Bjorn Leines is a true Viking warrior: with brut force and battle-ready finesse, he's a specimen sent straight from Valhalla to reign over the powder-rich mountains of Utah. Having ridden alongside every modern-day hero, from his cohorts in the illustrious original Forum 8 to our current King Rice of Jackson, he has proven his abilities time and time again. He's has conquered everything from burley Alaskan lines to Minnesota triple kinks. Few with his experience still show the kind of heart that he does, and he isn't ready to throw down his weapon quite yet.
Leines is now breaking ground with the Rome crew. Since Rome's much-anticipated two-year movie project "The Shred Remains" premiered last night in Burlington, Vermont, we figured it was a good time to sit down with the heartland hero to see what he's been up to.
Bjorn! How are you my friend?
Doing good. Just up here in Minnesota, in the woods.
Nice. Is that where your family has some land?
Yeah, my grandpa has some land right by my spot. That's where we do the Jib Farm and everything.
How many movie parts did you end up filming this year?
[Laughs] Well, I started off with the intention of just filming one with Rome. Then I ended up spending some time with Absinthe, but just got some friend shots. Then I ended up spending time with Brain Farm for "The Art of Flight" up in Jackson. I was pretty excited to have some shots in that, too.
You were part of the Forum 8, which pretty much made snowboard team movies legit. Is there a big difference in filming for a team movie versus with a movie production crew?
I think there is, because everyone has more of a vested interest in making a really solid production with the team movies. It's tough for me to say because I'm friends with everyone I film with. With team videos, though, everyone is down to help each other out, and it's not as much of a competition of who can do the best trick. It's a little more give and take.
Did you start snowboarding in Minnesota?
I started riding in Minnesota when I was about 11 or 12. I was into skating vert and my parents skied a bunch so I skied a little bit. We saw snowboarding in magazines so we would take our trucks and wheels off of our skateboards and tie shoelaces through the holes for bindings. Then I got a snowboard and my parents moved out to Utah and we started spending winters out there and the summers in Minnesota.
Don't take it for granted. Every time I'm out there I really enjoy it because I know how hard it is to work a construction job.
How was that change for you going from the Minnesota landfill hills to the big mountains of Utah?
It was definitely a shock but it just made me really appreciate it being from Minnesota and not really having anything to snowboard on. It just made me want to ride all the time because even the bad days were good for us.
Do you still spend your winters out in Salt Lake City?
Yeah, I'm out in Salt Lake from around Christmas until about June. Then I head back to Minnesota for six months.
When we were younger you had to move out west to be a pro, now the kids are staying in Minnesota, what do you think about that?
I think it's awesome. The urban movement, with snowboarding being accessible to everybody regardless of if they have a mountain or not, is great. I think it's cool they have made the most of their surroundings and haven't forgotten about their roots. Minneapolis is a great city. There's a rad snowboard community and good music and art -- it's just a really good place to live.
You can ride everything, though. Don't you think it takes something away if a snowboarder can only ride one thing?
I guess it just depends on what you're into. I like to ride it all. I don't really think it takes away anything. I mean, it's a little one-dimensional but it's just preference.
What's it like filming for a big-budget, super-high production film like "The Art of Flight"?
Well you're right on that -- the production quality is amazing. Usually you head out into the backcountry and it's a couple of riders, a filmer, and a photographer, and that's it. With those guys it's like a dozen people going out. There's the safety guy, three or four filmers, the producer Curt Morgan, and a sound guy. The difference is they're trying to get the back-story of everything that's going on from snowmobiling out, to building the jump, to riding it. It's pretty gnarly. It's cool to see that level of production.
You were at Superpark this year, which is usually for young guys trying to make a name for themselves by chucking their carcasses off things. Is pushing the limits still important for you?
Yeah, I think so. The sport has progressed really fast in the last five years, and I'm not really competitive, but I want to prove to myself that I can do a 1080 or double cork or whatever. I'm just stoked to keep progressing my snowboarding.
Any last words?
Don't take it for granted. Every time I'm out there I really enjoy it because I know how hard it is to work a construction job. So if you have an opportunity to shred enjoy it, drop the ego, and have fun with your friends.