This story appeared in the September issue.
Leigh Powis will only have skiing his way. The self-tattooing, self-proclaimed “brat” started skiing at 16 after his parents moved from England to Whistler so they could develop a spa. Powis, 23, is a wild, tranny-driven skier whose style is more reminiscent of snowboarder Lucas Magoon than anyone who actually skis. Featured in Poor Boyz Productions’ 2012 release, We, Powis is skiing’s latest antihero.
I think the ski industry lacks so much personality. That’s the weird thing. Everyone’s trying to be so professional. But even in other sports, where they have to be professional because they’re making millions of dollars, they still have a personality and that’s likeable. I used to love soccer when I lived in England and lots of players when they’re interviewed, their personality still comes through.
We’ll have lots of ping-pong parties at the house and Mum is so hilarious. The other week, we were all really drunk and stapling our arms. You open up the staple and slam it on your arm. You can staple stuff to it—it’s really funny. This one kid wouldn’t do it, and I said, “Mum, you gotta do it. He won’t do it!” And she just stapled her arm. And then he had to do it.
I’m not really into the features that are gnarly to even roll up to. I like something that looks mellow that you can make look hard, and stuff that kids can relate to. It doesn’t have to be the stuff you can die on. If you go to premieres, the kids cheer for the pussiest stuff. It makes me wish I never tried the crazy stuff.
I used to be a bit of a dick to people. I get a bit wild sometimes. I’m weak when it comes to injuries or breakups with girlfriends.
Kids who like me, they think I wear big tall Tees in real life and talk like a gangster or something. I think it’s so funny, because skiing and snowboarding are probably the least gangster things to do. It’s just like dress up, like I’m going to work and I get to go acting or something. It’s so fun—it’s just dress up to me, but no one knows that.
A hedgehog is like a rat that’s really spiky. I have two. They’re nocturnal—they’re kind of on my schedule. They get super grumpy, though, because they always want to sleep. It’s really gnarly to feed them. They take all the mealworms in their cage and, in the middle of the night, you can just hear them chewing through the crunchy outside.
There are lots of people in the ski industry who are old and kind of stick with what they know, which is not very much. I feel like in the past, you could get by in skiing not really knowing anything. You could have a point-and-shoot and just get by because it’s the ski industry. But you should set your hopes and standards a bit higher because you could make something so sick.
I love Charley Ager—I think he’s the sickest guy who doesn’t get any respect, and it grosses me out. Skiing went to a place where everyone thought that style meant you had to be perfect. But perfection is so lame and boring. I don’t like flailing. I like showing that you have control. But I like natural arm movements, not a robot. He was the first person who never cared—he would never try to land with his hands in his pockets or anything.
That’s all I ever really go for—to be unique and different. It’d be really depressing to be the same as everyone else, and I’d have to quit. I’m not necessarily going for the highest skill level—just the craziest mind. I want to try and win the award for the craziest and stupidest mind.
My girlfriend, who I gave a few tattoos to, her parents were always like, “You’re going to regret those when you’re older.” But it’s like, you’re going to regret every part of your wrinkly-ass body when you’re older. You’re not just going to regret that tattoo on your side. You’re going to regret the big, hanging belly and your big, saggy boobs.
I got the chance to work with [Poor Boyz filmer] Pete Alport this year, and I really liked working with him, because he’s out there and he likes to fight. I like people who don’t mind stepping on toes or having an opinion. He’ll speak his mind and get in arguments if he doesn’t agree, and I work well with that.