Athlete Profile – Leif Zapf-Gilje
Name: Leif Zapf-Gilje
Sponsors: Atomic, Smith, Billabong, Jones Soda, Comor Sports
Hometown: Whistler, BC
Best Freeskiing competition result: 1st in Baker
Last season's best result: 3rd in Whistler
Coolest thing about snow: soft landings
Off the snow: trampoline gaps
On the mic: Bob Kitchen
Upside down or right side up: corked
Crotch-grabs or grabbing crotches: Nobody can style a crotch grab like James Bond at 60 ft.
Closest you've come to prison:
I was discussing with an officer whether it was really necessary to pepper spray my friend when he was already sitting in the back of the cop car when someone we'll just call pinevillage opened the door on the other side (breaking it) and both disappeared before the officer noticed. I was arrested for but not charged with, obstruction of justice. Finally, I was amicably released and had to drive on no sleep to Colorado with Blair.
So Leif, you had a huge streak of podium finishes last year, then… ?
The Chamonix Red Bull was cancelled because the snow sucked. I crashed in the Final of the Worlds in Tignes. And at the Alaska Red Bull my friend Todd took a really scary fall that I had to watch from the start gate. When I had to go next, my heart wasn't in it anymore.
You're infamous among competitors for laying down sick billy goat lines, do you think the judges share the stoke?
If you can billy goat fluidly then the judges should be amped. Some billy's, though, require stopping and the judges don't seem to like those lines these days. And they really don't like it when someone tries a billy that they shouldn't because that can be scary to watch.
When virtual-dream-skiing is invented, what kind of line would you hit?
One with a bit of everything in it. Windlips to perfect transitions, spines with Alaskan powder, a long tight dog lotion widening into a concave bowl, followed by steep spaced trees littered with log jibs and an A-star parked beside the hot springs at the bottom.
What plans do you have brewing for the rest of this year?
I want to stick around BC as much as possible this year. Big Mountain skiing is such a gamble with snow conditions and it seems to be good at home more than anywhere I go. That said I'll have some brief stints in Europe and Alaska.
Goals? To always keep learning.
Is that going to leave enough time for monoboarding?
I only pull out the mono when it's time to impress the ladies.
Any special sauce hidden up your sleeves for this winter?
How are those backwards landings treating you?
I'm sticking about three out of four in the pow these days. They're super fun. It looks like have an insane quiver of Atomic skis this year.
Do those guys have their acts together or what?
Yeah, They really listened to us for the new AFT line and I feel so lucky to finally have the skis I've always wanted.
And what's the deal with this Comor Team you started this year?
It's pretty cool. We have a team made up of a lot of the best skiers and boarders in Whistler. Some better known and some up and comers. We'll be coming out with a team video this fall and doing other events and parties together.
Give us a highlight real for the funniest thing you've seen on skis this year:
It was last year but as PY and I were riding the three man chair on Brevent, Chamonix we passed over a snowlerblader, in jeans and neon, sitting on a ledge halfway down a crazy bush/rock grind, that he'd obviously fallen down, calmly smoking a cigarette like a true Frenchman. When we passed over the spot on our next lap there were only his tracks, straightlining the rest of the grind and the bowl after.
Favourite doglotion: Underneath "After hours" on Blackcomb peak.
Last but not least, what's it like dating the snowphone girl?
Pretty rad. When it snows I get a wake up call in the morning.