With a new year upon us and the Olympics just around the corner, here’s a timely reminder of why Stale Sandbech remains one of the riders to watch in 2018.
The Norwegian park master has spent the last 12 months on something of a comeback following three knee surgeries, but as this highlights reel from recent StaleLife episodes proves, he’s lost nothing of his outrageous trick bag and signature style. From the X Games to the Beijing Air & Style, it’s a whistle stop tour of contests, airports, fan selfies and training days (aka ‘snowboarding’).
“There are some riders for whom snowboarding looks too easy, and Sandbech is one of those”
With him as always is Stale’s faithful filmer Gimbal God, a man who’s made a career for himself out of straight airing giant jumps armed only with a stabilised camera and a fashionable pair of dungarees. The close-up footage of his homie mid-flight is something to behold – there are some riders for whom snowboarding looks too easy, and Sandbech is one of those.
When the five ringed circus rolls around at Pyeongchang next month, it will be a brave man who bets against Stale making the podium in either the Slopestyle or Big Air. His super technical flat spins set him apart from the majority of aerial acrobats, with an edge control and ability to kill the rotation on landing that – dare I say it – reminds me a little of the current gold medallist Sage Kotsenburg.
But the big question for 2018 remains: should he find himself in another medal ceremony, how will Stale top THAT haircut? Is a mohawk still the FIS-sanctioned form of snowboarder rebellion, or might we see an appearance of the fabled Geek Pie?