The Whistler-based backcountry stomper extraordinaire chats meeting strange shirtless men while splitboarding, avalanches and the perils of FOMO. Watch her smoking hot part in TB20 by Standard Films here
Interview by Sam Haddad
Hey Leanne, what’s up?
Hey Sam, I’m just gearing up for the winter. I’ve gone snowboarding only about seven days so far but they’ve been filled with powder! I’m just about to leave to Colorado for a quick K2 women’s inspiration meeting. Should be fun!
How’s your winter going? Although we know from your envy-inducing tweets that it’s going pretty good round Whistler way!
Yeah.. really good snow in Whistler at the resort. And I have been splitboarding twice so far! The last time Robin Van Gyn and I went out, a crazy man with no shirt came down a fresh snowy path on a bicycle. He proceeded to tell us that he didn’t speak English…in perfect English. He then went on to tell us some stories about how his wife has been looking for him for six years and that he lives in the woods and eats rabbits. I don’t know if I believed any of it, but I made sure to text my boyfriend to let him know of my location in case anything crazy happened, ha. He followed us back onto the trail and told us that both his ankles were broken from falling off a cliff the week prior. So weird! Anyway, I don’t know where I’m going with this, but we had a laugh. Good times so far!
That Whistler avalanche footage you posted this week was pretty hairy. Have you ever been caught in one?
The avy conditions are not good in Whistler right now. We’ve had about 10 feet of snow in just a few storms. Everyone should take note and be careful out there, because those crowns look like they’re really deep. And no I haven’t been caught in an avalanche, thankfully.
Is it something you worry about everyday as a backcountry specialist?
I definitely keep it in the back of my mind, but when I’m dropping in I know that I’ve accepted a certain risk. At that point I am reliant on my friends to keep an eye on me and to make good judgement if something goes wrong.
What attracts you to backcountry riding as opposed to the park?
The backcountry is so addictive because it’s a different experience every single day, even if you’re in the same spot. The snow and wind can change things completely, so fast… from one day to another. And so it’s really rewarding when you can look at a slope, think of a trick then make it come to life. Park is also awesome to ride. I love going back to the park to gain confidence and get more consistent.
We LOVED your extended remix part in TB20, were you pleased with the response it got?
Thank you! I am happy that people are stoked, because I felt like I had a bit of a rough year. I tore my LCL during the best time to film, then I tried to snowboard on it, and that didn’t really work out. I really wanted to get more backcountry tricks but my leg couldn’t stand up to landing anything. Looking back, I was mental for trying to ride injured. There was no point, I don’t know what I was thinking! Never again… listen to your body!
How many hours of shooting normally go into a part like that?
Too many days of going up sledding and getting skunked with weather or snow. Last season, I probably logged about 10 sunny days or less. I had a bad case of FOMO: I didn’t want to leave Whistler because I had a Fear Of Missing Out on the good days… so I spent way too much time there in a La Nina year, with very few good filming days.
Bummer. Do you have any tips for girls wanting to get some good film sequences going on?
Yeah! Just go out there and be creative! Watch snowboard movies for inspiration! I like watching Gigi’s part and the YES crew in Absinthe’s Twelve. And Annie Boulanger too in that movie.
Which girls’ movie parts have impressed you the most this winter? And all time?
This winter was epic in terms of girls film parts! Cheryl Maas, Kimmy Fasani, Hana Beaman, Marie France Roy and Annie Boulanger all killed it! Those were my favourites this winter, and all time it would have to go to Tara Dakides. Her parts were on a different level compared to all the other girls in her era. I watched her parts over and over, and was just so inspired by them.
Who were your shred heroes growing up?
Tara Dakides, Victoria Jealouse, Natasza Zurek, Barrett Christy, Gigi Rüf, Travis Parker to name a few.
And your favourite people to ride with right now?
I love riding Whistler Blackcomb on a pow day with my friends. Robin Van Gyn, Amanda, Jeff, Ming, Joanna, Spencer O’Brien.
We’ve just interviewed Spencer O’Brien for the next issue and she said she likes baking. What do you like doing outside of snowboarding?
Yes she does, and she’s SO good at it! I absolutely love her Tiramisu. I have taken up wrestling…with the ocean. Some people call it surfing.
Are there any burning issues in women’s snowboarding that you’d like to raise?
Think about our future: protectourwinters.org
Can you confirm your latest sponsors?
K2, Dragon, Dakine, Airblaster, WhistlerBlackcomb, Lifetime Clothing, Coastal Riders Snowboard Shop and ambassador for Lululemon