Surf The Snow: Part 1 – Alex Pashley and the resurgence of powder shapes
Alex Pashley ran and finished the Leadville 100, also known as the Race Across The Sky. As Christopher McDougall explains this race in his bestseller Born To Run, the Leadville 100 run is “Nearly four full marathons, half of them in the dark, with twin twenty-six-hundred-foot climbs in the middle. Leadville’s starting line is twice as high as the altitude where planes pressurize their cabins, and from there you only go up.” Pashley brings this mental strength and fluidity to snowboarding and his approach in life. A snowboarder first and foremost, with a couple decades of riding under his belt, Pashley was an obvious choice to include in Surf The Snow and kick off the video series exclusive to snowboardmag.com.
Originally featured in Snowboard Mag Volume 11, Issue 1 | The Product Collection
Photos: Tim Peare (portrait), Kyle McCoy (action)
How did you start working in the snowboard industry?
I rode for Burton a long time ago and my dad owned a snowboard shop in Idaho Springs, Colorado called Cruise or Bruise with a buddy of his. It was probably a mid-life crisis thing — my dad was really into skateboarding and we had mini ramps. Then he got into snowboarding. So we basically grew up in a snowboard shop. I went to college in Boulder and met a bunch of the Salomon guys during that time. I had one year left of school and I had planned to go up to Montana to finish, but the rep for Salomon retired and Scott Loeppert took over, he was a close friend and asked me to come on board and help out. So I talked to my parents, decided not to go to Montana and started doing sales for Salomon and Bonfire in the winters and then doing all of the team stuff up at Mt. Hood in the summers. That progressed into a full-time marketing position with Salomon/Bonfire. I left there and did a quick stint with the Quiksilver/Rossignol crew when they moved everything to Park City. Then moved onto Dragon and now Slash.
How did you and Gigi connect on Slash?
Gigi was one of my athletes when I worked for Dragon. I worked with them for five years and I knew him prior to that. We stayed in touch after I left Dragon, and he wanted me to help out Slash if there was availability. So low and behold, here I am. I thought it was going to be a couple of years out, but he hit me up and it worked out. I’m on board.
You’ve had some good slashes at Pow Wow, you may be the best slasher in our group.
The boards are pretty fun. I’ve been riding the new Brainstorm, it’s based off of a shape Manuel Diaz did, so it’s cambered between the feet and a little more rocker on the nose and tail. I’ve been riding that quite a bit now, but usually I ride the Straight which is cambered from the front and then it’s got a little bit of rocker in the nose, like 10mm of rocker. I ride more of a directional board.
What do you think about the trends in board shape and design?
I’m pretty stoked just seeing that right now, more than ever, there are a lot of new shapes coming out and it’s making everything more interesting. I follow the Gentemstick guys and they are doing some really cool stuff with different shapes. More and more the companies are doing stuff that’s different so that the wall at the snowboard shop doesn’t look the same with all the noses and tails. It’s pretty cool. RIDE is doing the Alter Ego and they have the split tail that you can ride in pow. The different styles are making it interesting for sure.
For the average consumer, would you recommend that they have more than one board?
I think it’s getting that way. Now people are building a quiver. They get one board that’s good for all kinds of conditions and then maybe a board that’s good for powder and trying a more freeride board shape. One of the biggest issues in snowboarding is that it’s so expensive, most are buying one board like a Burton Custom as their go-to board, but if they can afford it they’re buying more of a pow board.
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