Welcome to Redbull.com’s World Top 20 Snowboarders. What follows is a rundown of snowboarding’s best pipers, jibbers, big mountain slayers and jumpers. It is a contentious list compiled by a panel of industry no-gooders, who by all accounts should know their tindies from their tailgrabs.
Progression. It’s one of the most overused words to talk about the current state of snowboarding, yet it is hard to ignore the fact that there is a select group of snowboarders who are challenging the way we all look at snowboarding. Jake Blauvelt is one of those riders. He is a true visionary, changing the way we look at the mountains and forcing us to alter our notions of what is possible on a snowboard.
In the early days of his career you could find Jake following the traditional path of chasing the contest scene. With solid skills earned from growing up on the icy slopes of Vermont, Blauvelt quickly gained attention for having one of the best styles in snowboarding, and his US Open Slopestyle win in 2004 launched him into the spotlight. His part in Forum’s That blew people away as it was impossible to ignore just how good he was riding natural terrain. In the backcountry, Jake had found his home.
After a major sponsor switch that could have wrecked havoc on any pro’s career, Jake was determined to keep riding the way that he wanted. He began to take things in his own direction, and with fewer constraints his riding kept getting better and better. Parts in Absinthe’s NowHere and Brain Farm Cinema’s That’s It That’s All and The Art of Flight cemented Jake’s status as one of the most stylish backcountry riders in the world. No feature was off limits as he demonstrated that natural terrain holds unlimited possibilities.
In the past few years Jake has decided to step away from the standard snowboard movie route and instead created his own series for Fuel TV, Blauvelt’s Backcountry. It was a big change from the traditional yearly video and more work, but for Jake it paid off, as he was able to take his riding to new heights and bring it to a larger audience. Continuing on the success from the show, he dropped one of the best web series of all time, Naturally. A full on snowboard assault, Naturally had it all. From the epic locations and stellar riding, the series sealed Jake’s place amongst the snowboarding elite.
Make sure to check back in tomorrow to see who sits in spot number 7 as we continue our countdown of the world’s top 20 snowboarders.