Caught Up: Gigi Rüf

Gigi is a quiet guy but his riding speaks volumes. He’s not that big, but his moves are huge, and he has clout for days. Gigi’s got that natural flawless style on a snowboard that everyone fiends for and it’s only matched by his creative finesse. Part of Burton’s Uninc. squadron, Gigi is back filming with the Absinthe crew this year, and will no doubt be pushing the limits of big mountain freestyle, and good times from AK to Arlberg. Don’t sleep on the Gi.

Where are you from?

Austria, I grew up in the most western part in a village called Au.

When did you get into shredding?

That was in the season of ’91/’92.

Do you remember your first board?

Yeah, the very first time I strapped in was on a rental from my Uncle’s sport shop. My parents couldn’t buy me one right away; they already bought me my lift ticket so I had to use my brother’s board when he was not riding. Then I got my brothers old board which was an overhead tall blank board with hard boot binders. It became our craze and everything became all about snowboarding. My mum had sewn together our own snowboarding clothes so we were like a team.

Who was your first sponsor?

My first sponsors were my parents—big up to them. Then after I’d gotten into some pipe comps and my jumps were getting better I got hooked up by the local shop which was also a distribution for Volcom, Haz Mat, and Black Fly’s plus a few other board companies in Austria. So they gave me boards and clothing plus I met the people from those companies personally. Then I got to go to the ASR trade show in San Diego and hang out with Volcom there.

Have you been on any trips yet this year?

What a trip, the snow already hit mid November at home and I can’t recall such an early start of the season really. I’ve already snowboarded three weeks before the resort lifts even opened. Right now thought I’m stuck at the Airport in Chicago because all my flights are being cancelled one after the other due to snowstorms—tripping for sure.

Is there anything in particular that you want to get done this season?

Lots of first tracks, that’s all.

What’s the biggest difference about being a pro snowboarder versus just snowboarding for fun?

Answering these questions I guess.

How has snowboarding changed your life?

Well I think I’ve been able to expand the humor about life a lot because I am having so much fun.

Do you have any other hobbies?

Yeah many more, but they are on hold due to my busy schedule. In summer I skate, go swimming, use up my frequent flier miles account for waves, build out our bmx track, cook, go out, read, computerize, hang out, screwing and driving around in my old Mustang, go hiking in the mountains, ride motocross, play flipper, and just chill the fuck out.

What’s a pirate hit?

Probably tomato-tuna macaronis.

What’s been the scariest moment strapped into your snowboard?

The day after Jeffy died. I went out and was lost.

Who’s the most underrated rider out there?

So many, to pick the most underrated is hard to come up with, but I’d say Josh Dirksen right now.

If you weren’t snowboarding for a living what do you think you’d be doing?

I don’t know I’m still picking my nose trying to figure out the answer to this question for myself.