The Riley Leboe Profile
This article originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of Freeskier Magazine. For more from this issue make sure to pick up a copy at your local newsstand.
Words: Shay Williams, Photos: Chris O’Connell
If the last decade of freeskiing has taught us anything, itâ€™s that there is no shortage of talent coming out of British Columbia. Adding to that stacked BC roster comes Vernon-native Riley Leboe. From a World Junior Extremes title at 15 to narrowly missing the podium at Cold Rush this year, Theory-3 film clips to full-blown PBP segments, Riley has been steadily working his way up the ranks for years. His blend of work ethic, humility and natural talent have placed him on the cusp of becoming the next Mark Abma or Sage Cattabriga-Alosa.
Hometown: Whistler, BC
Sponsors: Armada, Adidas Eyewear, Voleurz, Tyrolia, Rockstar Energy, Contour HD, Toyo Tires
Filming: Revolver, Poorboyz Productions Look On The Bright Side, Voleurz
Results: 4th, 2010 Cold Rush, Retallack, BC
Itâ€™s a little known fact that you were a car salesman. Buy or lease?
I would say lease, because youâ€™d have less of your money tied up in your vehicle meaning you have more money to spend on stuff you want like snowmobiles or new rifles… things like that.
You just got back from a hunting trip. Is that how Canadians cross train in the off season?
[Laughs] Itâ€™s really simple because you go out deep in the bush, surrounded by mountains anyway and you climb them. Instead of hiking for the purpose of getting fit, youâ€™re hiking for the purpose of getting food or something. Itâ€™s a lot more motivating with the purpose of hopefully bringing something home with you.
Who is the better outdoorsman, you or Josh Bibby?
Itâ€™s quite debatable. Heâ€™s much more of an avid fisherman where I prefer hunting. But we both spend a lot of time outdoors together. We both have a number of knives and hatchets and things like that. It depends on what weâ€™re doing that day.
You grew up with Bibby and TJ Schiller, among others. How did you go the backcountry skiing route so much earlier?
Iâ€™ve always loved skiing the whole mountain so I decided to compete in the World Junior Extremes in Crested Butte when I was 15. I went in there with no expectations and skied well the first two days and ended up winning. So that showed me that I had some capabilities in the backcountry. When I started filming with Theory-3, we were doing a lot of snowmobile skiing, so I bought my first sled and that was pretty much the turning point. That and I didnâ€™t feel like landing on icy landings anymore.
This year is your first full segment in PBP, whatâ€™s the next step?
Continue to shoot with PBP and just keep pushing myself as a skier. I want to gain more knowledge in the backcountry. Iâ€™m definitely going to Alaska this year and hopefully will be able to show what I can do on some bigger stuff. Basically skiing some gnarlier stuff.
And where do you see big mountain skiing going in the future?
I think there are so many people doing so many crazy things in the BC right now, but there is room to grow every year. Everyone is skiing stronger and more confidently in the backcountry. The skiing is going to keep progressing and weâ€™re gonna see bigger lines and bigger tricks. People will be skiing stuff that you never thought was possible before.
Whatâ€™s worse: selling cars or digging your sled out of a tree well?
Iâ€™d have to say that digging your sled out â€” even if itâ€™s the most stuck youâ€™ve ever had it â€” is still better than selling cars all day to customers that really donâ€™t know what theyâ€™re talking about but think they know what theyâ€™re talking about.