The Spirit of Snowboarding: Gigi Rüf

Comments by Nate Deschenes/

Photo: Jerome Tanon Photo: Jerome Tanon

One of the great mysteries of our time is that Gigi has managed to stay 12 years old for over a decade. But then again, much about the mild-mannered lad from small-town Austria is an enigma. His riding is endearing and so free from limitations that you can’t quite pinpoint it. In a sense, he is a throwback to the early nineties, the golden age of snowboarding, when guys often perfected style and variations before learning the next best trick (except he knows all the tricks too). Yet, in an altogether different way, Gigi’s evolution into a progressive big mountain rider has proven to be entirely unique and arguably psychotic. Combine this with science-fiction-like board control, and the implications of his snowboarding are aggravatingly ambiguous — a recipe for some seriously captivating art.

“Gigi seems to be out of an art book, kind of abstract, yet black and white. He knows what he is doing and where he wants to go. He is truly one of the most creative guys out there. – DCP”

“The thing with the kind of personal motivation I have is that it doesn’t depend on any of the pro snowboarder stuff – that’s not where I’m at with it. What drives me is simply that I want to become a better rider. Learning things is fun and it inspires me. There are many different motivations that I have gone through, whether it’s wanting to be the coolest guy out there or wanting to accomplish something like climbing the highest peak. There are many different factors that can drive a snowboarder depending on where they are with it. Nowadays I like to be alone rather than to be the coolest guy.

“If you want to be able to make that perfect turn you need to think about it. I think about snowboarding all the time. I always dream about it. I still look at the grass hill outside my house or bump down the street and think, “We should come here in winter!” I make imaginary jumps off of everything in my head still. Now more than ever I think about snowboarding. I think snowboarding always has the rhythm of being the same no matter where you are or what you are riding. So if you say you have a boring hill, I don’t believe you.”

– Gigi Rüf