Intro by Rob “Whitey” McConnaughy

Interview by Sean Johnson and J.P. Walker

Outro by Mikey 

Mikey LeBlanc’s Irish eyes are smilin’. Over the years Mikey has stepped up and proven himself as one of today’s most burly and powerful snowboarders. He has accomplished this with a wide array of moves combined with a go-for-broke attitude. Mike has the superhuman ability to land flatter than any other rider on the planet and still come out standing. This may very well be the reason for his short stature and sometimes even shorter temper.

Born and raised in Maine, Mikey learned to snowboard on his hometown’s icy slopes. He was anxious to leave the painful hardpack behind and moved to Breckenridge, Colorado during the infamous big-jeans, jib-fest days. During that time there was a small group of riders who were causing a major shift in the direction of snowboarding. Riders like Roan Rogers, Nate Cole and Dale Rehberg were some of the select few who cut down the noses of their snowboards and widened their stances in order to make their boards more functional for freestyle riding. This made Breckenridge a hotbed in the rise of technical snowboarding and influenced Mikey’s style of riding. After four years he became bored with the generally flat terrain Colorado had to offer and moved to Salt Lake City. Utah’s steep and varied terrain suited Mikey’s hell-bent-for-leather approach to riding.

Mike enjoys the fact that he is constantly pushed by the incredible talents of his buddies J.P. Walker, Jeremy Jones, Brian Thien, Ali Goulet, B.J. Leines, and all the other Utah shred dogs. Although, Mikey relaxed in Seattle, Washington for the summer, he’ll be back in Utah for his third season of riding the Wasatch Mountains this winter. Despite a few aggravated screams on the hill, Mikey is one of the goofiest and most fun riders to be with, on and off the mountain. I’ve seen him take left hooks from bouncers and head-ons with trees, somehow always coming out unscathed and ready for more. Show me someone who doesn’t like Mikey and I’ll show you a real asshole.-Whitey

 

 

Sean Johnson and Mikey

Who are you riding for right now?

Division 23, Blond Clothing-shit, I have so many sponsors …

Well who pays ya?

All right, that’s a good question. Division 23, Blond Clothing, Northwave Boots, and Drake Bindings.

Who pays you the most?

Division 23 Snowboards, bro.

How tall are you?

Five-foot four.

What’s your ethnic background?

Irish and French. Three-quarters Irish. Both my mom’s parents are Irish, and my dad’s dad is French Canadian.

Do you speak French?

No, I speak Spanish.

What’s your worst injury from snowboarding?

It’s a toss up-broken rib, probably. I blew out my knee, but I think broken ribs are worse.

Describe it.

Well, in the halfpipe I always land in the flatbottom and I just landed too flat and broke my rib.

Banged yourself in the chest?

Well, flexed hard enough-you can cough hard enough to break your ribs. So I exhaled hard and broke my rib.

How long ago was that?

Last spring. It felt good for two weeks before I was trying to film with you guys, and I just waved my arms and it rebroke.

It’s pretty scary being out not snowboarding for a period of time?

Yeah, I was out in the spring and summer.

So you go out there, really f-k yourself up snowboarding, and your company is behind you, or do they pay you until you hurt yourself and then you get shit on?

That’s exactly why I think this industry is getting so lame-there are only a few companies that will back you up. I’m pretty stoked on World right now because they are backing up little Gabe Linn. He’s been hurt for a while. It’s pretty rare. It’s probably because they are a skateboard company and they know what’s up.

There’re companies out there that want to make their money off of the riders, chew them up, and spit them out. Exactly. Unless you’re smart and can play the game, you’re not going to get anything from them unless you know how to work them back. They’re mostly out to use you.

It’s just the risk you take.

I can’t complain too much-it’s a fun job.

How tall are you?

You already asked me that.

What do you think about the younger generation coming up?

I’m worried about them. When I was a kid I opened up skateboard and snowboard mags and saw Chris Miller and Lance Mountain and those guys having a good time and having their own styles-pushing their own limits. But they weren’t bombarded by huge corporate ad campaigns. Today, it might as well be a ski mag or a golf magazine or something.

It’s like snowboarding has turned into such a production, it’s not even like a sport.

It’s getting so far away from fun for these kids. Every kid’s first question is, “Who’s that guy? Who’s he sponsored by?” Instead of, “Wow, that was a rad trick. I want to learn to tweak my method like that.”

Do you think it makes a difference to a kid snowboarder if he worked a little bit before he got hooked up?

For sure. I know for a fact that a lot of guys who are on top think that they’re going to get paid but don’t have to do anything anymore. Some of them think that the company is f-king them over. It’s good for a company to get rid of a rider they’ve been paying for three years, standing behind him even though he’s not doing anything. I worked a hard, shitty job before-and that’s why I work hard now.

That’s why you appreciate it, and that’s why a lot of kids don’t know-they’ve never had a job, and they’re just handed money.

Exactly.

How old are you now?

I’m 25 years old.

How many more years do you think you have in snowboarding before you retire?

I’m blessed with a short, stocky body, which I think has a lot to do with longevity in our sport. All snowboarders go through slumps, but I’m way stoked, having more and more fun every day. I’m realizing that I can do what I want to do, and when I’m not appreciating what I’m doing, I’m gonna quit.

What do you think will make you quit first, your mind or your body?

Probably my mind-if I stay in shape. Look at pro football players. They go out and get their ass kicked every week and play until they are 35 or 40 years old. Same with basketball. Caballero is like 34, and he’s doing good in vert contests. It’s going to be mind for me. I don’t want to become so over it that I turn into a bitter old man.

What got you interested in snowboarding?

Skateboarding basically. I remember seeing Cold Snap in Thrasher a long time ago. My older brother got a snowboard, and I used to go up skiing with him the first year he got it.

Who do you usually ride with?

Whoever is around. The people I like to ride with are J.P. Walker, Jeremy Jones, and Nick Perata, for sure. He was one of my idols when I was a kid, because he used to huck off of huge cliffs.

Who else do you look up to in snowboarding?

Right before I was pro, about four years ago, I was into Todd Fransen. He has the raddest part in the Mack Dawg movie back then, a sick Cab seven, grabbed the whole way. I liked Terje a lot because he could do every trick. I liked Noah Salasnek, too, ’cause he was just an all-around rider, powder and freestyling; he made up a lot of tricks.

How tall are you?

Five-foot four, and you already asked me that twice. Five-foot four and 135. How tall are you, Five-foot six?

Six-foot three.

Whatever.

What does your family think about your snowboarding?

So pumped.

Number-one fans?

My mom. My grandparents are super pumped, too.

That’s about it for the interview. Oh yeah, I have one more question. How tall are you?

Laughs.

 

 

J.P. Walker and Mikey

How high can you ollie? Just kidding, dude. Anyone ask you how tall you are yet?

Yeah, Johnson. Like four times.

What does it take to be a pro snowboarder?

It takes some natural ability, which I have a little of. It takes a work ethic.

What do you need a work ethic for?

To get stuff done.

Filming and shooting photos?

Exactly. Or else you just don’t get anywhere. It takes a good attitude, which I don’t always have.

Which you way don’t have.

Whatever. It takes the ability to still have fun while you’re working, which means you have to have good friends you can work with.

Like who?

Like you.

Like me-sweet. Who else do you like to work with?

Whitey, Mack Dawg Productions, Sean Johnson, and Sean Kearns’ crew.

How big of a part of snowboarding is filming and photos for you?

It’s all I like to do. I like to go freeride, but as far as work, I always want to have a consistently better part each year than the year before. I like to see my own progression. It’s fun to see what I did, and remember the day, and remember J.P did 720 more than I did off that jump. I have some of my most fun days filming, building jumps, hiking around. The biggest jumps I ever hit are definitely when I’m filming. Cliffs and stuff.

You hit stuff you wouldn’t normally do because it’s in front of the camera?

No. I think it pushes me for sure, but it’s not because the camera’s there. That’s when I’m gonna want to stop snowboarding, when it’s just all about feeling like I have to do it, not that I want to. That’s going to be dumb, and I’m gonna quit.

When you quit snowboarding professionally are you going to want to do anything with it after that?

I don’t know. I love it. Who knows. I love it so much. I’d like to be involved in helping kids do it.

You mean be a coach at Mt. Hood?

No. Definitely not. It’s kind of fun to coach, but it would probably wear on ya. It would wear on your soul, trying to be Mr. Know-It-All.

Do you train like Richards in the pipe?

No. I definitely try doing tricks like over and over until I think that I can get them, but I don’t train. I golf. I think it helps me concentrate. I always say I go to the gym, but I don’t.

Dude, I say the same thing and I never go either.

 

 

Mikey

When I look back to my first skateboard, a Vision Mark Gonzales, I remember staring at skateboard magazines and admiring how each individual’s personal style and attitude showed through. Fifteen years later, I can still open a skateboard magazine and see a certain uniqueness that sets skaters apart from each other. Snowboarding has these people, too-certain riders with style, or innovators who occasionally pop out. But it’s almost a rarity.

Snowboarding is all about fun-expressing yourself through your own style. Just because some kid can do a switch backside 900 triple-tweak tindy off a park jump doesn’t mean he’s cooler than you. Follow your own feelings and style. I’ve always believed in fluidity and aggressiveness. Some styles are technical, some smooth, some mellow, and some just crazy-all styles are correct. I get just as stoked seeing some 60-year-old person slashing powder and laughing like an eight year old, as I do a 90-foot-long backside 180 in powder, stomping it.

Just get past the hype and have your own fun at your own pace.-Mikey

Thanks to my whole family for the help and backing, to all the people that have filmed and taken photos of me, and to all my friends.

Pull Quotes

I’ve seen him take left hooks from bouncers and head ons with trees, somehow always coming out unscathed and ready for more.

That’s when I’m gonna want to stop snowboarding, when it’s just all about feeling like I have to do it, not that I want to. That’s going to be dumb, and I’m gonna quit.

It would wear on your soul, trying to be Mr. Know-It-All.h, Johnson. Like four times.

What does it take to be a pro snowboarder?

It takes some natural ability, which I have a little of. It takes a work ethic.

What do you need a work ethic for?

To get stuff done.

Filming and shooting photos?

Exactly. Or else you just don’t get anywhere. It takes a good attitude, which I don’t always have.

Which you way don’t have.

Whatever. It takes the ability to still have fun while you’re working, which means you have to have good friends you can work with.

Like who?

Like you.

Like me-sweet. Who else do you like to work with?

Whitey, Mack Dawg Productions, Sean Johnson, and Sean Kearns’ crew.

How big of a part of snowboarding is filming and photos for you?

It’s all I like to do. I like to go freeride, but as far as work, I always want to have a consistently better part each year than the year before. I like to see my own progression. It’s fun to see what I did, and remember the day, and remember J.P did 720 more than I did off that jump. I have some of my most fun days filming, building jumps, hiking around. The biggest jumps I ever hit are definitely when I’m filming. Cliffs and stuff.

You hit stuff you wouldn’t normally do because it’s in front of the camera?

No. I think it pushes me for sure, but it’s not because the camera’s there. That’s when I’m gonna want to stop snowboarding, when it’s just all about feeling like I have to do it, not that I want to. That’s going to be dumb, and I’m gonna quit.

When you quit snowboarding professionally are you going to want to do anything with it after that?

I don’t know. I love it. Who knows. I love it so much. I’d like to be involved in helping kids do it.

You mean be a coach at Mt. Hood?

No. Definitely not. It’s kind of fun to coach, but it would probably wear on ya. It would wear on your soul, trying to be Mr. Know-It-All.

Do you train like Richards in the pipe?

No. I definitely try doing tricks like over and over until I think that I can get them, but I don’t train. I golf. I think it helps me concentrate. I always say I go to the gym, but I don’t.

Dude, I say the same thing and I never go either.

 

 

Mikey

When I look back to my first skateboard, a Vision Mark Gonzales, I remember staring at skateboard magazines and admiring how each individual’s personal style and attitude showed through. Fifteen years later, I can still open a skateboard magazine and see a certain uniqueness that sets skaters apart from each other. Snowboarding has these people, too-certain riders with style, or innovators who occasionally pop out. But it’s almost a rarity.

Snowboarding is all about fun-expressing yourself through your own style. Just because some kid can do a switch backside 900 triple-tweak tindy off a park jump doesn’t mean he’s cooler than you. Follow your own feelings and style. I’ve always believed in fluidity and aggressiveness. Some styles are technical, some smooth, some mellow, and some just crazy-all styles are correct. I get just as stoked seeing some 60-year-old person slashing powder and laughing like an eight year old, as I do a 90-foot-long backside 180 in powder, stomping it.

Just get past the hype and have your own fun at your own pace.-Mikey

Thanks to my whole family for the help and backing, to all the people that have filmed and taken photos of me, and to all my friends.

Pull Quotes

I’ve seen him take left hooks from bouncers and head ons with trees, somehow always coming out unscathed and ready for more.

That’s when I’m gonna want to stop snowboarding, when it’s just all about feeling like I have to do it, not that I want to. That’s going to be dumb, and I’m gonna quit.

It would wear on your soul, trying to be Mr. Know-It-All.