It’s what drives us to wake up before the sun, load up our gear and head to the mountains while our neighbours sleep. It changes the meaning of ‘Winter Storm Warning’. It drives us to question what’s possible and never, ever take no for an answer. It creates unlikely friendships, unforgettable days, countless stories and a culture devoted to standing sideways and having fun.


It is not every day that you will find a combination of skiing, skateboarding and surfing moulded into one form of winter sport. Snowboarding was first introduced in the 60’s, and the popularity of the sport grew leading to big international events and ever since fans have witnessed amazing riders perform their stuff.

There are many professional riders out there, but some took it to the next level and became the best at what they do worldwide. So, here is a list of the top 5 in the snowboarding industry.

Shaun White

Shaun White

This American professional snowboarder with Irish and Italian ancestry is the best known face in the snowboarding world. He started snowboarding at the age of 6 and received his first sponsorship by the age of 7. Ever since, there was no looking back and has to his credit 2 Olympic gold medals, X-Games records for gold medals at 15, highest overall medal count at 24 and winner of 10 ESPY awards.

Apart from his medals and awards, he has earned so many other titles such as ranking no.2 in BusinessWeek’s list of the 100 most powerful and marketable athletes, Revolver Golden Gods Award for ‘Most Metal Athlete’, ‘Chairman of the Board’ on the Spike TV Guys’ Choice Awards and so many more.

He is the highest paid snowboarder in the world and has numerous sponsors including Nike, GoPro, Target and BF Goodrich Tyres. Besides sponsors he has numerous corporate endorsement deals up his sleeves.

According to White,

What does it mean to be a snowboarder? It’s about having fun, with your friends or by yourself. It’s about pushing yourself to try new things and do the unexpected. Finally, and most importantly, it’s about being creative.’ He adds, ‘I knew there was a certain level that I could get to within the sporting world. But as I continued with my career, not only did I grow, but the sport grew. All of a sudden, all of these doors opened to me. It’s been amazing. I guess I was born at the right time.

Keep up with Shaun at

Travis Rice

Travis Rice

Travis is an American professional snowboarder, who was raised as a skier by his father. He soon took an interest in snowboarding and joined the local team. At the age of 18, without a sponsor he decided to go to Mammoth Mountain in California and enter Snowboarder Magazine’s ‘Superpark’ contest. It was at this event that he made his mark and rose to fame.

He has four X Games medals and more than twenty snowboarding films to his credit which includes Transcendence, That’s it That’s all, First Descent and Neverland.

ranging from Red Bull, Quiksilver, LIB Tech, Union bindings, Bluebird Wax, DC, Contour, Jack’s Garage to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

He says,

Ya know it’s funny, what’s happening to us. Our lives have become digital. Our friends, now virtual. And, anything you could ever wanna know is just a click away. Experiencing the world through second hand information isn’t enough. If we want authenticity we have to initiate it. We will never know our full potential unless we push ourselves to find it. It’s this self-discovery that inevitably takes us to the wildest places on earth

Discover Travis at

Gretchen Bleiler

Gretchen Bleiler

This female professional snowboarder began snowboarding at the age of 11 and aimed to compete at the X Games from a very young age. According to her,

The X Games is an amazing competition. It helped snowboarding get where it is. The Olympics is the biggest event, period. The X Games is the biggest in snowboarding.

Apart from four gold X Games medals, she initiated the invert revolution for female boarders, won the most medals in the halfpipe category among female riders, U.S. snowboard Grand Prix champion and U.S. Open of snowboarding champion to name a few.

Besides snowboarding, she went on to expand her career by designing her own line of snowboard and outerwear clothes and accessories under Oakley and K2 Snowboarding brands. Moreover, the snowboarding champ also has the likes of Coca-Cola, GoPro and Aspen Snowmass as her sponsors.

Gretchen explains,

You don’t wake up and say, today I’m going to be more creative. You do the things you love to do and try to get at their essence and allow things to emerge.

Find out more about this snowboarder at

Danny Kass

Danny Kass

Danny is a professional snowboarder who grew up snowboarding as early as 12 years old. After years of practising around the Mid Atlantic states, he entered into the Okemo Mountain School to concentrate more on the better pipe and park in the East. He expresses his passion for the sport and says,

There are normal people (in the sport) and crazy people. It’s like chasing the storm. That’s what’s cool.

He has to his credit seven X Games medals, two Olympic silver medals and four U.S Open championships. In 2001, he and his brother Matt Kass founded the extremely successful ‘Grenade Gloves Company’, specialising in snowboarding gloves, accessories and extreme sporting gears.

Besides being a snowboarding legend and a successful business owner, Danny is also a star in the reality TV show, ‘The Adventures of Danny and The Dingo’ which features world-class professional snowboarding combined with madness.

The snowboarder also has quite a collection of sponsorships from major brands like Nike, Monster, Oakley, Union Bindings, GNU and of course Grenade.

Terje Hakonsen

Terje Håkonsen

This Norwegian professional snowboarder is one of the most influential snowboarders in the history of the winter sport. Terje dominated the freestyle snowboarding scene during the 90’s and in the book ‘The way of the snowboarder’, the author Rob Reed rightly said,

Haakonsen took the young sport of snowboarding and revolutionized nearly every aspect of it

He has to his credit three ISF World Championship medals, five European Championship medals, three US Open Halfpipe Finals, seven Mt. Baker Banked Slalom medals, winner of the Innsbruck Air & Style competition and set the world record for the highest air at The Arctic Challenge in Midtstuen, Oslo.

His smooth flow and the ability to dominate any type of terrain characterises his snowboarding style which has had a great impact in the world of snowboarding. He also made his mark in films and international snowboard productions showcasing his skills freeriding on powder, big mountains and big air events. His sponsorships range from Burton, Oakley, Volcom to Infinitum Movement.

In 1996, Volcom produced ‘Subjekt Haakonsen’, a biographical film on Terje, which was soon followed by the second one titled, ‘Haakonsen Faktor’ in 1999. In 2005, Terje became the first person to ever snowboard down peak 7601 in Alaska for the documentary ‘First Descent.’

He says,

Obviously, it’s just to have fun. When I am having fun and I feel healthy, I feel like I can progress. Not so much in what I ride or the craziest trick, but in how I ride, you know? My whole motivation, though I do like to have a little bit of progress in my riding, is to be healthy and have a lot of fun.

Don’t miss out on this legend at


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