Originally published in the 30th Anniversary Issue of SNOWBOARDER Magazine, Mountain GOATS celebrates the most influential snowboarders of the last thirty years (1987-2017), otherwise known as the Greatest Of All Time list. With over 70 men and women riding into the ranks of the Mountain GOATS, check back as we release their bios and celebrated accolades over the course of the next few weeks!
Mountain Goat: Bjorn Leines
Minnesota-born turned Salt Lake City transplant Bjorn Leines is among the best all-around snowboarders to ever lived, as BJ cemented his legacy by his willingness and ability to tackle any and all terrain that lay before him.
People forget that Bjorn was very closely in the running to make the US Olympic Halfpipe team for the 1998 Nagano Games. In fact, Bjorn did qualify, but the panel choosing the official team opted to select Barrett Christy over Bjorn due to the limited number of spots that the US was granted. Maybe that was for the best, however, because Bjorn hung up the bib, signed with Forum Snowboards and headed for the streets and the backcountry with a chip on his shoulder and a point to prove. What happened next was a barrage of undeniably insane video parts in films like The Resistance, True Life, and a handful of Mack Dawg Productions’ releases. Be it a 22-foot pipe, a gap to down-flat-down or a hundred-foot cheese wedge into pow, Bjorn would strap in and send it with little to no regard for his safety and 100 percent confidence in his skillset.
Maybe at no other point in his career was this as evident as when Bjorn approached his home resort of Snowbird, Utah, about a photo shoot in which he would jump over the entire halfpipe. Yes, you read that right. The monster kicker measured in at just around 100 feet and spanned the width of the Snowbird pipe, and it capped off one the best video parts of his life. And to top off jumping the dudetube, Bjorn and his brother—a rider by the name of Erik Leines—also built a snow drop-in ramp inside the Snowbird tram only to strap in and drop out of it to the waiting slope below. Simply put, Bjorn Leines is a do-it-all madman who fears little, and luckily for him and all of us watching at home, his ability on a board can back it up. Well done, BJ!