The Quintessential Alaskan Snowboarding Adventure

New Zealand snowboarder Jake Koia travels to Haines, Alaska, with long-time friend Roland Morley- Brown for the Red Bull Mates in Alaska series

Jake Koia and Roland Morley-Brown seen during Mates In Alaska in Haines, Alaska on March 31st, 2013 // Vaughan Brookfield/Red Bull Content Pool // P-20130506-00279 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to for further information. //
Jake Koia and Roland Morley-Brown seen during Mates In Alaska in Haines, Alaska on March 31st, 2013 // Vaughan Brookfield/Red Bull Content Pool

It’s easy for someone to loose direction when they do the same thing over and over again. Not Jake Koia. Raised in New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown, Jake is no stranger to the snow. He grew up snowboarding, even taking it as a subject at school. Jake’s progression to a professional snowboarder was almost predetermined.

After ten years of riding in back-to-back winters, Jake realised his enthusiasm for filming video-part after video-part was slowing losing its initial excitement. He needed to rediscover why he started snowboarding, rediscover his initial passion. When Jake stripped it all back he realised snowboarding for him, was all about riding with good friends. No cameras, no hucking off jumps, just hitting the snow and having some fun.

“I think the way the industry’s evolved hasn’t allowed me to follow my roots and come to Alaska with my old mates who I first started to snowboard with and just have fun. You don’t have to be running around stressing about filming a video part, just spending time with your friends” says Jake.

The concept of “Mates” was born. It started off with a few stickers but Jake fast turned his simple idea into a reality. It was time to get back to basics and go and ride with some mates. What better part of the world to rediscover the essence of snowboarding than Alaska? There is no limit to the terrain you can discover around Haines, which is home to eight mountain summits and peaks. The steep slopes provide a challenge to the best of riders.

“I’ve wanted to come out here for a long time. I think it’s the right time in my career. I want to ride the steepest mountains in the world with the longest runs and here, there are so many wherever you look. There’s just so much amazing terrain, awesome little fingers and features to pop off and so many spines everywhere” says Jake.

Mountain after mountain of untouched terrain challenge Jake Koia and long-time friend Roland Morley- Brown in the Red Bull Mates in Alaska five part series. When the first day of the mission is bluebird, the pair set off in a helicopter to find steep lines with the best features to ride. But after a few days out in the chopper they soon learn not everything goes to plan in Alaska.


  1. Absolutely stunning! I have always loved watching people snowboard. I tried it when I was about 19 or 20 and I could not figure it out for the life of me and gave up. I have a respect for people that not only snowboard, but do adventures like these. There is so much risk that must be involved but I can bet the reward makes it all the more worth it! How long do these kinds of trips usually last for? a few weeks or months? I am curious.

  2. This piece reminds me of when I do go for snowboarding trips with my friends as teenagers growing up in the middle of Alaska snows. Certainly no limit to the fun we do have with those boards. Most times I wish I could still pull those tricks once again and just plug in the fun, but old age and the risks involved scares me.

  3. This looks totally awesome! I absolutely love Alaska, and would love to do something like this – the only downside is that I am a terrible snowboarder and skier, so unless I improve a lot, I can’t see a trip like this in my near future. Looks like the weather was gorgeous for it too.


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