Style is purely subjective, and that’s how the idea for this photo essay came about. There’s nothing more discussed and debated in snowboarding: the good, the bad, the authentic, contrived, or played out. TransWorld’s Photo Editor Nick Hamilton and I are polar opposites when it comes to the topic. Although we’ve learned to respect, if not appreciate, our differences, at the end of the day Nicky prefers the Eero/Scanner tweaks while I like cowboyed-out flat spins. It was one of our discussions that got me thinking: What constitutes someone’s interpretation of style? Is it when they started riding or where, both-or random?

So the exercise was pretty simple: have the TransWorld SNOWboarding edit staff, an eclectic, informed crew at that, spit some words about when and where they started riding, choosing a favorite photo of an early influential rider and a current shot, and explain why they chose ‘em-no wrong answers. There are a lot of parallels pointing toward time and location-some choices are predictable while a few are quite surprising. And there is a conclusion: The medium of style will always be free and undefined-style is fresh, timeless, polished, raw, or ruthless. Style is always open for interpretation.-Dresser

Senior Contributing Editor Jennifer Sherowski
I grew up in a town called Edwards, Colorado just a few miles down old I-70 from Vail, Beaver Creek, and Summit County. From 1989 on, I lived, ate, and breathed in snowboarding. By ’93, I was in high school and had Russell Winfield, Chris Sweirz, Nate Cole, and the rest of the of the Ride posse living up the street from me in a log cabin (Russell crashed his car into our yard late one night, and my dad went out with his rifle to investigate-true story). Anyway, even then I had a strong sense that style was about making things look smooth and easy-and doing it your own way.-J.S.

Then: Noah Brandon
Noah Brandon never did a single ugly thing on a snowboard. When I was fifteen, I had this photo hanging on my wall and did everything in my power to ride like him-playful and always taking the time to do everything right, even if it means spinning less, holding longer, or simply ollie-hop frontside tweaking over the perfect powder pile.

Now: Nico Muller
This is snowboarding-using the terrain, a trick that feels cool, a secret moment between you and the mountain. Nicolas has Haakonsen’s leggy, crouched-down smoothness and-perhaps equally important-a hawk-like eye for strange, unique lines.

Senior Editor Annie Fast
I started snowboarding in ’89 on a family ski trip to Jackson Hole. The next few years were spent on the icy slopes of Virginia’s Ski Liberty, breaking my wrists repeatedly while shredding weekend-warrior style. In ’93, I moved to Bozeman, Montana and started hanging out with a crew of shredders-The BCP (Bobcat Posse … represent). We immersed ourselves in snowboarding. Jammin’ up to the mountain in some sketchy rear-wheel-drive sedan, cranking the RPM and Road Kill soundtracks. The first couple seasons I rode at Bridger Bowl, I’m pretty sure I just did the same run-the North Bowl jib line. This is about when style became important, and while we all amped out on the Summit County riders and the scene, locally it was riders like Jon Robbins, Justin Mooney, and Scott Hooey who had my favorite style; and from the big screen and the pages of TWS-Janna Meyen.-A.F.

Then: Janna Meyen
When I started thinking about what most influenced me … or at least got me thinking about my own style, it’s this picture of Janna Meyen from the October ’92 issue of TWS and the 360 she pulled in Volcom’s The Garden released in the winter of ’94. She’s always been a strong rider, making everything look easy, and that’s what I liked. I think she was maybe 16 when this photo was taken, and many winters later, she still has the best style and completely kills it. So I guess this really confirms to me how important it is to have female riders represented in t pages of this mag-especially ones with rad style.

Now: Josh Dirksen
A few years later, in ’95, I moved to Bend to ride without the distractions of college. That winter, Josh Dirksen and Jason McAllister were living in a converted shed behind a house that I shared with a bunch of girls. We’d all ride together, and I remember always watching Dirksen hitting the cornice off the top, the compression jump, the windlips, and all the other misty natural jumps at Bachelor. He and Chad Otterstrom have a similar style that I like-there’s no movement in the air except what’s necessary to get the trick around. Josh is always making it look easy, even when he’s doing a mellow 30-plus-foot air one-footed off a hip at June Mountain. And talk about stomping it-damn. Dirksen, Chad, and Janna all have what I call “strong style”-and I like it.

Senior Editor Cody Dresser
My pop moved a few hours up the road to Tahoe and became a ski bum late in life-he was in his thirties-and I’d visit for the holidays, staying in employee housing at Sugar Bowl. At an early age, I knew I’d move to the mountains. On my spring senior ski trip in ’88, my boy Gannon snowboarded. I straight tripped out, just following him around on skis all day. I was shook. Homey was street skating down the mountain with style and grace-that night I dreamt I was snowboarding.

My summer was spent planning the move to Tahoe and obsessing over TransWorld SNOWboarding magazine. Then I met pro Sims rider Chris Pappas and my course was changed forever. Somehow, he convinced me to move to Durango, Colorado instead. Purgatory Resort blew, but Chris Pappas and infamous local Randy Rodd taught me how to get my shred on. The following year I moved to Summit County and from there it was on.-C.D.

Then: Tarquin Robbins
Before the hip-hop steez of the TRZA, JP Walker, or even Marco Frank came Tarquin Robbins. The jib revolution was in full effect in Summit County, Colorado, and he was at the forefront. I was catching a few laps on break from the Copper Mountain cafeteria duty when he got off the lift behind me. Tarquin was straight gangster, dressed all in black with an XXL flannel, baggies, and beanie with glasses. He was fashion forward by a decade, but gangster getups aside, it’s how he moved on that Aggression pro model that mattered. I followed him down the jib line, awed, as if I was seeing snowboarding again for the first time. TQ busted effortless chest-high rope ollies, lethargic back 180s, and no-grab frontside 360s-sans highbacks and with a super-wide stance. The kid had the smoothest skate style ever, and it stands up to the test of time-just look at it, it’s f-king dope! Over the following years we became pretty tight, and I never saw him rotate past 540 once. He didn’t need to.

Now: Marco Frank, 2005
The first time I rode with Marc Frank I promptly paid him my highest compliment, “Damn, dude, you ride jus’ like Tarquin!” I’d like to think he was stoked on that-I should ask him someday (haha). I haven’t lived in Colorado in over a decade, but those formative years def’ shaped my perspectives. I’m still all about the flat spins, and I’ll choose a relaxed no-grab Montoya front three, five, or seven over a young buck’s ballerina back 1080 every time. Marco has my favorite style in the game and has progressed with the times, honing his speed and power at Snowbird, Utah-and floating backcountry Cab 900s to silence the haters. And Marc Frank’s style is all his own: The persona, the cars, the cribs-MFM is real. Believe it.

Associate Online Editor Evan LeFebvre
I started skiing when I was three; by the time I was in junior high, it was time to upgrade to snowboarding-skiing was played. Being a twelve-year-old San Diegan, I could get to the snow relatively quickly; the problem was getting somebody to take me there. On the other hand, I could skateboard every day. As a result, my limited disposable income was going toward skateboarding paraphernalia, rather than anything related to snow. If anything, my style was influenced by Tom Penny.

Then: Jeremy Jones
I started to care more about snowboarding than skateboarding in the late 90s. That was when Snow Summit and the Forum 8 were the biggest things in snowboarding. Jeremy Jones was at the forefront of the jibbing revolution, and I wanted to enlist. He rode with a smooth, controlled style and made it look so fun and easy. Style and trick selection were focused as much on quality control as on raising the bar. You could tell that skateboarding was a big part of his snowboarding.

Now: Jeremy Jones
Since the only constant in this world is change, the Forum 8′s run ended, but Jeremy Jones is still my favorite snowboarder. And that’s what it’s all about for me-when someone you don’t even know is so good that you look forward to seeing what they did on their snowboard the previous year.

Contributing Editor Chris Coyle
I started snowboarding in 1985, growing up a skateboarder in Washington State it seemed like the thing to do during the winter. It rained too much to skate, so we headed for the hills. My mom didn’t have a lot of money, so she lied and said that I had taken the test needed to go up on the ski school bus to Snoqaulamie Pass without lessons. Every Saturday morning she would get up at 6:00 a.m. and drive me to the bus so I could spin out of control down the mountain trying to make it off a jump in hopes of a Kidwell-esque method. By high school (1989), I was saving my lunch money for ten-dollar night riding at Stevens Pass, trying to imitate Craig Kelly style by keeping our knees together and staying low. After graduation, I packed up and headed to Mt. Hood were I rode with my posse known as The Dirties everyday for damn near eight years-still trying to get a method as good as Kidwell’s or overall style as good as Craig’s.-C.C.

Then: Terry Kidwell
This photo was above my bed for years. It was surrounded by pictures of Lance Mountain doing a Madonna, Gonz doing a frontside ollie and Craig Kelly boning out a frontside air. If there was a big skate or shred day planned, the night before, I would stare at these photos for hours while trying to fall asleep, hoping to do something half as awesome looking. It took me over ten years to get a method even close to this under my belt and another two for the mustache.P.S. You thought them dudes today started the whole jeans-on-hill thing? Think again, son.

Now: Scott E. Wittlake
In my mind, Scott E. Wittlake is snowboarding. No bullshit. No bells and whistles. Just shred. He quit being a pro snowboarder and still rides a couple hundred days a year, with money he earns as a f-kin’ bike messenger. He don’t care about sponsors, video parts, or making it big. He just wants to shred-on his own terms. If he wants to jump off this cliff and not grab, so be it. If you want to take a picture of it, go ahead. But he ain’t jumping through hoops for a couple extra bucks from a meat-stick sponsor.

Editor In Chief Kurt Hoy
I was deep into skating by 1985. Curbs, loading docks, and launch ramps ate up the hours after school, I discovered vert at the Canyon Ramp, and my friends and I sponged-and-bucketed our share of pools. I inherited a collection of 1970s Skateboarder magazines from a neighbor, and the aesthetic of Jay Adams spoke to me. He just seemed to flow, even in photos.

I looked up to some of the Alva skaters I’d see in Venice, especially Chris Cook, and if I had to name someone from the Bones Brigade, it’d be Tommy Guerrero. I guess I’ve always appreciated flow and board feel, but also power-that’s why I usually have to name a couple of people (the flow of Trujillo and the rawness of Cardiel; the wave sense and board feel of Curren and the power of Occy). It’s rare to find one person with the combination of things that I think make great style. Actually, as I write this, I can only think of two people who fit my personal criteria: surfer Kelly Slater and snowbnything related to snow. If anything, my style was influenced by Tom Penny.

Then: Jeremy Jones
I started to care more about snowboarding than skateboarding in the late 90s. That was when Snow Summit and the Forum 8 were the biggest things in snowboarding. Jeremy Jones was at the forefront of the jibbing revolution, and I wanted to enlist. He rode with a smooth, controlled style and made it look so fun and easy. Style and trick selection were focused as much on quality control as on raising the bar. You could tell that skateboarding was a big part of his snowboarding.

Now: Jeremy Jones
Since the only constant in this world is change, the Forum 8′s run ended, but Jeremy Jones is still my favorite snowboarder. And that’s what it’s all about for me-when someone you don’t even know is so good that you look forward to seeing what they did on their snowboard the previous year.

Contributing Editor Chris Coyle
I started snowboarding in 1985, growing up a skateboarder in Washington State it seemed like the thing to do during the winter. It rained too much to skate, so we headed for the hills. My mom didn’t have a lot of money, so she lied and said that I had taken the test needed to go up on the ski school bus to Snoqaulamie Pass without lessons. Every Saturday morning she would get up at 6:00 a.m. and drive me to the bus so I could spin out of control down the mountain trying to make it off a jump in hopes of a Kidwell-esque method. By high school (1989), I was saving my lunch money for ten-dollar night riding at Stevens Pass, trying to imitate Craig Kelly style by keeping our knees together and staying low. After graduation, I packed up and headed to Mt. Hood were I rode with my posse known as The Dirties everyday for damn near eight years-still trying to get a method as good as Kidwell’s or overall style as good as Craig’s.-C.C.

Then: Terry Kidwell
This photo was above my bed for years. It was surrounded by pictures of Lance Mountain doing a Madonna, Gonz doing a frontside ollie and Craig Kelly boning out a frontside air. If there was a big skate or shred day planned, the night before, I would stare at these photos for hours while trying to fall asleep, hoping to do something half as awesome looking. It took me over ten years to get a method even close to this under my belt and another two for the mustache.P.S. You thought them dudes today started the whole jeans-on-hill thing? Think again, son.

Now: Scott E. Wittlake
In my mind, Scott E. Wittlake is snowboarding. No bullshit. No bells and whistles. Just shred. He quit being a pro snowboarder and still rides a couple hundred days a year, with money he earns as a f-kin’ bike messenger. He don’t care about sponsors, video parts, or making it big. He just wants to shred-on his own terms. If he wants to jump off this cliff and not grab, so be it. If you want to take a picture of it, go ahead. But he ain’t jumping through hoops for a couple extra bucks from a meat-stick sponsor.

Editor In Chief Kurt Hoy
I was deep into skating by 1985. Curbs, loading docks, and launch ramps ate up the hours after school, I discovered vert at the Canyon Ramp, and my friends and I sponged-and-bucketed our share of pools. I inherited a collection of 1970s Skateboarder magazines from a neighbor, and the aesthetic of Jay Adams spoke to me. He just seemed to flow, even in photos.

I looked up to some of the Alva skaters I’d see in Venice, especially Chris Cook, and if I had to name someone from the Bones Brigade, it’d be Tommy Guerrero. I guess I’ve always appreciated flow and board feel, but also power-that’s why I usually have to name a couple of people (the flow of Trujillo and the rawness of Cardiel; the wave sense and board feel of Curren and the power of Occy). It’s rare to find one person with the combination of things that I think make great style. Actually, as I write this, I can only think of two people who fit my personal criteria: surfer Kelly Slater and snowboarder Terje Haakonsen.

I got my first snowboard from Kanoa Surf, the local surf and skate shop. Paul Elkins was probably the biggest influence on me, because he’d made a snowboard in 1983 (using a metal skateboard deck) and been riding it in the Southern California backcountry around San Gorgonio. We each ordered a Burton Performer Elite 150 from the 1985 catalog.

Snowboarding was more an offshoot of surfing than of skating at that time; it was all about surfing the snow. Mountain High was the first resort I rode, and occasionally there would be another snowboarder on the hill-sometimes we’d see Tom Sims. Tom and the Sims team influenced a lot of riders in California. As soon as I finished high school, I moved to Colorado. Most of the people I ride with today still live there.-K.H.

Then: Evan Feen, 1987

For me, early influences were peers more than pros. But when I’m pressed to label a snowboarder who I considered stylish during the mid to late 80s (when I started riding), two names popped to mind: Evan Feen and French rider Serge Vitelli.

I’ve never met Evan, but I remember the influence this particular shot and the accompanying interview had on me. It was in “The Performers” issue of TransWorld, Nov./Dec., 1988-the first issue of TWS I remember reading.

Evan did have a style, but more than style, I think he conveyed soul, and that’s what had a bigger effect on me. His riding wasn’t contrived, it showed expression, and you can tell that he was into it, really feeling every turn and every air. Of course, I didn’t remember the stretch-like pants of this shot, those kind of ruin me now.

Today, if I were to choose a rider with great style from around that time period, it would be Mike Ranquet, although he came a little bit later with the introduction of skate-style snowboarding.

Now: Terje Haakonsen, 2005

The elements of style are summed up by this shot of Terje Haakonsen. Terje tops my list because his style stems from supreme board control and technical ability, but it’s also fluid, spontaneous, and powerful.

A lot of snowboarders with good technical riding skills never evolve to have style, and a lot of riders with style are limited by their lack of ability. Terje’s well roundedness is the key to his style- I don’t think any other rider has ever had the same combination of skills, to the same degree that Terje has. An innate sense of body positioning doesn’t hurt, either.

I’ve never really tried to copy anyone’s style-I’ve always just wanted to refine my own-but if I could magically ride like someone else, I’d want to ride like Terje. If I hadn’t gone with Terje for this piece, I would have chosen Nicolas Muller-he’s clearly one of the world’s great riders. Nico has the foundation for timeless style, and his skills are well rounded, but his riding isn’t as mature and powerful as Terje’s … yet.

Photo Editor Nick Hamilton

Winter’s growing up on the East Coast (“Ice Coast” as I remember it) were all about skating garage minis and dingy basement flat-ground sessions. Then came snowboarding, which mostly involved cruising groomers, a high wind-chill factor, and limited park features sculpted in rock-hard ice. Then one summer I went riding for the first time in Norway at a summer camp. I was truly enlightened by the Scandi style: skate inspired with the most basic of grabs, confidently pushing the limits yet insanely controlled from start to finish.-N.H.

Then: Ingemar BackmanTerje, Ingemar Backman, and Johan Oloffson were some of the original scanners with halfpipe backgrounds-back then in Europe that’s what you did to get noticed, sponsored, and “to make it.” Ingemar has always been a classic quiet Scandinavian rider, letting his riding do the talking. I like this backside air of Ingemar. Just look at his smile-you can see how much fun he’s having with a basic trick miles overhead out of a Scandi quarterpipe. This is mid 90s Scandinavia at its finest.

Now: Jussi OksanenJJussi Oksanen has a very skate-inspired Scandi style. He snowboards regular foot and skateboards goofy foot, so his style is flawless, switch or regular. Backside 180 or switch backside 180, Jussi looks solid and developed from years of fine-tuning his skills on jumps the size of small mountains. Jussi has now progressed his sharp freestyle skills into backcountry jumps and natural powder features, just as Johan took his skills up a notch in the Alaska terrain before him. der Terje Haakonsen.

I got my first snowboard from Kanoa Surf, the local surf and skate shop. Paul Elkins was probably the biggest influence on me, because he’d made a snowboard in 1983 (using a metal skateboard deck) and been riding it in the Southern California backcountry around San Gorgonio. We each ordered a Burton Performer Elite 150 from the 1985 catalog.

Snowboarding was more an offshoot of surfing than of skating at that time; it was all about surfing the snow. Mountain High was the first resort I rode, and occasionally there would be another snowboarder on the hill-sometimes we’d see Tom Sims. Tom and the Sims team influenced a lot of riders in California. As soon as I finished high school, I moved to Colorado. Most of the people I ride with today still live there.-K.H.

Then: Evan Feen, 1987

For me, early influences were peers more than pros. But when I’m pressed to label a snowboarder who I considered stylish during the mid to late 80s (when I started riding), two names popped to mind: Evan Feen and French rider Serge Vitelli.

I’ve never met Evan, but I remember the influence this particular shot and the accompanying interview had on me. It was in “The Performers” issue of TransWorld, Nov./Dec., 1988-the first issue of TWS I remember reading.

Evan did have a style, but more than style, I think he conveyed soul, and that’s what had a bigger effect on me. His riding wasn’t contrived, it showed expression, and you can tell that he was into it, really feeling every turn and every air. Of course, I didn’t remember the stretch-like pants of this shot, those kind of ruin me now.

Today, if I were to choose a rider with great style from around that time period, it would be Mike Ranquet, although he came a little bit later with the introduction of skate-style snowboarding.

Now: Terje Haakonsen, 2005

The elements of style are summed up by this shot of Terje Haakonsen. Terje tops my list because his style stems from supreme board control and technical ability, but it’s also fluid, spontaneous, and powerful.

A lot of snowboarders with good technical riding skills never evolve to have style, and a lot of riders with style are limited by their lack of ability. Terje’s well roundedness is the key to his style- I don’t think any other rider has ever had the same combination of skills, to the same degree that Terje has. An innate sense of body positioning doesn’t hurt, either.

I’ve never really tried to copy anyone’s style-I’ve always just wanted to refine my own-but if I could magically ride like someone else, I’d want to ride like Terje. If I hadn’t gone with Terje for this piece, I would have chosen Nicolas Muller-he’s clearly one of the world’s great riders. Nico has the foundation for timeless style, and his skills are well rounded, but his riding isn’t as mature and powerful as Terje’s … yet.

Photo Editor Nick Hamilton

Winter’s growing up on the East Coast (“Ice Coast” as I remember it) were all about skating garage minis and dingy basement flat-ground sessions. Then came snowboarding, which mostly involved cruising groomers, a high wind-chill factor, and limited park features sculpted in rock-hard ice. Then one summer I went riding for the first time in Norway at a summer camp. I was truly enlightened by the Scandi style: skate inspired with the most basic of grabs, confidently pushing the limits yet insanely controlled from start to finish.-N.H.

Then: Ingemar BackmanTerje, Ingemar Backman, and Johan Oloffson were some of the original scanners with halfpipe backgrounds-back then in Europe that’s what you did to get noticed, sponsored, and “to make it.” Ingemar has always been a classic quiet Scandinavian rider, letting his riding do the talking. I like this backside air of Ingemar. Just look at his smile-you can see how much fun he’s having with a basic trick miles overhead out of a Scandi quarterpipe. This is mid 90s Scandinavia at its finest.

Now: Jussi OksanenJussi Oksanen has a very skate-inspired Scandi style. He snowboards regular foot and skateboards goofy foot, so his style is flawless, switch or regular. Backside 180 or switch backside 180, Jussi looks solid and developed from years of fine-tuning his skills on jumps the size of small mountains. Jussi has now progressed his sharp freestyle skills into backcountry jumps and natural powder features, just as Johan took his skills up a notch in the Alaska terrain before him. OksanenJussi Oksanen has a very skate-inspired Scandi style. He snowboards regular foot and skateboards goofy foot, so his style is flawless, switch or regular. Backside 180 or switch backside 180, Jussi looks solid and developed from years of fine-tuning his skills on jumps the size of small mountains. Jussi has now progressed his sharp freestyle skills into backcountry jumps and natural powder features, just as Johan took his skills up a notch in the Alaska terrain before him.