Having grown up in Norway and regularly ridden with the likes of Terje Håkonsen, Torstein Horgmo and Andreas Wiig, it’s no surprise that Ståle Sandbech has evolved into one of the most talented and stylish riders to come out of the region. A regular on the podium (X Games, Olympics, Dew Tour, etc.) in any event he enters, Sandbech has established himself as one of the pre-eminent threats in Slopestyle, Big Air and even Halfpipe.
When he's not traveling the globe for contests and photo shoots, he's usually home, continuing to push the performance envelope and putting together impressive – and often humorous – video parts with his crew of friends, who are collectively known as RK1. It's all in good fun, but it's all true to who Ståle is as a person and his aspirations for the career and lifestyle he was to live.
To learn more about Ståle and his passion for snowboarding, head to oakley.com/stale.
Oakley, Rome Snowboards, Monster Energy, 32 Boots, Session Boardshop
Skateboarding, Traveling to New Places
Sage is a snowboarder's snowboarder. He won Olympic gold in slopestyle at the 2014 Sochi Games, where he used style and creativity to best a triple-corking men's field. In his words, it was "Spoicy!" (Translation: amazing). It was a surprise to everyone – including Sage, who simply wants to snowboard on his own terms – and quickly established Sage as the exciting new face of snowboarding. But he's glad that the Olympic hype has died down, saying that it's nice to "just be a snowboarder" again. Kotsenburg is at the forefront of a movement to focus on creativity and style and not just the biggest spins. His skills on the slope make you want to ride with him, and his unabashed candor make you want to be his friend.
Oakley, Monster Energy, GoPro, Stance, Park City Mountain Resort, Trace
Skateboarding, Surfing, Mountain Biking, Hiking... Anything outdoors really. Instagram (haha)!
Jamie Anderson entered the snow scene and the industry has flapped its lips with praise ever since. The media can't get enough of her unadulterated youthful attitude. Judges are wowed by her unfathomable ability and her sponsors love her no-nonsense way of walking the planet. Fact is, Jamie knows how to win better than anyone in her league.
What Jamie has accomplished at still such a young age is not standard practice. At 15, she made her first Winter X Games appearance, bumping Shaun White out of the history books as the youngest medalist in Winter X Games history. In 2007, she won her first women's slopestyle gold medal, becoming the youngest female gold medalist. In 2014, she added an Olympic gold medal to her resume. She’s now one of the most decorated athletes in the sport and leading the charge in trick progression.
What Jamie is not, is cocky. She is rooted in South Lake Tahoe, surrounded by her easygoing friends and supportive family. She’s still in love with snowboarding and is still as motivated as ever to see where she can help the sport to grow.
Oakley, Monster Energy, GNU, GoPro, Widsix, Sierra-at-Tahoe
Yoga, mountain biking, hiking, longboarding and SUP
Mark McMorris is the present, but he's also the future. In the time since he became the first rider to land a backside triple cork 1440 in March 2011, he’s established himself as one of the premiere names in competitive snowboarding. He had the double-gold performance at 2012 Winter X Games, and followed it up with a second consecutive Gold in Slopestyle in 2013, and settled for Silver in Big Air behind friend and Shredbots collaborator, Torstein Horgmo – when both athletes landed never-before-seen-in-competition triple-variation tricks. He added an Olympic bronze medal (let's be real, it should have been gold) in Russia, and then got back to filming and shredding as often as possible – and not just in the park. The guy is also a backcountry slayer-in-training, receiving tutelage from none other than the likes of Nicolas Müller and Terje Håkonsen.
The guy – only recently able to legally order a beer in the States – is a superstar. Despite the legions of young ladies screaming his name at contests, the reality TV shows and an ever-growing social media presence, he continues to play a crucial role in the evolution of the sport and remain as grounded as ever.
Burton, Red Bull, Oakley, DVS, AWSM, Mophie, Skullcandy, BMW, SportChek
Skateboarding, Surfing, Shredbots
Nicolas “Nico” Müller was born in 1982 and grew up in Aarau, Switzerland, riding the great halfpipes of Laax Resort. Soon, Nico was gracing the pages of major magazines with his unique style. For the past five-plus years he has been considered by most the best all-around rider in snowboarding. He rides every aspect of the mountain with his signature style, very reminiscent of one of the sport’s other great stylists, Mr. Terje Håkonsen.
King of the mini-shred and one of the most down-to-earth individuals you will meet, Nico stands alone when it comes to busting out a proper method in the backcountry and throwing down his trademark one-footers in the pipe. While he doesn’t devote much time or consideration to contests these days, he’s still a glowing and influential presence in the sport; committing most of his time to backcountry riding and working on sport-altering video parts with Absinthe Films.
Nike, GNU, Oakley, Nixon, Atreebutes, Laax
“Prodigy” might be overplayed, but how else do you describe the youngest rider ever to podium at the X Games and take the overall TTR World Tour title?
Despite the meteoric rise of her career trajectory, Chloe Kim is incredibly grounded. Anchored by a love of family, friends, and riding itself, Kim has an appreciative, almost soulful, vibe about her. Gratefully aware that she's living a dream come true, Chloe's poise in superpipe and halfpipe defines the focus and balance of a legend in the making.
Burton, Monster Energy, Oakley, Nike, GoPro, Target, Mammoth Mountain
Skating, Traveling, Training
Eero Ettala is all about entertaining. Whether he’s in the streets of Scandinavia or the mountains of Japan or partaking in some oddball antics, it’s all on film and it’s all gold. One of the great snowboarding talents to come out of Finland, Eero is now beyond the competitive portion of his career, opting to cruise the world with friends in search of deep powder and epic urban session locales.
His multi-season web series, “Cooking With Gas,” couples his on-air charisma with some serious shredding in the streets of bustling cities like his native Helsinki, as well as exotic backcountry locations and the occasional skatepark.
Oakley, Nitro, Red Bull, DVS, Skullcandy, Planet Sports, 7/9/13, ION, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Spot Digger
Skateboarding, eating candy, iChat, clothing design, hanging with friends
Following in the footsteps of one of the most exciting and successful generations of Scandanavian snowboarders, Sven Thorgren is at the head of the next class. Flying the flag for Sweden, the 20-year-old Thorgren has already landed on the podium at some of the biggest events of the year, from Air+Style to X Games, and was just one spot away from an Olympic medal in Sochi. He's already demonstrated that he has a deep bag of tricks and style to boot. Expect to see him competing and thriving amongst the sports' elite for years to come.
Oakley, Nitro, Burn Energy, Raiden, Hestra
Skateboarding, studying, chillin'
In the time since Shaun White joined the Oakley family more than a decade ago, he has grown from a snowboarding and skateboarding prodigy to one of the most influential and recognizable icons in Action Sports.
At the age of seven, Shaun entered and won his first amateur snowboard contest. At 13, he turned pro. At 15, he captured his first major pro win at the Oakley Arctic Challenge and less than a year later he earned his first Winter X Games medal. Today, Shaun holds a record breaking 15 X Games gold medals (23 medals overall in snowboarding and skateboarding), two Winter Olympic Halfpipe gold medals and a slew of other honors from contests around the globe.
His impact as an icon and ambassador for snowboarding has stretched beyond the mountains, helping to bring the sport to the mainstream with his untouchable resume, his on-camera charisma and his perpetual desire to continue to improve and evolve what is possible on his snowboard.
Burton, Target, Oakley, Stride Gum, Ubisoft, Vail Resorts
Playing guitar, surfing, being ridiculously good looking
From early podiums at major events like the Air and Style, Mikkel Bang vaulted right into photo and film shoots, bagging magazine covers and video parts before graduating high school. After earning his GED and full shred freedom, Mikkel went on a tear, clinching a US Open Slopestyle win, a Snowboarder Magazine cover, and opening video parts in Transworld Snowboarding’s "In Color" and Burton’s "13" – a performance that earned him a Transworld Reader’s Poll “Men’s Video Part of The Year” and a number five ranking in Snowboarder Magazine’s 2013 “Riders of the Year.”
Despite his laidback demeanor, the 6’1", tattooed Norwegian has officially planted some pressure and attention on his broad shoulders – but nothing he can't handle. When times get tense, though, he’ll pull out his acoustic guitar and strum some chords. Oh, yes, Mikkel has an artsy side. In fact, he has the body ink to prove it. Those three shows he played with his short-lived band resulted in the band’s logo being permanently planted on his derriere.
Burton, Analog, Oakley, Monster, Nixon, Frends, Session Boardshop
Fishing, Skating, Making Music
Silje Norendal was basically raised with a snowboard strapped to her feet. She started snowboarding when she was four at her home resort in Kongsberg, Norway and competed in her first contest in 1999 when she was six. Some of her biggest inspirations were (and are) Kjersti Buaas and Jamie Anderson, whose legendary footsteps she has skillfully begun to follow.
These days, at the age of 21, Silje is one of the bright lights in women’s snowboarding. With a riding style that brings together a combination of progressive tricks and smooth style, Silje earn spots on some of the biggest podiums of the snowboarding world. In 2011 she got third at the Burton US Open and second at the European Winter X Games, and last season she won her first X Games Gold in Tignes. Watch for her to be a major contender for the podium – while competing against her heroes – in Slopestyle in Sochi.
Nike, Oakley, Monster Energy, K2, Stance Socks, Planet Sports
Fashion, traveling, handball
Since arriving onto the scene at the 2006 Empire Shakedown at St. Saveur one hour away from his native Montreal, Sebastien "Seb" Toots has had the eyes of the global industry on him. He never made a claim or announced his plans publicly, instead, he elected to train hard and prepare for each challenge that arrived on the path to his ultimate goal. Following a remarkable 2010/11 season – which included several TTR wins, a gold (Slopestyle) and silver medal (Big Air) as a rookie at Winter X Games (named Jeep Overall Male Performer of the Year) – Toutant has gone on to establish himself as one of the most dominant contest talents in the sport today.
It's not like the outcome has really been that surprising. How many 14-year-olds were doing Cab 10s? 16-year-olds doing double corks? Or 18-year-olds doing triple corks? And of those, how many spent 120 days per year in the park, 50 riding world-class urban features, and another 50 in the summer on a trampoline? It's all paid off for Toutant, and we're all the recipients.
Red Bull, Ride, O'Neill, Oakley
Yuki Kadono started snowboarding at the age of 8, watched on by his father. Since those first moments that he strapped his feet to a board, Yuki was hooked. But he lived in an area with no snow, so to improve his skills he spent most weekends at ski resorts during the season, and trained at KINGS (a jump practice facility) and indoor ski resorts during the off-season.
Once a mostly-unknown, up-and-coming talent, Yuki has established himself among the contest elite, podiuming at the biggest of events in events ranging from Big Air to Slopestyle. Always with a smile and tenacity about him, Yuki is also very popular among his fellow competitors (despite the language barrier). Watch for him to become the biggest name to come out of Japan since his predecessor, Kazu Kokubo.
Oakley, Ride, Red Bull
KENDAMA, Skateboarding, Gaming
There are few riders that can match the style of Rusty Ockenden when it comes to backcountry jumping. Some might say he somewhat mirrors Whistler legend Devun Walsh. But where Devun has made a name is the last few years for huge stylish low rotation airs, Rusty can take this clean air awareness and apply it to larger spins. Rusty is here to stay and is only going to get better with time. So sit back and watch the future of backcountry snowboarding.
An extra tidbit by way of his close friend, his fellow Manboys: Rusty likes to eat curry and do squats and beat the shit out of Sub Zero.
Oakley, Endeavor, Airhole, Whistler/Blackcomb
Pow Laps, Taking Photos, Playing Hockey, Watching Hockey, Surfing, Motorbikes, Cooking, and Pondering Life in General
While most of the kids around her neighborhood in Quebec, Canada were skiers or hockey players, a young Marie-France Roy opted to go snowboarding alongside her brothers. Today, MFR (or ‘Mofo,’ as she likes to be called) is one of the most stylish and versatile women’s snowboarders the sport has ever seen. She can ride urban features, park and the backcountry with equal pedigree, and has the accolades to prove it, between Rider of the Year awards, movie parts and podium appearances.
Her talent on her snowboard is matched by a humble and giving nature, and an acute awareness for the world around her. While traveling the globe for new lines and deeper powder, she’s also passionate about putting her degree in Ecology to use and spreading the word of sustainable living and environmental awareness. She’s been working on two-year project, “The Little Things,” that combines her love for snowboarding and the environment.
Oakley, Rome, Red Bull, Whistler Blackcomb, Beaverwax, Karakoram, Axis
Charles grew up snowboarding in Mont-Tremblant, Québec. Though he got his start on snow by riding skis, he made the switch to snowboarding soon after – skis by 3, snowboard by 5, competing by 8. It wasn't long before local mountain events were replaced by major international events at some of the biggest and most fabled mountains around the world. He represented Canada at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, competing in the debut of snowboarding Slopestyle.
While he has a solid contest resume, Reid's notoreity mostly extends to the style he brings to his riding (namely his handplants and hip-riding ability). Some of his closest peers and riding mates include renown stylists Kazu Kokubo and Mikkel Bang, so you can imagine that his pedigree is quite vast to keep that company.
Oakley, Stepchild, Monster Energy, Axis Boardshop
Surfing, Yoga, Fishing, Camping
Jenny Jones arrived late to snowboarding. A born-athlete, she competed in track and gymnastics in school, and it wasn't until she was 17 that she even transitioned to board sports, learning to ski on a dry ski slope simply because lessons were free. After leaving college, Jenny took a job working seasonally as a chalet maid in Tignes, France, which began a cycle of snowboarding in the winter and surfing in the summer in Devon and Cornwall, which she funded via part-time jobs including inspecting cardboard in a factory and teaching fencing to children.
Her journey makes her current status within snowboarding all-the-more impressive. She's now the first Briton to win an Olympic medal in a snow event (Bronze at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi) and a four-time Winter X Games medalist.
Salomon, Oakley, Nixon, Pentax, Nissan
Road trip to the beach with friends, Cycling, Movies, Music
Japanese riders have long set themselves apart from the pack – and Kazuhiro “Kazu” Kokubo is no exception. An explosive freestyle and halfpipe performer, able to adapt to any type of terrain and pull just about any move, Kazu has the entire crowd in awe every time he launches himself off the coping or lip to execute highly technical tricks with his style.
While he’s still a presence on the contest scene (though he’s dialed back his involvement considerably), his attention has shifted to natural terrain. His proficiency in the backcountry led to a role in Jake Blauvelt’s highly acclaimed project, “Naturally,” which came out in Fall 2013. It’s exactly the part you might expect from Kazu at this point in his career: launching and pulling off massive maneuvers in some of the best natural terrain imaginable, with an enormous smile across his face.
Adidas, Oakley, CAPiTA, Union, Monster Energy, Skullcandy, G-Shock, Armadillo, Leatherman, WEND Wax, Mizu, Shift, Stonp
Surfing, traveling, taking naps
With a one-track mind, hell-bent on victory and an arsenal of tricks that are literally head spinning – including switch 1080s and 1260s – Torstein is virtually unstoppable. He has the contest hardware to prove it: six-time Winter X Games medalist, twice leading the Dew Tour Slopestyle season standings and countless other podium finishes. He’s taken down the likes of Travis Rice and Shaun White and built up a reputation of being able to shred among the best in the world on any given day.
But Torstein isn’t all about competition. He puts that array of tricks to use by entertaining his fans in sick video parts that he posts to shredbots.com, a website he hosts with his talented friends. After parts in "Aesthetica” and “I Ride Park City,” Torstein released a signature documentary, “Horgasm: A Love Story” which spoke to the essence of Torstein’s being: supremely talented snowboarder and someone equally able to make those around him laugh.
DC, Oakley, GoPro, AWSM, Kicker
Skateboarding, chilling by a pool in my Frogskins, watching South Park
Style. Terje has it in spades. He’s the standard by which any and every snowboarder is measured – and a standard that most everyone fails to reach. Can’t blame them – it’s 100-percent Terje, and no one else. The guy has always done things his way. But his way has usually been with what was best for the sport in mind: from helping pave the way for the TTR by not participating in the 1998 Winter Olympics to highlighting the need for a system and a multitude of events run specifically for riders, by riders. The sport and industry owes a debt of gratitude to Terje’s contributions and sacrifices – but he doesn’t need a thank you.
In his earlier years, Terje destroyed the limitations of what was thought possible on a snowboard, going bigger, faster and stronger than everyone both in the pipe and on the mountain. Inspired by other great riders such as the late Craig Kelly, Terje educated himself on the immense possibilities and experiences one could achieve through snowboarding.
Arguably Norway’s most famous international athlete, he has an ever-growing list of wins and records ranging from the legendary Mount Baker Banked Slalom to the Burton US Open, European Halfpipe Championships to setting a world record (9.8 meters out of the quarterpipe) at the Oakley Arctic Challenge in 2007.
Competition, however, isn’t his only strength. Terje has also bagged some first descents in the mountain wilderness of Alaska. For Terje, dropping down massively steep chutes and risking it all seems to be just another day at the office and yet remains a very important aspect to his complete experience of snowboarding. His natural athleticism, determined attitude and perfect sense of his surroundings are only a handful of reasons as to why he is the best snowboarder in the world. A legend, indeed.
Burton, Oakley, Volcom, Sweet Protection
Surfing, Snowskating, Big Mountains
Though pint-sized, Ayumu Hirano is on the verge of becoming a powerhouse in snowboarding. A protégé to another Japanese talent, Kazu Kokubo, the influence that Kazu is having on Ayumu is clearly working because what this kid can do on a snowboard at only 14 years old is extraordinary, and it paints a very graphic picture of the future of snowboarding. The kid is flying 20 feet out of the pipe now, so what tricks will he be doing when he outgrows his nickname ‘Little Mumu?’ He splits his year between Japan and the boardsports epicenter of San Clemente, Calif., where he skates man-sized vert ramps with man-sized ability alongside his older brother, Eiju. When Ayumu isn´t chilling in SoCal, he´s back home riding the park and pipe at Yokone Resort learning new tricks at a dizzying rate. He´s also got an indoor skatepark in Murakami where he can be found flipping and spinning his days away. In the past two years Mumu has won the prestigious US Open Junior halfpipe title, where he soared head and shoulders above his peers. It is also an event widely known as the place to see the best young talent; snowboarding´s farm league for future pros. For Ayumu, that future dream is almost certainly guaranteed, and considering how fast he´s progressing, it will surely be sooner than later.
Burton, Monster Energy, Oakley, DVS