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: Terry Kidwell
Four-time World Halfpipe Champion Terry Kidwell may not have been the first to do an air on a snowboard, but he was the first to do it right. Had Terry Kidwell not been around during snowboarding’s formative years, racing would have been the only outlet for progression. Instead of trying to take flight, riders would have succumbed to a bastardized version of the gate-bashing ski nonsense we all loathe. While still in his teens, Terry stumbled upon an inviting transition at the Tahoe City dump and decided to drop in, point it to the lip, and tempt gravity’s wrath. More than three decades later, there is no question that Kidwell single-handedly introduced the vertical re-entry element of freestyle to snowboarding. By 1983, Terry was pulling McTwists, handplants, 540s, butters, and every grab imaginable. Then there is the vintage image featured here of Kidwell sending it off of Wine Rock at Soda Springs, CA. This photo taken by Tom Sims is the most printed picture in snowboarding history, and for good reason. Flat landing, swallowtail, no highbacks, and above all else no fear, it’s classic Kidwell.
This Is Snowboarding and Snow Shredders were our sport’s first team videos, and they showcased the Sims pro squad in all its bail-clad binding glory. Clips of Kidwell and his teammates also appeared in Greg Stump’s seminal ski films Maltese Flamingo and The Good, the Rad, and the Gnarly, as well as a heavily-aired Juicy Fruit commercial. In 1985, Tom Sims recognized TK’s talents and gave him a signature board—our sport’s first—not as an honor, but as a necessity. Terry’s riding was taking him in new directions, including fakie, and the no-kick split-tails of the day were holding him back. Once the Roundtail Kidwell hit the stores, the game changed forever. Before Kidwell there were really only three maneuvers in snowboarding: the heelside turn, the toeside turn, and the trick to keeping those red, black, and yellow Sims bindings from randomly releasing—and whatever the technique to the latter was, Kidwell probably invented that, too.- SNOWBOARDER