RYLAND BELL professional snowboarder
photo: Jeff Hawe
I am twenty-nine years old and grew up in Alaska. I spent my summers commercial fishing with my parents out of a small town called Elfin Cove and my winters in Fairbanks. I now spend my winters in Lake Tahoe, CA and ride Squaw Valley, in the summer I still fish. I love snowboarding.
Growing up in Alaska taught me to love snow, to play hard outdoors, to be safe in the wilderness, and to work hard. And that is also all about snowboarding.
Winter comes to Fairbanks the first of October and we still find snow in the fjiords where I grew up fishing in Southeast Alaska into June. I can't think of a winter when I wasn't riding on sleds or skis or inner tubes or my snow boots, but when I strapped into my first snowboard at age 12 I knew I had found IT! Since then I've put in my time, 110 + days straight in ’07-’08 and ’08-‘09, I ride Squaw Valley in the winters, and Haines and Juneau in the spring.
Back in Fairbanks where my family spent our winters we hiked Cleary Summit and Ester Dome as often as we rode the areas, but one fall the owner at local Moose Mountain said we could build our own jumps. For two weeks as the snow readied to fall, my friends Morgan and Erik and I hauled hay bales and shaped kickers. By morning the moose would have eaten half our ramp and we'd start again. That was the early hard work I've put into boarding. Now the split board has opened a whole new world for hard work, hiking, climbing, winter camping and riding.
Summers I still work in Alaska out of a village called Elfin Cove, though now I captain my own boat. Repeated 20 hour days, hauling, cleaning, and icing salmon and halibut are grueling work. I learned early to look up from the grind whenever a humpback swims by, to watch the Peregrin falcons dive and the orcas breach, and the shape of the waves. I feel it is important to enjoy nature. It's like that when I put in that extra training run even though my quads are screaming or when I'm slogging behind Jeremy up another rise of the mountain even steeper than the last.
I am currently sponsored by: Jones snowboards, Patagonia, Anon, Now Bindings, Spark R&D, Aurora Projekt, Alaska Powder Descents, One Ball Jay,Candygrind and dedicatebrand.com.
I placed multiple podiums in The North Face Masters of snowboarding, the north american big mountain competitions between 2008-2013. In 2010 I took 3rd in the Freeride World Tour Tram FAce at Squaw VAlley, CA; and in 2013 I took 1st place in the Kirkwood, CA Freeride World Tour stop.
Putting smooth clean riding at high speed with tricks interlaced is what I am all about. I had a cameo in Standard's Films' movie, “Draw the Line”, in 2007, and film roles in two of Sweetgrass films ski movies, SOLITAIRE,and VALHALLA. In 2013 I joined Lucas Debari and crew to shoot in "GO Boarding". Some of my favorite and most challenging times in the mountains have been filming for Jeremy Jones' trilogy by TGR; the DEEPER, FURTHER, HIGHER