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: Gigi Ruf
When people talk about icons of style, riders who have an intrinsic ease when strapped in, who seem to float effortlessly between each and every turn and embody a particular freedom and artistry when heading down the fall line, Gigi Rüf is an archetype to which others aspire. The talented Austrian rocketed into snowboarding’s limelight in 2000 with a part in Kingpin’s Destroyer, the first of many video segments to be rewound and replayed in mountain town VHS players around the world.
Now, for the majority of the past two decades, Gigi’s ability to find fluid lines down the most burly and technical faces from The Alps to AK has cemented his name as synonymous with quintessential big mountain style. He has landed lauded timelines with the Pirates, Nike, and most recently Union, and been a mainstay on the Absinthe Films roster for the better part of his career. A barrage of enders, openers, and pivotal parts loaded with slow spins and powder landings have earned the feisty Austrian numerous awards, beginning with TransWorld SNOWboarding‘s Rookie of the Year in 2001. Since then, Gigi has been voted into the Top Ten Riders of the Year an unprecedented eight times since 2006, landing in the top three five times and earning the coveted number one Rider of the Year spot in 2014. But his ability to navigate his own line extends beyond films, ensuring his high altitude heritage.
In the mid-2000s, Gigi was one fifth of Burton Un..Inc, a counterculture crew with a penchant for proper riding in all terrain. When Un..Inc was disbanded, it wasn’t long before Gigi set new tracks by starting his own board company, aptly named Slash, a fitting nod to the simplicity of making the fluid turns that this phenom eschews. Now, nearly twenty years after Rüf’s debut, his snowboarding is still smooth as ever, earning him a well-deserved and coveted spot as one of snowboarding’s foremost Mountain GOATs.