JLA is Snowboarding: A tribute to the legacy of Jeff Anderson

This weekend at Mammoth Mountain, we will celebrate the life of Jeff Anderson.

In its third year, the JLA Banked Slalom will attract friends from far and wide to remember one of snowboarding’s fallen comrades. It was in 2003 that Anderson left this dimension to explore the afterlife and though he may be gone, he is anything but forgotten.

1997, photo: Jeff Curtes, courtesy of Burton

When Jeffy passed he was just 23 and well on his way to becoming one of the most influential snowboarders the sport has ever seen. Twelve years ago snowboarding was nothing like it is now; it was much smaller, but at the same time really starting to gain traction. Things like the X Games were taking off, riders were actually making a ton of money and it was the beginning of our lifestyle blowing up. It was a window of time that determined what can now be regarded as the full measure of truly amazing snowboarding. It was a crucial period propelled by some crucial people. Jeffy was one of them.

Looking back it’s cool to see what Jeff was doing. While so many riders, pro or otherwise, chose to emulate the guy in front of them, Anderson was a leader — not by design but simply by being original. His snowboarding was entirely unique. He really made it look good, took his time with tricks and had a natural style that was anything but forced. It was all him and I think that’s what made him so endearing as a rider and at the same time has kept his legacy so influential. He was all about taking snowboarding to where he wanted to see it, not simply out-spinning the next guy. As part of the original Un. Inc crew at Burton (the website is still live), along with DCP, Gigi Rüf, JP Solberg and Romain de Marchi, Anderson was an instrumental part of what would become arguably the best team snowboarding has ever seen.

A tribute video to Jeff with words from his brother Billy, Gigi Rüf, DCP, Shane Charlebois and Josh Dirksen

“Jeffy was ahead of his time,” says Romain de Marchi. “He was a man with vision and his snowboarding was showing for it. He was a really creative and spontaneous friend, a man with emotion and feeling.”

In that same sense, Jeffy expressed his originality through a body of art that reflected his unique approach to snowboarding and to life. It’s been a pleasure to see the proliferation of his funny and sometimes moving paintings and doodles throughout Mammoth (and beyond) over the years with things like the Art Park and various gallery showings, not to mention the Brothers Skatepark in town spearheaded by his brother Billy Anderson.

Photos courtesy of Burton Snowboards

To be grateful for what Jeffy did for snowboarding is to be grateful for an influence that reminds us why we really snowboard — to become creators and to feel the power of transforming any given moment into one of real joy and satisfaction. In the end, stars like Jeff Anderson are the kind that illuminate the part of our culture that things like gnarly tricks and bottomless powder can’t touch, and that is the light of authenticity.

I think Romain sums up how we all will be feeling this weekend at Mammoth Mountain when he says (with a touch of Swiss-French), “I’m sad that he left so soon, but his presence remain beside me each time I strap my board.

You can get more information on Mammoth’s website or register for the JLA Banked Slalom at jla.burton.com, supported by Volcom and Burton.

Check out last year’s event here.

JLA IS SNOWBOARDING.

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