LOCATION: Niseko, Japan
I first met Alex Yoder in LA over some rice bowls with Rip Zinger. Alex was on a journey from his home in Wyoming to Ventura to start working more closely with Patagonia, and spend more time in the water. We immediately found several commonalities: going to the same school in Marin in our childhood and experiencing a shift in our viewpoint on life several years ago. We spoke about concussions and rehabbing shoulders, and the factors that led to a passion in food and healthy living.
At the last Dirksen Derby, snowboard and mountain bike photographer Tim Zimmerman told me, “Yoder is one of the smoothest, most entertaining people ever to watch turn a snowboard.” If you ever meet Yoder, you’ll note his presence and calm vibe. His riding is like an extension of his aura, and seeing it in person makes you want to go out and link turns and find the flow yourself.
Yoder shifted his career over the past few seasons, and more recently became the only American to join the Gentem Stick team. He now spends much of the winter in Japan, digging deep into the perspective of the snow surf scene. Simultaneously, his style and approach to riding, and even living, have developed significantly. From exploring different ways of eating and cooking, to looking towards alternative medicine to stay healthy while chasing winter, Yoder has developed a more conscious approach to life.
We studied Japanese in the Gentem Stick yurt, and prepared snacks before heading into the backcountry with Yoder, Taro Tamai, Terje Haakenson and Rip Zinger. After many test rides and discussions about all the different Gentem boards, it was time to ride some Asmo Powsurfers (bindingless) deep in the forests of Niseko. But the more we tried to dig deep to the roots of Yoder’s style and philosophy, the more we felt we were only scratching the surface.