Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Who is the highest earning snowboarding athlete? Hint: It’s not Shaun White

In the recent Snowboarding Celebrities articles we’ve started to force the concept of a theme on them. This week we take a look at famous athletes that snowboard and we found out a few interesting things.

Very few athletes from any other sport have tried snowboarding. Quite sensibly this is due to snowboarding being a notoriously body shattering type pastime and as athletes pretty much rely on their bodies this would have a negative impact on their careers. Hence, most athletes not only choose not to pursue our sport, they also tend to have pretty hefty contracts that prevent them from doing it. This quickly narrows down the potential field of snowboarding athletes to…

  1. Athletes from sports that do not require physical effort, such as snooker or darts.
  2. Athletes who are so used to breaking their body that one more opportunity is no big deal.
  3. Athletes that are so good at their sport they can do whatever the hell they want and stick it to the man and their contracts.

Ultimately the resulting list was very short, I found two and they both fit in the last two categories. Unsurprisingly there are no recorded instances of anyone in the first category having a bash at snowboarding.
Not a snowboarder

The two athletes I found also happen to be very, very rich guys and it’s pretty interesting to compare their earnings against the top pro snowboarders. So here’s The Top 5 Highest Earning Snowboarding Athletes…

# 4&5 - Danny Kass and Travis Rice –$1million a year each (2008 earnings).
Kass (left of picture) is in the money, mainly through his sponsors and running his Grenade clothing company. Not sure if his recent run-in with the law in New Zealand will harm those earnings all that much. 
Rice (left of picture) is also in the $1 million range though his sponsors and the very nice ‘That’s It, That’s All’ movie from last season. 

# 3 - Shaun White - $9million a year (2008 earnings)
The flying ginger one is the highest paid pro snowboarder on the list by a big margin due to his hefty and generous list of sponsorships that stretch far outside the normal snowboarding companies, with the likes of Target and Hewlett-Packard and Wendy’s?

# 2 - Tony Hawk - $12million a year (2008 earnings)
So here’s your first non pro snowboarder, it’s the retired but still raking it in, ex-pro-skateboarder Tony Hawk who is Illicit's Snowboarding Celebrity No. 15. Hawk gets most of his money from putting his name on just about any product he can get near including the likes of Tony Hawks’ Snowboard Jacket, Tony Hawk’s Gummies Multivitamins and Tony Hawk’s Boom Boom HuckJam Deluxe Party Packs.

Now that he has pretty much retired he can have a crack at snowboarding. Here he is hanging out with Jake Burton (we’ll get to him in a bit) and some other crusty pros. 
Yet again Tony ruined the group photo with his customary 'The Startled Hawk' pose.
In the past he’s been quoted as saying, “I love snowboarding, but I would never want to do it competitively or at a professional level. Snowboarding is a spawn of skating, and skating is my passion.” And you know what, it looks like he has been a pretty decent snowboarder for some time. Check out this vid where he takes his skateboarding experience and throws it at a quarter pipe somewhere in Europe

# 1 - Valentino Rossi - $34million a year (2008 earnings)
Illicit's Snowboarding Celebrity No. 16 earns more than all the other snowboarding athletes combined and earning his way into a whole different rich list, Rossi has got himself a hefty salary and comes in as the 14th highest earning sportsman in the World. Having just won his 9th MotoGP Wold Championship, Valentino has taken time off to go snowboarding...
In fact he was finding time to go snowboarding even while he was winning those championships. Back in 2005 he caused a bit of a stir in Italy by playing a good old-fashioned bit of skier skittles. He was snowboarding in Madonna di Campiglo when he hit a 47 year-old accountant called Claudio Berté and broke the guy’s shoulder. Still Berté recovered and probably pocketed a tidy settlement that he wouldn’t have got if he’d been struck by any other snowboarder. 
Here he is hanging out with a crusty old Pavarotti. 

There are two other guys I didn’t count, that could have made it to the top of the list…
Tiger Woods - $128million a year. Perhaps now that that the World’s highest earning athlete has found himself temporarily without employment he should have a crack at snowboarding.
Boy was he a happy man back then

Jake Burton - $150million a year…maybe. Interestingly the richest snowboarder is probably Jake Burton. Despite not taking a salary last year as the owner of Burton he is a very wealthy guy. This guy estimates his yearly earnings to be $150 million a year (even if he didn’t claim his salary last year), but as Burton is a private company there is no way anyone really can tell how much Jake Burton brings in, which is why he doesn’t make the list.
smug shot

Related Articles…
That's it for this week. Why not try reading about a few more Snowboarding Celebrities while your at it.


  1. Hello,

    you forgot one guy from category 3.
    Kimi Räikkönen is Formula one world champion, filthy rich, and now drives rally and snowboards just for fun... Here are some links:



    He also likes to ride snowmobiles, and has been associated to the Finnish ski resorts Tahko and Himos in local yellow press.

    Nice blog by the way!

    Best regards from J-HOT

  2. Good spot. That's one hell of a outfit he's sporting.


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