Check Out Benji Ritchie

Name: Benji Ritchie

Sponsors: Rossignol, Billabong, Iris, Empire Snowboard Shop.

Age: 19

Origin: Mont-Tremblant, QuÇbec

Coordinates: Whistler and Blackcomb, B.C.

Stance: Regular. Twenty-four-degrees front, negative-twelve rear,

and 22.5-inches wide.

When I think of Benji, I think big, because everything about this kid is large. I’ve known him for a couple of years and found him to be generous and good-hearted. His snowboard skills have improved dramatically over the last year, which makes us look bad. His style of riding can be translated into three words: big, strong, and powerful. At nineteen, Benji is still a kid but very much ready for the big leagues.-J-F Pelchat

Alex Auchu: You rode the East Coast all your life, what made you want to move out west?
Benji Ritchie: The powder and terrain that I can’t find on the East Coast. I went to Whistler for a couple of months this past winter, and I had the chance to go snowmobiling in the backcountry. It was the best riding I’ve done in my life. At first landing tricks in powder was so difficult, but then I started being more relaxed and learned how to deal with deep snow. I have so much respect for backcountry freestyle.

Who are your main influences for that type of riding?
The ones that I look up to the most are J-F Pelchat, and Gaetan Chanut. I went riding a couple of times with them and saw how freaking good they are. Those guys are hard workers and real professionals.

You filmed your first video part this year for the movieTriumph. How was that?
It made me realize that being a snowboarder is not only about going out there once in a while and getting five shots in a day! You have to work super hard to get shit done. You can spend five hours building a jump and not land anything-that’s the reality of it. I hoped I would’ve had more time to work on my part, but I feel pretty good with what I’ve done.

What drives you to make snowboarding a living?
Getting up in the morning and realizing how much I love my job.