Alex Yoder has a refreshing take on snowboarding, one of aesthetic and subtle, impactful movement. While the Jackson Hole local began his career in the traditional resort-based contest circuit, an Alaskan trip at age 18 introduced him to big mountains, the zen of being a dish pig, and a newfound heli addiction. He’s as unique a person as he is a snowboarder, and that’s why we gave him this month’s High Five. —Brian Peech
Five Things Most Outsiders Don’t Know about Jackson Hole
- The town is actually just “Jackson” the valley and ski resort are known as Jackson Hole.
- The year-round population is only about 12,000.
- The Four Seasons in Teton Village is the largest building in Wyoming.
- If you see a baby buffalo alone it’s not lost and you shouldn’t put it in the back of your car.
- There’s a thriving, local contemporary art culture.
“If you see a baby buffalo alone it’s not lost and you shouldn’t put it in the back of your car.”
Five Favourite Cultures I’ve Experienced in my Travels
- Alaska, the most raw, real, and ambitious locals I’ve met.
- Japan, genuine, appreciative and centered in nature. Focused on mastery of simplicity and finding flow.
- Turkey, unchanged, non commoditized, very welcoming.
- Chile, so so stoked! Chileans have the biggest smiles after a good run in the backcountry and will continue to talk about how good it was for days.
- Canada, well-educated backcountry travelers that aren’t too serious. Plus, Canadians will always beat you to the top of a mountain likely telling jokes the whole way.
“Canadians will always beat you to the top of a mountain likely telling jokes the whole way.”
Five Pieces of Gear I Can’t Live Without
- Patagonia Nano Air Hoody
- Miir Insulated Wide Mouth Bottle
- Karakoram Quiver Connect binding system
- Dragon X2s goggle
- Gentemsticks, all of them
“I’ve become much more interested in the in-between, making use of the mountain in every direction.”
Five Things I Love About Gentemstick
- Taro’s thought process when he’s designing and testing each shape he creates has incredible depth and always ties back to the rider’s feeling. Part of his philosophy explains how the board is just a conduit for a person to connect with nature.
- Having a quiver of different shapes to ride is truly amazing. I used to think I could have one board for everything, but I’ve since realized that one board would never be great at anything if it was designed to be OK at everything.
- The aesthetic is clean and timeless, like many surfboards.
- I used to look at the mountain and pick out obvious features to hit on the way down, i.e. jumps, cliffs etc. and just go relatively straight toward those features. Now I’ve become much more interested in the in-between, making use of the mountain in every direction.
- A lot of snowboard companies adhere to a “fast fashion” model where they produce the same few shapes every year with new artwork and encourage their customer to continue to buy the “new” version of the board they already own. Gentemstick makes snowboards to be cared for and cherished as art. Each board can be kept for life if properly cared for.
Five Things Washing Dishes in Alaska Taught Me
- How to afford heli time
- How to party
- Experience is much more valuable than money (I worked there for $11/hr, six days a week for two months and left with $200 and over 20 heli runs).
- I really need to figure out how to get paid to snowboard in the backcountry.
- Zen and the art of the dish pit (i.e. every mess can be cleaned with patience.)
Five things I’d tell my 12-year-old self
- Limp Bizkit isn’t good music
- Read more
- Learn multiple languages
- Learn to play instruments
Five Things I Don’t Travel Without
- Cameras/ film
- Sketchbook/ journal
- Miir insulated water bottle
Five Life Lessons I Learned From Snowboarding
- Trust your intuition.
- There’s almost always a smooth route through anything, and if there’s not, it’s okay to hike out.
- It’s the little things that matter; the subtle movements can be more powerful than the dramatic ones.
- Most things are possible.
- Life is short.
“It’s the little things that matter; the subtle movements can be more powerful than the dramatic ones.”
Five Songs/Albums on Heavy Rotation
- Bon Iver / 22 A Million
- Easy Giant / Holy Wave
- Anderson Paak / Malibu
- Shuggie Otis / Strawberry Letter 23
- Foxygen / No Destruction
Five Ways Bryan Iguchi Influenced Me
- Encouraged me to seek mountain safety education
- Took me split-boarding for the first time
- Took me winter camping for the first time
- Being a good father, not only to his kids, but also to the next generation of snowboarding
- Having grit and pushing through tough situations with a calm mind
Five People I’d like to Après With
- Aaron Robinson
- The Obamas
- Herbert Wunderlich
Five Guilty Pleasures
- I love rom-coms, but I have no guilt about it
- Chocolate is healthy
- Watching surfing
- Airplane movie binging
Five Things I’ll Never Understand
- Blind hatred
- Corporate greed
- Donald Trump being “elected” President
- The Internet
Find out more about Alex at http://www.patagonia.com/ambassadors/snowboarding/alex-yoder.html