Three Days With Leanne Pelosi: February 18-20

Photos by Scott Serfas

There are a lot of likely places to look for a burgeoning pro rider during the depths of winter-Tahoe, Whistler, Utah, et cetera-but I’d venture to say that the dusky hills of Iceland is not one of them. Nevertheless, mid February found Leanne Pelosi exactly there, along with a haphazard crew of shreds on special assignment for a TW SNOW feature. Take a look into three days on the road with one of Canada’s most progressive female riders. Pelosi is talented, focused, and (despite the strangeness and occasional challenge of her nomadic lifestyle) maintains a unique way of appreciating life’s small pleasures and dismissing the big disappointments-all in one very Leanne-esque comic shrug.-Jennifer Sherowski

What was making you happy during this time?

Chocolate. I got to go to Iceland twice this season, as well as Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Italy-all of those places have great chocolate. I also got to go to Great Britain for a day to visit my 93-year-old grandpa. He’s the best-just survived a heart attack and a stroke and is still running around living on his own. Having the opportunity to visit him and hear his funny stories from the war was the best thing that could’ve happened last season. He has such a great outlook on life-it made me want to be like him when I’m old.

What was stressing you out?

I was a bit stressed that I wasn’t doing a whole lot of riding on the trip, and it was right before the Gravity Games-we didn’t hit any jumps for two weeks before I had to compete. Whatever, though, I was stoked in the end, because those trips are so much fun, and I got to hang out with some rad people I didn’t know very well beforehand.

What were you listening to?

I did have a playlist for the trip-it was called “Iceland Faves.” Here it is:

1. The Killers, “Mr. Brightside”

2. The Organ, “Sinking Hearts”

3. The Beatnuts, “No Escapin’ This”

4. Zoot Woman, “Hope In The Mirror”

5. Kylie Minogue, “Love At First Sight”

6. Keith Murray, “Candi Bar”

7. Wes Makepeace, “Track 06”

8. New Order, “Bizzare Love Triangle”

9. Daniel Bedingfield, “Gotta Get Through This”

10. The Sundays, “Here’s Where The Story Ends”

11. The Smiths, “Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want”

12. Snow Patrol, “Final Straw”

13. Obie Trice, “Lady”

14. The Stills, “Changes Are No Good”

15. Keshia Chante, “Unpredictable”

16. M.O.P., “Cold As Ice”

17. Hilary Duff, “Come Clean”

18. Ima Robot, “Scream”

19. Capone-N-Noreaga, “Invincible”

20. The Strokes, “I Can’t Win”

Did you have any goals for the season?

I wanted to really work on my jumping so that I could try to do well in some slopestyle contests this year. I definitely learned a few new tricks and got more consistent.

Do you ever miss home during the winter?

Yes, I do! I miss my bed, the gym, the couch, being able to cook and not have to eat out all the time. I also miss my family and friends.

What are some of your other recent obsessions besides snowboarding?

Packing-pack, pack, pack. All I do is pack!

What number was dialed most often from your cell phone during these three days?

Hmmm … I couldn’t use my cell phone because I was in Iceland! But we did have some good “Mac-off” sessions on the Internet.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life so far?

One: You can’t move a house in a day. Two: You can’t wax your board with a hot iron and then try to iron your clothes. Three: You can’t show up to a contest, not land your run in practice, and think you’re going to be able to pull it when it’s contest time. Four: Don’t let your boots stay wet in your board bag when you travel abroad. Five: Always trust your instincts. Six: Be a dreamer.

What are the top five things you spend your money on?

I just finished doing taxes. I vow to quit drinking Starbucks-I spent way too much money on soy lattà‡s. And I’m going to become a mute because of my cell bill last year. Other than that: my new Volvo, travel expenses-food/air/hotel- clothes, and snowmobile maintenance.

When was the last time you were scared to death?

I was in Europe on a TransWorld story, and I was standing on top of this cliff ready to drop. My heart was pounding because there was this huge cornice glacier overhanging-I mean big, like the size of a greyhound bus. I got scared, and the filmer told me to hike up a bit more for the shot. Then this big cloud came in, so I decided to hit it the next day. Anyway, we came back up the next morning to hit the cliff, and the freaking cornice had fallen on top of the cliff and avalanched down the mountain. It was crazy, and I was so lucky that I wasn’t dead, because it was within twelve hours that this had happened, right where I’d been standing. I would’ve been a sweet piece of meat for the birds.