Words: Pat Bridges and T. Bird
In 1991, Noah Salasnek appeared in Mack Dawg’s seminal release New Kids on the Twock, and on slopes across the globe, skate-style mania quickly spread. While the majority of riders still liken themselves to skaters to this day, Noah was the real deal. His Masonite mastery could be seen in several early H-Street offerings, including the classic Hokus Pokus. Already the owner of a pro model on Life Skateboards, Noah’s next snowboarding video part, in Pocahontas, saw him riding an H-Street stick.
Once H-Street became Evol, though, Noah found himself at the center of a high-profile bidding war. Several companies were vying for his services, including Burton, but Sims snowboards won out and quickly released his now-legendary skate-truck signature board. In this era where contests were king Noah followed the tour but didn’t play the point chasing game instead opting to keep it proper with gestured pokes, legit grabs between the bindings and combo tricks that were ahead of their time.
During the mid-nineties, Salasnek sought out bigger and badder challenges in the high country. His Tahoe exploits eventually led to Alaskan adventures in front of the Standard Films cameras, and it was there that Noah opted to leave his melon pokes and jib tendencies behind in favor of first descents, slough slides, and sixty-degree spines. Jeremy Jones knows riding in the last frontier like no other, and believes that Salasnek has influenced everyone who has gone to AK, regardless of how they get down the hill. “Noah was one of the first to bring skate style into snowboarding, and he eventually brought that same style into freeriding. His first descent of Super Spines changed both big-mountain skiing and riding and has hardly been matched today.”
Perennial Standard Films player, Robotfood partner and former Snowboarder Publisher Chris “E-Tree” Engelsman agrees, saying, “Noah’s part in TB5 with Super Spines was a breakthrough. Throughout it, he combined freestyle with freeriding, one of the hardest aspects of snowboarding. He made something so hard look so basic. To this day, it’s hard to even match what Salas did in that part.”
Noah Salasnek’s passing is a reminder that despite the unbelievable feats one can accomplish on snow mortality knows no season. Noah’s legacy will live on and be celebrated for eternity by those who seek out first descents, challenge the limits of airtime on transition and aspire to achieve a fluidity of style where technicality and aesthetics intertwine to become timeless.
The staff of SNOWBOARDER Magazine extend our deepest condolences to Noah’s family and friends and can only hope that wherever he is now is waist-deep, sunny and perfectly pitched. Rest easy, Salas, and thank you for all you have done for us.