Born on February 19, 1977, in Chur, Switzerland, Gian SIMMEN was the first ever Olympic Snowboard Halfpipe gold medalist. He spent his childhood in the Davos and Arosa (Swiss Alps), and in 1989 he discovered skateboarding and snowboarding. One year later he participated in his first halfpipe competition. Gian won the Swiss national halfpipe championships in 1996.
Gian became a professional athlete at 19 years of age. In 1998, his first year as a pro, he placed 2nd at the World Cup, and 3rd at the European Snowboarding Championships. His career reached new heights in at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, where he won a gold medal. He continued to demonstrate his prowess, winning gold medals at the ISF World Championships in 2001 and 2002. In addition, he finished both seasons with the world title in hand. After an incredible 17 years as a professional snowboarder, Gian decided to retire in Davos.
The Swiss snowboarder now provides his snowboarding expertise to the television channel, SRF, as a host, winter sports expert, and announcer. Gian has a degree in marketing, and is a certified coach for Swiss Olympic, the number two training center for coaches in Switzerland. In addition, Gian supports the Laureus Foundation Switzerland. Through his commitment and involvement with the foundation, he helps to shape, through sports, a better future for children and adolescents.
World Snowboard Day is proud to have Gian SIMMEN as one of our ambassadors for this 10th edition!
Rob KINGWILL is a pro snowboarder from Jackson Hole, WY. His nickname is KINGER. His sponsors include: Burton Snowboards, LLBean, AVALON7, Smith, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, GoPro, Pro Standard, Bluebird Wax and the WYPY.
As a pro-snowboarder, Rob has been a very successful halfpipe competitor, winning the US Open in 1998, as well as several World Cups and Grand Prixs. He has podiumed at the Xgames, Gravity Games, World Championships, Mt Baker Banked Slalom, Vans Cup, Grand Prix, and US Open, and was on the US Snowboard team for 8 years.
Rob is now a full time freerider and big mountain competitor. He has found success in that direction as well, winning the North Face Masters in Aleyeska, AK and coming second at the King of the Hill in Valdez, AK.
Off the snow, Rob founded AVALON7, an adventure accessories brand rooted in Adventure, Optimism and the Art of Continual Improvement. AVALON7 specializes in face shields for snowboarding. He is the owner/ operator as well as the principle artist. In addition, he is the founder of the nonprofit The Futurepositiv Project, which focuses on activating youth in the outdoors through snowboarding. www.avalon7.co www.futurepositiv.org
Rob has also coached at summer snowboard camps for over 20 years, including as head snowboard coach at the Camp of Champions in Whistler, BC.
A Ji Lin city native now living in Beijing, WANG Lei gained a great deal of popularity during his professional sports career, and has continued to snowboard at a high level through his incredible talent, skill, and dedication. He is a compassionate and dependable person with a quick wit, giving and earning the respect of everyone he encounters.
WANG Lei embraces the pure spirit and style that typifies dedicated snowboarders around the world. After retiring from competition, WANG Lei’s travels extensively in China and abroad. Through his experience, talent, network, passion for extreme sports, and vision, WANG Lei is dedicated to the advancement of snowboarding in China.
He continues to work hard by connecting relevant and visionary brands with the local market, representing leading global industry brands and homegrown Chinese boardsports companies in their effort to reach to a growing Chinese winter sports community.
His popularity with the press ensures frequent coverage of snowboarding in various well-known media.
WANG Lei is a member of the POW Riders Alliance (http://protectourwinters.org/riders-alliance) and serves as the president of CSbA (instagram @chinasnowboardassociation). Since 2009, he is the patron of World Snowboard Day in Asia, and supports growing the in China, Korea, and Japan.