The first time I met Bjorn Leines was, admittedly, a pretty big deal to me. Here was a guy who had been breaking my VCR for the past 10, 12 years, and still pushing his riding further and further with each passing season. At 33 years of age, we’re still hearing about him rallying the young kids to get after such feats as Pyramid Gap, progressive AK lines, late-night SLC sessions and more–that old-school, midwest work ethic still runs cold through the man’s veins, to say the least. From his time on the original Forum 8 team in the 90s to filming for the new Absinthe and Rome films here in 2010, one has to wonder when he’ll ever reach that plateau, or if that ceiling even really exists. Always motivating, yet never brash or outspoken, outside of his work on a snowboard, little is known about the veteran Minnesota pro. When we heard of his recent injury in the backcountry, it was time to get caught up–there’s no way of knowing when or if we’ll ever catch him sitting this still again…
Name: Bjorn Leines
Hometown: SLC, UT and Big Lake, MN
Home Mountain: Snowbird and Brighton
Currently Riding: Sleds
Sponsors: Rome SDS, Volcom, Celtek, Smith Optics, Power Balance, IPath
What up, Bjorn? How are you feeling?
Great. Just made a long journey from Utah to Minnesota to spend the summer…
Next level back in ’95, with Video Gangs in ’05, and probably still killing it in ’25. Jeff Anderson, RIP.
We’ve heard about your recent injury – the damage from hitting Pyramid Gap with Dan Brisse. What happened to you?
To keep it real simple – I went too slow! We had a fun session the day before, and decided to go back and get some more tricks the next day. It was pretty warm, so we were using salt to get the runway consistent. Dan went first and cleared it no problem. I think it was about 10 minutes before I was dropping in, and the snow was slightly sticky… Since I was going switch, I was also not going fast enough. At the lip, I thought everything was fine so I spun my trick. When I came around, I landed right at the top or peak of the landing, where it was flat. I tried to stomp it, but ended up getting my left arm sandwiched between my leg and chest, which led to a double compound fracture, a sprained ankle and two sprained knees. A few days later I had surgery, and now have two plates and a dozen screws in my elbow. Good times!
Pyramid Gap – can you describe the set-up? How did everything come about to hitting that monster with Brisse?
We wanted to get some good tricks; we needed a big jump! After a couple days of building, we were ready to send it. Dan is motivated; we both just wanted to get some good moves over the Gap.
What’s going through your head when you’re dropping at 50-some mph, looking at 100 feet of nothing below? How the hell do you send it switch??
Well… Usually what’s going through my head is visualizing the full trick before dropping. Once you’re on the runway, I just try to concentrate on being calm and smooth. It takes a lot of commitment and belief in yourself and your ability. As far as going switch, Dan and I both had the same trick in mind! I had to pick a different one-going switch wasn’t my first choice!
What went down at the session? Anything misty the people should know about?
Check out the new Absinthe film, “Nowhere” and see…! A backside 180 and a switch cork 720 went down… and…
Prior to getting hurt, how had your season been? Where’d you travel, who were your filming with this year, etc?
The season was going well. I had spent a lot of time at Brighton, UT, with the likes of Dan [Brisse], Cale Zima, Jules Raymond and JP Solberg. I also had a couple sweet trips to Canada with Lucas Debari and Jake Blauvelt.
How are you dealing with all the late-season snow, and not being able to get out there? How do you guys stay motivated when things get down for a bit?
It’s been tough! Dumping in Utah-STILL! So, that’s hard for me, but I’m just staying motivated through learning a few new things. I’ve been reading a book about Autogenics, for example. Basically, it’s all about training your mind so you can relax your body-it helps a lot for healing. The downtime has also allowed me to get more involved with Celtek, and I’ve been working hard with Rome on some new products.
Looking back a few years, do you ever reflect on being a member of the original Forum 8? A lot of people out there still see you guys as maybe the best snowboard team of all-time.
Sometimes I do think about it. That was a really unique era for snowboarding, and to be part of, for sure. The team was just really talented and always motivated to get gnarly. Shredding in the backcountry with guys like Devun [Walsh] and Duff [Chris Dufficy], and then riding the streets with JP [Walker] and Jeremy [Jones] helped elevate my riding, for sure-lots of fun memories.
How often do you stay in touch or ride with those guys?
I stay in touch with Devun probably the most, but don’t to get to ride with him since we’re all working on different projects. I see Peter [Line] around-Wille [Yli-Luoma], too-but [Joni] Malmi I probably see the least. Duff is the man-I wish I saw him around more often. JP and Jer live in SLC, but I don’t ever get to chill with ‘em.
We’ve seen a bunch of photos and vids from the Jib Farm. I was hoping you could explain a bit about what you have going on out there?
The Jib Farm is a shred spot here in Minnesota where we had to take things into our own hands. My Dad and Grandpa let us build it, using years of leftover pipeline construction materials. It’s kind of a way for me to get through the summer-building it and dreaming of the shred. This fall, we’re gonna get after some sessions with the Celtek and Rome teams.
I wanted to give you the chance to share a bit about Erik, yourself and Celtek- how it all began, where you are now, what it means to you today?
Celtek began from the desire to build a better snowboarding product; we wanted to bring our knowledge of gear to a higher level. It’s allowed us to create an umbrella-a way to provide for our friends and family. We both learned early in our careers that most snowboard companies don’t take care of their riders for long. Celtek is the expression of true passion and understanding of the shred, from people that love to ride boards-snow, skate or surf! Our goal is to create the best products in snowboarding and offer unique designs that express the lifestyle we all live as shredders!
Couple quick ones… Pay yourself photo incentives, etc from Celtek?
Ha Nope! No photo incentives-all for the passion.
Do you get a royalty check every time “Out Cold” plays on TV? Does Todd Richards?
Yeah, right! Never saw a dime from that… I’m not sure about TR, though…
Last thing. Summer’s here and you’re on the mend. What are your plans for the time off?
Get stronger, and then head down to Chile in August to ride with the Rome team. We’re starting a Rome film project called The Shred Remains! Otherwise, just ride my dirtbike, skate the mini, and hang with my family.