Name: Leon Butler
Hometown: Isle of Wight, UK
Currently Reside: Between Wanaka and Europe
Profession/Sport: Professional ski technician. Freeride and backcountry snowboarder. Whatever it takes.
Leon out doing what he does best. Photo courtesy of Penny Schröder-Smith.
Leon’s a guy that’s been chasing the endless winter for the past 8 years, so you can say with confidence that he’s all about that winter life. A strong love for freeriding and split boarding and as he puts it “I am happiest when billy goating up a mountain to find some solitude” which is cool in itself.
However Leon goes the extra mile by creating content along the way. “I think it's important to document your travels and I enjoy the storytelling side of things, both visual and written.” he says.
So lets get the know more about Leon, our latest member of the team!
Having learnt a little about what you are all about, is it fair to say you have a particular profession or???
Hmm, I don't have one profession as such... I tend to do what I need to do in order to live a certain life, this can include working as a sales rep for brands, media and content for publications or my main job of being a Ski Tech.....this industry is all about hustling to make a living! I have spent 11 years tuning and have built a good reputation, a job I really love doing and Its allowed me to work in Japan, France, New Zealand and Switzerland. There’s no way I would be able to afford this lifestyle without it.
I bet that presents it own challenges in itself? I mean not everybody approaches life this way… I guess that's something that presents its own challenges and definitely isn't a walk in the park, sacrifices are made, but worth making.
Other than that, a well tuned ski or snowboard is more difficult to do then you might realise.
Haha! There’s the profession part.. sort of. With such a wide variety of things you do, what has to be your favourite part of it all?
Getting to do what I want to do, and live to the fullest. The people I meet along the way play a big part too.
People are key! You certainly don’t sound like an “at home” hermit sort. Getting out and about on the regular you must have a few things you cant leave the house without??
Always leave with a Gerber multitool, you don't realise how useful that thing is until you haven't got it to hand. Also, Podcasts I pretty much can't do without now!
Can’t leave without clothes either, what’s your “go to” item?
My Optimus Fine - That thing is for all weathers and occasions, and so easy to chuck in a backpack. What I like about Opus Fresh is that premium quality vibe whilst staying true to their roots. I like the fact the designs let the material speak for itself. It all seems very natural. The Optimus Fine is definitely my go to.
Thanks man! So when it comes to living a life that involves doing what you can to do what you want to do (effectively) we have to ask. Any big goals or just go with the flow?
I try not to set one goal, but lots of little goals that are always challenging me. These do change depending on the opportunities that come up as it's important to stay open to new things. Trying to stay in line with just being in the mountains is a common theme though.
Chasing winters and being in the mountains is goals for many! Who are the sorts of people that help you achieve this?
I think anyone that looks for a life that isn’t in line with the 'norm' has a lot of help along the way. I'm no different and family have had to bail me out on the odd occasion. Also, the brands who continue to support me as they have helped me to find opportunities that I may not have found on my own.
You have spent the lockdown due to Covid up in the UK , has that impacted your pursuit of winter and if so, what are you plans for the next six-12 months?
Its been a weird one for everyone I think and I've definitely struggled with adjusting, mostly being unable to earn a living and most opportunities I've worked for being cancelled with no real outlook on what the future will hold. Europe has been hit hard and the economic repercussions will be huge, so its very hard to know what will happen in the next 12 months. Right now I am where I grew up on the Isle of Wight, which is kind of like a little bubble so I'm very lucky in that respect.
I'm mostly just trying to stay active through mountain biking, chase up an old passion for photography and taking online courses. You've got to find the balance and not put too much pressure on yourself to 'self improve'. I've seen a lot of people putting so much strain on themselves because they are not using this time 'wisely', and that's not good for your mental health. The best quote I have heard is "We are not all in the same boat, we are all in the same sea but everyone's boat is different"
After the summer my plan will be to head back to the European Alps hopefully, probably Austria or Switzerland....its a bit of a waiting game right now though.
Dude it sounds like you’re out there making the most of it, have loved seeing your content over the last few years and we’re stoked to have you on the team!
Where can people find out more about what you are up to?
Thanks Leon, we look forward to following your next adventures!