Alex Isley has ridden his board on snow for 100 consecutive months, but who’s counting?
Alex Isley has ridden his snowboard every month for more than 100 months. He ticked off that milestone in October 2022, and–for those who are bad at math–that’s eight years and three months of consecutive riding. Is your mind blown?
“There was zero goal of riding every month until I met this guy Ryan Halverson,” Isley revealed. The two worked together at Teton Gravity Research after Isley got fired from the Casper restaurant at the resort. Isley had given out a few too many fry surprises and free burritos. “Halverson was approaching riding ten years in a row and I was like, dude that is so sick, I wanna do that!”
Halverson eventually hung up his boots for the monthly riding quest, but Isley continued. He recruited friends to join him in the summer and fall.
“The winter months are easy, and the spring ones are super easy. Generally, July is also easy, but August and September are really bad, and you already know that going into it. This year and last year were insanely bad. It’s like snowboarding on rocks. You’re still on snow and ice, but you’re just dodging and weaving. It’s still super fun.”
“This is what I’m going to do for my whole life.”
Isley almost missed the month of September in 2020. He realized his peril on the afternoon of the 29th. So he quickly recruited another Jackson Hole local, Cam “Burt” Lang, for a night session. “I thought: There’s no one that’s going to want to do this. So I hit up Burt, and I was like, dude, I’m in this situation where I need to do this if I want to keep this thing alive, and we have to go snowboard up on a glacier tonight,” Isley says. “And he was like: I’m down.”
The duo reached the trailhead as it was getting dark and made it to the Cloudveil glacier just before midnight. “We sessioned the glacier, and it was a full moon. The whole glacier was just glowing,” he recounts. “It had rained a bit in the valley that day, so there was a perfect layer. You could just cruise; there were no rocks.”
Other months didn’t pan out exactly as planned. He tells a story about early on, when he dropped in going way too fast, lost his edge, and slid the length of a couloir. He hit a bump at the bottom and popped up right before he would have slid into a field of boulders. “That would have fucked me up,” he admits. “I learned a lot from that one.” Isley, Burt, and Joey Sackett set off on a mission this past July that started at the top of the tram and ended with the trio bushwacking for hours to get out to Wilson. They did find three sections of snow, and that was enough for a few turns to keep Isley’s consecutive run alive.
Where does the motivation come from for his quest? Isley got his first taste of snowboarding one night when he was seven years old, at a local park in TK, Indiana, after a fresh dusting of snow. “My parents bought me one of those plastic snowboards where you slide your feet in. I rode down this little dinker of a hill, two or three turns, but I was like holy shit—this is it. This is what I’m going to do for my whole life.” But riding in Indiana was lonely; his family and most of his friends didn’t go skiing.
“I didn’t get to Jackson until I was 23, so it was a long time coming to just finally be able to be in the mountains and be here. It’s such a treat. I’m going to ride every month, and I just love snowboarding.”
Lindsay Vallen loves winter. She’ll be slaying pow all season. Catch her if you can. @itsmelinds