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: Mike Ranquet
As snowboarding's first true provocateur, Mike Ranquet was misunderstood by some, beloved by others, and talked about by everyone. Mike's off-the-cuff way of saying "Fuck you" to the saccharine usurpers, helped keep snowboarding more skate and less ski. This angst extended to Team Managers, contest organizers and contemporaries who Ranquet viewed as all hype and no substance. Three decades later and not a lot has changed. When Mike was 17, Craig Kelly became his benefactor and mentor, driving him to the hill every weekend and indoctrinating him to the way of the Mount Baker Hardcore.
Despite being weaned on the steep and deep piste of snowboarding's ultimate all-mountain proving ground, Mike began making a name for himself in the pipe. Switch-stance airs, Cab spins, and reverts became a routine part of Ranquet's contest regimen. Even the US Open downhill course was seen as an opportunity to prove a fakie point, resulting in Mike being clocked at 52 miles per hour pointing it backwards. Ranquet's new-school bag of tricks and no bullshit attitude made him appealing to sponsors like G&S and Santa Cruz for a time.
Ultimately, boundaries were crossed, and Mike became too hot to handle. But for every sponsor he offended, ten new ones came knocking. Mike eventually landed on Lamar, who supported him with succession of top-selling signature models with sublimated graphics that reflected the "live fast, rock 'n' roll" zeitgeist. Despite his switch-stance evangelism, flip-the-bird diplomacy, and rugged approach to freeriding, perhaps Mike's biggest snowboarding legacy is his least consequential. It was while lapping French groomers that Mike spied a curb of snow running the length of the trail and had the notion of trying a frontside lipslide on a stretch of it. One lap led to another and by the end of the trip Mike had perfected a move that Craig Kelly would later label as "buttering." After cinematographer Dave Seoane featured Mike doing these flatground maneuvers in 1993's Roadkill, the butter spread and here we are a quarter of a century later, and it continues to stick.
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