Dropping In Out of the Spotlight
Snowboarder Joe Lax has been quietly leaving his mark all over the BC mountains for over 20 years with big lines following long climbs. Raised on the prairie of Saskatchewan, mountains weren’t exactly on the horizon.
If your dog ran away, you could watch her run away for a day. That’s the motto there.
But Lax went west after high school, settling on Whistler and the mountains around Pemberton. He’d tried snowboarding a few times, and it just seemed like the place to be.
“I showed up in the Pemberton Valley in 1998 and looking back on it now, I can’t see myself living anywhere else.”
The Whistler snowboard scene of the late ‘90s was big jumps, big money, and big parties, none of which particularly inspired Lax, who just wanted to free ride. And he saw endless objectives all around him—beautiful sprawling terrain going unridden.
“I didn’t really care what everybody else was doing, honestly. I saw the mountains and I knew I wanted to find a way to ride in the backcountry. Not to say I didn’t party, but I just was like, I don’t need to chase that. I’m more stoked to feel good and go snowboarding.”
And for the last 20 years, Joe and a few close friends have done just that. Early on they started mixing photography into their big days on the snow, and Lax earned a rep for crazy early wake-ups.
“There’s magic light that happens very early in the morning. Whether you’re there at sunrise or close to it—there is magic that’s happening. And yeah, why not try to be there for it?”
And there’s no end in sight. He’s got a family now that loves the mountains as much as he does, and every winter opens up new experiences in the familiar backcountry.