We caught up with SNOCRU Athlete, Owen Leeper, to talk about his move from Aspen to Jackson Hole, his favorite places to ski around the world, and his go-to shred playlist.
You might know Owen from his edit last year flipping a 85-foot cliff in Jackson Hole. He’s been skiing since his ski-bum parents started him at the ripe age of 4. Since then he’s skied all over the world and has posted up in Jackson Hole for the snow and terrain.
Owen is a down-to-earth pro who loves dropping cliffs and is sponsored by Discrete, Icelantic Skis, Spyder Active, BCA, Bolle Eyewear, Minus 33 and Swany.
We think you’ll like him.
Q: Was growing up in Aspen anything like Aspen Extreme?
A: Haha, well, I was born there, but we moved to Ouray for middle and high school. My family moved back to Aspen my senior year of high school. My parents did meet on the chairlift in Aspen. So I guess that’s kind of extreme.
Q: How did you end up in Jackson Hole?
A: After graduating from college in Boulder, CO I had two crappy winters in Aspen. I was bored with the terrain and the snow so I was looking for a new home. I took a road trip with friends through Utah, Wyoming and up into Canada.
Jackson Hole was the best weekend of the whole trip… The best weekend of the whole winter. I decided I wanted to move there one day and the next winter I ended up with a pass and a place to live. So I went.
Q: What do you love the most about living in Jackson?
A: The resort has the best inbounds and sidecountry terrain in the lower 48. We have access to huge peaks in the Tetons and it’s just as easy to take a sled out and ski as it is to ride the tram.
Plus, the snow has been amazing. This fall has been warm, but there are storm clouds rolling in right now. Looks like winter is finally here.
Q: If it was my first time in Jackson, where should I ski?
A: There is so much great terrain inbounds. There’s challenging terrain and cliffs all over the place. Corbet’s Couloir is something everyone goes there for. Check out Casper Bowl and the crags, not as many people get up there. But be careful, this terrain will chew you up.
Q: Rad, where should I go out for drinks if I survive?
A: Well it’s a small town and there’s only a few places to go. Definitely go to Local for burgers and head to the Cowboy Bar to sit on a saddle and some beers.
Q: You dropped an 85-foot cliff in Jackson last year, how did that feel?
A: Amazing. I’d been watching it all year. It’s one of the main cliffs you look at every day. One day we had a 35-inch storm and ended up with 5 feet of snow on the landing. I probed it and it was plenty deep.
With that much snow, it doesn’t even hurt when you land from that high!
Q: Do you wait for friends on powder days when you aren’t doing things that might kill you?
A: Most of what I do is outside the gates so I’m always skiing with someone these days—whether it’s for fun, safety or because someone needs to hold the camera.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about using SNOCRU?
A: Being able to track my days. I love knowing how much vert I covered, how fast I was going, and everything else SNOCRU tracks for me. It’s like having a Fitbit or smartwatch for skiing in my phone. It also makes it super easy to keep track of my friends.
Q: Do you have any trips planned for this ski season?
A: I’m working on the details to get to Japan in January. It’s been on my list forever. I also got a new sled and want to head to Revelstoke.
I love Italy and Switzerland, anywhere in Europe really… and if I could spend a winter over there I would.
Q: You put your business degree to work and started Bold Poles, how’d that happen?
A: My buddy and I talked about how we could be in the ski industry and do something that a hundred other people weren’t already doing. I always wanted bright neon ski poles and couldn’t find any.
So we started Bold Poles to give people custom neon ski poles. You can choose the shaft handle, strap, and basket colors. When an order comes in, I’m still putting them together in my living room and shipping them out myself.
Q: Any snow in Jackson yet?
A: There’s a front blowing in right now, but it’s been a warm Fall out west. Winter normally turns on around Halloween, but this November has been in the 60’s and sunny.
Q: Scary. What can skiers do to help push back against climate change?
A: Support POW (Protect Our Winters). They’re doing amazing things to get environmental changes through and supporting them makes a real difference.