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: Nate Cole
In the fall of 1991, four riders fresh out of high school migrated from Wisconsin to Colorado and proceeded to instigate a seismic shift in snowboarding culture that would continue to reverberate to this day. From the tricks and terrain to the boards and garb, it would be hard to overstate the impact that Nate Cole, Dale Rehberg, Jake Blattner and Roan Rogers had and continue to have on riders everywhere. Dremel’d down tips, low backs, baseless bindings, oversized hoodies, waterproof jeans, wide stances, twin shapes, all of it is the result of what these four friends found functional not so much for the slopes, but more importantly, for the streets. Known in Summit County as the “XLG Crew,” when Nate, Dale, Jake and Roan weren’t blasting blindside spins off the freestyle ski jumps at Breck or bonkin’ stumps around Copper, they were left to their own devices for off-hill entertainment as none were old enough to go to the bars.
With H-Street’s Shackle Me Not providing the inspiration, these Midwest transplants scoured the parking lots and back alleys of Breckenridge for steel and wood to ride. Cameras soon became a common sight at these after-hours sessions. Once Mack Dawg‘s The Hard, The Hungry and The Homeless, Steve Blakely’s Seventh Year and Jon Krieg’s A Flying Circus were released the “XLG” all became snowboarding A-listers and jibbing transformed our sport. Although, a viable argument can be made for each member of the “XLG” to have a place on these pages, Nate Cole is highlighted for his fluidity. Perhaps Dale was more technical, Jake more charismatic and Roan gnarlier, but Nate’s effortless and proper style made jibbing more appealing, which ultimately gave the movement juice. As others would wave their arms off balance or come off early, Nate would lock in showing commitment and control. With skateboarding akin to a religion amongst most riders, being the first pro for Plan B offshoot Type A upped Cole’s street cred quotient tenfold. Later in his career, Nate moved to Lake Tahoe where he was able to take his aesthetic no-flail approach to new heights, linking spins in lines and stacking clips for Kingpin and Standard. Despite this steady output, by the late 90’s, Nate exited the scene due to a lack of industry support for freeriding, ironically due to the focus shifting to a jib revival going on in Utah.