Leanne Pelosi is kind of like Martha Stewart: a crafty homemaker of sorts and I wouldn’t be surprised if she spent time in jail someday. She came up strong dominating the contest scene with fiery rail tricks and since has been consistently producing video parts, now with the likes of the Standard crew. It’s safe to say that Leanne is here to stay and her impact on snowboarding will last long after she steps away from the limelight. She sat down to let us know some of her thoughts about filming, bitchy girls, pooping, getting cut by companies and keeping the dream alive well into your 30’s.
How was your winter? Is your part in Standard going to rule this year?
My winter was OK, I am recovering from a torn LCL. I will have some stuff that I’m psyched on. I think it’ll probably be a girls segment again, I’m guessing.
What was it like going from running an all-girls film crew to joining the Standard crew?
It’s definitely different. When I ran Runway with Jeff it was awesome because we could create our own opportunities for our own crew whenever we wanted. So, I think we gave the girls a lot of opportunity. We had a filmer at our beck and call. On the negative side, girls can get bitchy. And it can be a shit show being in charge. I remember a few instances where I had to be a mediator during some arguments.
What was the argument over?
It was between a rider and a filmer. The rider was telling the filmer where to film from.
Which one was being (more of) a pre-Madonna?
Neither of them was being professional. The rider that had the problem should not have yelled at him in front of everyone.
How did you balance being everyone’s “bro” and being the boss?
It’s such a small industry so you want to be as professional as you can with every relationship. You can burn bridges really fast and through my experience I’ve had a lot of up and downs and dealt with some unprofessional relationships- and that sucks. It’s not the way I want to do business.
Are there ups and downs to filming with a male-dominated crew such as Standard?
My first year I was the only girl, so getting onto crews within Standard was hard. They only let me go on the rail missions, which was frustrating trying to weasel my way onto a crew. I thought, my sponsors hooked it up, I’m going to have a crew, but it wasn’t like that. After that season more girls got involved, we shared a filmer. That was awesome.
Any good trips this year?
I went on one trip to Tahoe with Kevin Jones, Mathew Crepel, Ryan Tiene and Mike Hatchet- it was awesome. Mike Hatchet has so much experience. He knows exactly what aspect will be good at one time of the day. Experience is so important. You watch people like Kevin Jones ride and you say, “Ok, that looks so easy”. He just makes it look so easy.
Is it nice to be able to focus on a video part without having to perform at contests to satisfy sponsors?
I think there are a lot of girls that are doing really well with filming. It’s cool to see that the film riders and the contests riders have kind of split off finally. It’s gotten more competitive so, you can’t really do both. Or at least it is very difficult to get medals around your neck and a full video part with the level of riding now. Standard and Absinthe are starting to realize that there is a women’s market and people want to see women riding.
Do you have any nicknames?
P Lo, Party Poopers, Poopalotskis, Party Pelosi.
Poopalotskis? Tell me about the Poop Chute.
Oh my god. This is probably my favorite story from snowboarding. I was on a heli trip in Alaska with Kimmy (Fisani) and Hana (Beaman). We had all picked out the first lines we were going to do for the trip and I got dropped off first because the heli couldn’t land on my line. I didn’t actually study the line before I went up. Kimmy and Hana got dropped off in another zone with the guide. I was alone and dropped off on a line I wasn’t supposed to be on, without a guide. So the guide drew a line in the snow and told me not to cross it and said “Do no move from here, you will die”. So I didn’t move one inch and when I was alone I started feeling sick to my stomach. So, I basically went number two on the top of my line. That sucked. I had such a small space to work with.
Did you have tp on you?
Haha. How was ride out?
It was the best experience. I was so stoked. When I got to the bottom, I told them what happened and they laughed their asses off. Then our filmer told us the line I just did, was previously done by Xavier (Delerue), and he took a giant shit on top of it. We all burst out into tears with laughter, and from then on it was called ‘Poop Chute’.
Who is your favorite girl snowboarder of all time?
I love Robin (Van Gyn)… as a person. My favorite snowboarder of all would have to be Tara Dakides.
Do you think it’s unfair that she can’t get support from companies, considering she is still so good?
It’s really sad to see a legend like Tara not get the respect she deserves. She pretty much put snowboarding on the map for women and I have a huge respect for her. I used to watch her video parts over and over again and even now her video part from back in the day could be ender in any of the girls videos now. The snowboard industry just wants the next best thing all the time, and that’s cool, but don’t give up your heritage. She’s still killing it. I feel like the snowboard industry holds onto the guys longer, like Peter Line, Terje, and Jamie Lynn. For women’s snowboarding Tara fits into that category. So why doesn’t she have any sponsors? If I was someone at a company I would give her the opportunity to film. She wants to film with Standard and if she could she would probably destroy it.
Why do you think girls, for the most part, don’t get put on “legends” programs?
I’m not exactly sure. I think it comes down to money. But, I think the point of having athletes on a brand is to legitimize the brand. I think there is a market for the girl’s side of the sport, even though the guys piece of the pie is much larger.
It’s just an excuse, I hate hearing that I’m a girl and I don’t sell product. That’s why there are these all-girls initiatives like Peepshow and Runway. We have to create our own opportunities because no one else is giving us the chance
You switched outerwear sponsors at the end of last year. Was it a smooth transition from a mainstream brand to a smaller rider owned company?
The first trip I did this winter was to Bald Face with Travis Parker and Jesse. All we did for the fist three days was ride powder and didn’t take the cameras out once. We just had a really good time- it gave me a good idea of what Airblaster is about. I just wanted to be on a crew that I was stoked on and was stoked on me.
We stole these shots off the Airblaster Airbabes blog. The least you could do is check it out.
Was it hard to break ties with a company you had such a long history with?
Unfortunately, there was a personal issue there. In the end, the money didn’t matter. There was nothing I could do to please this person at the company, so I was not stoked to be there. They mentioned that the brand image of the company was changing and I didn’t fit the new image. When I asked what that new image was, they were unable to explain it.
Ouch. That must have been a tough pill to swallow.
Yeah it was definitely one of the hardest. There is something to be said about loyalty in this industry. And, feeling like a rider that has a lot of loyalty you kind of get a slap in the face.
Is there loyalty in this industry?
Well after the way that relationship ended I wasn’t so sure. It’s a business at the end of the day and you have to remember that. And everybody is out there to make money. I was really bummed out for a while, but after a while I realized I didn’t want to ride for a company that didn’t want my input.
Do you think it’s because in the eyes of the industry you are getting “old”?
I think it’s all about the magic number 30. As soon as a rider hits 30 companies are like, “So… how long are you going to snowboard for?” regardless of if you are delivering riding-wise.
How old are you?
Haha. How much longer will you snowboard for?
K2, Dragon, Dakine, Airblaster, Whistler Blackcomb.
Follow all of Leanne’s shenanigans at http://leannepelosi.tumblr.com/