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: Jim Rippey
A self-described "stuntman," Jim Rippey emerged in snowboarding as an anomaly. Though most Gen-X riders had their roots in surfing and skating, Rippey was unapologetic about his background in stick and ball sports. While it would take another generation to be fully realized, Jim was a harbinger of the all-American ilk that our sport would attract as snowboarding penetrated the mainstream. Rippey's pedigree as a star high school punter would later prove ironic as he plied his sideways trade on Tahoe kickers.
In the contest arena, Jim's signature frontside 720 corkscrew, that would come to be known as the Rippey Flip, vaulted him to the top of the podium at events like the US Open and Air & Style, while Standard Films segments and equally iconic box covers showed his all-terrain prowess and made his pro model a top seller—at least until the base jumping graphic was released. Even coming up short on a miscalculated switch backside 180 at Stowe, Vermont, in 1994 resulted in TransWorld making the claim "sickest sequence ever" and the landmark launch forever being branded as The Rippey Cliff.
By 2001, Jim's time in the spotlight had begun to wane, but ever the showman, Rippey fired up his snowmobile for one more send, only this time he left the snowboard behind. Just as he had done while strapped in for more than a decade, Rippey rooped his sled toward a Tahoe booter and popped off the lip into the history books as the first person to perform a backflip on a snowmobile. These days, Jim is still snowboarding religiously—literally—as a minister in Reno and the unofficial reverend of the X Games.
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