in five years-to land the cover of Transworld.
Home Town: Mammoth Lakes, California
Home Mountain: Mammoth Mountain, California
We all think we know Danny Davis.
But the Truckee local and unofficial FREND spokesperson keeps us all guessing with a freeform character that blends elements of superpipe gypsy and backcountry hippy. What surprised everyone last season-except those who tracked his first underdog rise-was a rapid return to contention. In 2012 Danny reached the finals at the Legendary Banked Slalom, qualified second at the US Open and took second at the European Open-displaying the talent and the charge that brought him from the icy hometown hills of Michigan to the all-time pipe runs and big backcountry booters of top-tier pro snowboarding. Through it all, he has never wandered from the relaxed style and soulful vibe that has earned him countless fans worldwide.
Danny grew up riding the frigid hills of Michigan and landed on the Burton team after a 2005/2006 podium-strung season, a competitive output that also earned him the coveted Rookie of the Year award from both Snowboarder and Transworld. Since his breakout year, he's won countless contests, developed the Easy Livin board series, took the 2010 Mammoth Grand Prix over Shaun White (with a run many proclaimed the best in halfpipe history), and bagged multiple Dew Tour halfpipe titles. While his halfpipe style is in a league of its own, this Truckee local is just as comfortable in the woods, whether in his camper, splitboarding around Tahoe, or hiking with his pound puppies-Layla and Jerry. Building on his 2012 momentum, Danny collaborated with Mountain Dew on the Peace Pipe which will hit screens this season, and followed up his appearance in the Art of Flight with a standout segment in the newest Burton movie, 13.
Home Town: Highland, Michigan
Home Mountain: Alpine Valley Ski Resort
Few pros have had a bigger influence on urban riding or backed up their talk with video proof quite like Jeremy Jones.
A member of the original Forum Eight with banger parts in every Mack Dawg movie from Decade to Double Decade, Jeremy's technical skills and all-terrain prowess have redefined freestyle for a new generation.
Jeremy got his first photo published in a 1996 issue of Snowboarder, and dropped a part in Mack Dawg and Kingpin Production's 1997 movies. The rest is legendary. From Snowboarder and Transworld covers to classic appearances in the first Forum team movies, to his 2003 switch to Burton, he's never slowed down. Even with his status as a movie-part master secured and a family at home in Utah, Jeremy is nowhere near finished. While other careers have faded, he's still stacking up respect through shots and footage, including a part in Burton latest film, 13.
Home Town: Sandy, Utah
Home Mountain: Northstar-at-Tahoe, California
A decade-plus in the game is like a lifetime in some sports, but Jussi Oksanen hasn't just survived, he has stayed at the professional forefront with banner video parts and a long history of X Games podiums including a recent bronze and viewer's choice awards in the 2012 X Games' Real Snow Backcountry contest.
Long a video icon, Jussi broke onto the scene with a second generation of Scanners that brought technical tricks and ice-honed consistency to both massive and natural features. From a seemingly endless list of video parts that started with Standard Films and includes last part in Mack Dawg's last film, to now being a father of two, and running Mizu, Jussi is both an icon and an influencer in freestyle snowboarding.
After garnering the coveted Transworld Rider's Poll 'Part of the Year' award for his 1999 segment in TB8, Jussi followed up fame with rewind-worthy segments in TB9 and TB10, then helped the Robot Food-reboot of the snowboard video industry with defining parts in Afterbang, Lame, and Afterlame. His more recent resume counts four Mack Dawg movies; Burton's The B, and Transworld's In Color. In between grabbing magazine covers and stomping backcountry rotations in all directions, Jussi racked up his share of contest highlights, including four X Games medals and podiums at major contests such as the Air and Style, World Championships, US Open and European Open. With video cred that continued with last year's Burton film Standing Sideways and will carry forward in the newest Burton release 13, it's no surprise that Jussi's name is recognized worldwide as being synonymous with style.
Home Town: Encinitas, California
Home Mountain: Northstar-at-Tahoe, California
It's been a long road to recovery for Kevin Pearce, but each season the headline changes and continues to inspire.
This past season, the good news was that Kevin waded safely back into competition at the Legendary Banked Slalom, earning the Andernewski Award and a standing ovation from the faithful for representing the spirit of snowboarding. It's a powerful return from an emotional story where Kevin had risen to become world-class competitor, with consecutive Arctic Challenge victories, a pair of Air and Style wins, multiple X Games medals and back-to-back European Open triumphs over Shaun White. Then it all came crashing down on December 31, when Kevin suffered a traumatic brain injury while attempting a Cab double cork while training in the Park City halfpipe.
Before the injury, his presence was a threat to Shaun White and his sudden absence from the Olympic Games represented the peak of disappointment. Still, the real story unfolded in the aftermath, with an unprecedented outpouring of fan, rider and non-snowboarder support as Kevin progressed from a three-month hospital stay towards a remarkable recovery. From fellow FREND Scotty Lago dedicating his Olympic medal to him, to a 50,000-plus Facebook following, the legions that rocked "I ride for Kevin" helped him on the intense path to recovering sight, balance, and memory. Kevin's personal dedication and humility in the face of such obstacles pulled him through his continued rehab as he's become a national point of inspiration. His work is far from done, but his family, friends, and fans are relieved to know this one will end well with Kevin now back on his board and once again fully immersed in the snowboard community.
Home Town: Norwich, Vermont
Home Mountain: Ascutney, Vermont
Perfection is elusive, but for most of the last two winters Kelly Clark was on fire, winning 16 of 17 halfpipe contests and remaining undefeated in finals.
When her "sweet 16" streak ended, it was with a 2nd place finish at the US Open, a feat that would have easily been a highlight for anyone she beat during her reign. Easily the winningest woman in halfpipe history, Kelly Clark's meteoric rise established a legacy of greatness. Right out of the gate, Kelly scooped a mind-blowing 23 podiums before she was even a legal adult-including a Vans Triple Crown win, a Junior World Championship title, and an overall Grand Prix title. Since then, she's added multiple X Games medals, a record-setting five US Open pipe wins, and Olympic Gold and Bronze.
In 2010-11, she was nearly perfect, winning everything from the New Zealand Open, O'Neill Evolution and Burton European Open halfpipes to the X Games, Canadian Open, Mammoth Grand Prix, Burton Global Open title and the overall Dew Cup title. Kelly started the 2011-12 season with her third straight New Zealand Open Halfpipe victory. She followed that up with back-to-back victories at the Grand Prix and Dew Tour then defended her gold at X Games, once again sticking massive 1080s in the finals. In the end she also added the European Open, won Euro X by 10 points, took home the Global Open title (again) and added the World Snowboard Championship Title to a trophy case that might just be the biggest in snowboarding. It will likely need to get even bigger next season if her incredible run continues.
Home Town: West Dover, Vermont
Home Mountain: Mount Snow, Vermont
A consummate competitor who returned to form with a bronze at the X Games this past winter, then celebrated in style with a 25th birthday bash at Aspen's Sky Hotel, Hannah's rock-star scorecard includes Gold in Torino, Silver in Vancouver, and multiple X Games medals.
Even with this list of accolades, fame hasn't gone to her head. She's still just a down-to-earth girl who doesn't just squash the competition, but one-ups them by donating her winnings to charity-a move that earned the true Vermonter her own Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavor.
The best example of her presence outside the halfpipe arena is Hannah's Gold (www.hannahsgold.com), a nonprofit she founded to turn Vermont maple syrup sales into new schools and fresh drinking water for the village of Kirindon, Kenya. Raising more than $200,000 through this ongoing World Vision effort is just one of her noble causes. Hannah has lent her celebrity in support of PETA's Save the Seals campaign and founded Sweet Cheeks, an organization that sells panties for charity. Not to mention ditching her base layer for SI's cameras-a move she also dedicated to women not being ashamed of their bodies. Lurkers beware; she got her competitive edge by keeping up with her four brothers.
Home Town: Belmont, Vermont
Home Mountain: Sierra-at-Tahoe, California
Some kids are born with snowboarding in their blood and in their backyards.
For Mikey Rencz this convergence included a Canadian Rockies upbringing and an early baptism to the Whistler backcountry with some of snowboarding's most legendary pros. The benefits of sledding to spots like Brandywine as a teenager, under the "tutelage" of the Wildcats, are plain to see in this easy-going stomper's style. Long before pro status, cover shots, video parts and the legend of 8 Mile, Mikey started out as a halfpipe competitor, placing top ten in the 1999 US Open Junior Jam.
After moving to Whistler, BC, fulltime to trade pipe laps for two-stroke smoke and turning pro at age 15, Mikey quickly stacked up backcountry freestyle coverage and video parts, including interviews and covers in Snowboard Canada and a debut segment in the 2004 film Promo Copy. Mikey's notoriety grew with a Transworld interview in 2005, the coveted last part in the 2006 film Wear it Well, and a Snowboard Magazine cover in 2007. After logging a standout part in Transworld's Get Real, Mikey relocated to Squamish and his part in 2010's Cheers is evidence that the move was right on track. This winter he was right at home, sledding deeper and deeper into the Pemberton, Whistler, and Revelstoke backcountry with a crew that usually includes teammate Jussi Oksanen. Park-caliber tricks into bottomless blower are Mikey's signature and you'll find plenty of that footage in the newest Burton movie, 13.
Home Town: Canmore, British Columbia
Home Mountain: Whistler/Blackcomb
John Jackson is the most positive force in snowboarding and if you haven't yet felt his influence, you haven't been paying attention.
With raw, powerful style, double-cork ability and a resume that defies convention, John J has tapped into another dimension of backcountry awareness. Beyond the Rider of the Year wins, the cover shots and the jaw-dropping parts, it's his naturally creative style that keeps expanding our snowboarding consciousness, one sick shot at a time. Last season his reality took the form of an impressive part for X Games Real Snow Backcountry, a 4th at Supernatural with a run that ended in a massive best trick-winning double cork, plus filming a full part for Burton's newest movie, 13.
Jackson was born a Mammoth local, perfected park at June Mountain and won US Nationals at an early age. He altered our thinking with his opener in Standard's White Balance, but it was his double-song ender in the 2009 film, Forum Forever, that left our minds completely blown. In 2010 he earned Rider of the Year and Part of the Year honors from both Snowboarder and Transworld, then followed up with an unprecedented repeat of all four titles for his two-part efforts in Forum's F It. A knee injury slowed him in 2011, but his AK Art of Flight lines gave us a glimpse at freestyle's future. After taking a hit again this season John J landed on the injured reserve, but he healed quickly and made it to AK to kick off Brothers on the Run, a 15,000-mile fishing, shredding and surfing trip from Alaska to Argentina with his brother Eric.
Home Town: Crowley Lake, California
Home Mountain: Mammoth Mountain, California
Widely recognized as snowboarding's most creative influence, it's tough to overstate the season that Nicolas Muller experienced.
It started with appearing in the Art of Flight and landing the cover of Transworld, then his ride continued with a 3rd place finish at Supernatural and a win in the 2012 X Games Real Snow Backcountry video contest. Along the way, the outspoken Swiss rider continued to treat us to his expressive riding, capturing a combination of creative freestyle and technical flow in big mountain terrain for TGR's Further and Absinthe's Resonance. But Nicolas does more for snowboarding than just ride and has long used his notoriety to establish a platform for speaking on sustainability issues. From climate change to personal consumption, his commitment and influence runs deep, including pioneering greener products, offsetting his sled and heli footprint, and presiding over the Breathe Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness around environmental issues.
Nicolas earned due respect with part after mind-blowingpart in Absinthe Films, from Tribal to Now/Here, including openers, enders, and two full parts in 2005's Futureproof. Along the way he's snagged multiple Snowboarder and Transworld covers, plus segments in The Community Project, That's It That's All, 91 Words for Snow, It's Always Snowing Somewhere, The B, and the documentary Lines. In recognition of his visionary approach and ability to drop freestyle moves in the middle of AK descents, Nicolas was awarded Snowboarder's 'Rider of the Year' distinction in 2006 and 2008. With his legacy secured, "Nico" continues to innovate on the slopes, and generate awareness about protecting them. Even with a decade-plus of video output, it will always be a welcome surprise to see what Nicolas brings next.
Home Town: Zurich, Switzerland
Home Mountain: Laax, Switzerland
We all know Shaun White exists in the stratosphere between two-time Olympic gold medalist and international snowboard celebrity.
His trophy case is stacked with Olympic, X Games and Dew Tour medals and his resume includes everything from his own Wheaties box, multiple Rolling Stone covers and late-night talk show appearances to his own signature video games���even his own Air and Style event. So what could Mr. White do last season to rise above the hype? First, he secured a superpipe five-peat at Winter X while throwing down the first perfect 100-point score in the history of the event, on his victory lap. Then he dialed in a double-gold win at Winter X Tignes with slopestyle dominance that silenced the haters and the doubters. He capped it all off with another impressive win, on Burton home turf, at the 30th annual US Open and celebrated another extraordinary season by taking home his 8th ESPY for Best Male Action Sports Athlete.
Shaun has earned his status, and watching his runs in slopestyle or superpipe has been an exercise in progression trending towards perfection. His competitive resume alone confirms his snowboard credentials-from his first major victory at the 2001 Arctic Challenge, Shaun went on to an undefeated 2006 season, two Olympic Golds, 12 Dew Tour wins, seven US Opens and a record 22 X Games medals. It gets ridiculous when you add in the endless online replays of his stomped double Mctwist 1260, his creation of the White Collection with Burton, and a focus on skating, which added even more podiums to his resume. Its tough being Shaun White, because what do you do next? We're not sure, but we'll definitely be watching.
Home Town: Carlsbad, California
Home Mountain: Northstar California Resort