Greg “G-Money” Barrow stands alongside vintage snowboards in his shop, Edge of the World. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

Greg “G-Money” Barrow stands alongside vintage snowboards in his shop, Edge of the World. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

G-Money: the man, the myth, the legend

Decked out in pink Vans and checkered socks, Greg “G-Money” Barrow exudes a quiet rebellion; a pioneer of snowboarding, decades of stories lay behind his fervid yet humble demeanour.

Inside his shop, Edge of the World, scattered among neon walls and electric guitars sits a museum of vintage snowboards dating back to the early 1980’s.

“Snowboarding’s always gonna have that rebel attitude,” said Barrow, an understated counter-culturalist who grew up enthralled by skateboarding and surfing.

“You still get snide remarks in the lift line; it’s kind of like you’re a second class citizen, and I like that aspect of it.”

It all began in 1981, when Barrow opened a whitewater rafting store in Banner Elk, North Carolina. That autumn, Dimitrije Milovich, founder of one of the first snowboarding companies, Winterstick Snowboards, visited his shop with a station wagon full of boards.

“I had never even heard of a snowboard before,” said Barrow. “When I saw the snowboards, I was like, ‘Wow, that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.’ But I didn’t buy one because I didn’t have any money.”

That winter, a revolution began to unfold on the slopes, when a group of local youth bought snowboards out of a surf magazine. While the resorts initially allowed the snowboarders to ride, the teens were soon banned from the mountain.

“They were just crazy,” said Barrow. “We got 15 year old kids just ripping up the slopes, scaring the skiers, and doing things they shouldn’t be doing.”

Though Barrow spent that winter bailing the boarders out of trouble, lurking within the shadows of that struggle was the grit of an uprising, and the birth of snowboarding.

“My daughter started talking to me about it,” said Barrow. “She goes, ‘Dad, snowboarding is the future. It’s the coolest thing ever, you need to get into snowboarding.”

With his children and staff begging for boards, Barrow visited a ski show in Las Vegas. Sitting outside were four men Barrow refers to as the inventors of snowboarding: the late Jake Burton, founder of Burton Snowboards, the late Tom Sims, founder of SIMS Snowboards, Chuck Barfoot, founder of Barfoot snowboards, and Milovich.

“They weren’t allowed in the show because the ski industry was trying to keep snowboarding from becoming popular, so they were all outside in the parking lot in their vans, selling snowboards.”

Barrow bought his first snowboard that day, and a few months later, his shop began selling Burton, SIMS and Barfoot boards.

“The first day I got on a snowboard was maybe the longest day of my life, but the second day it started to click, and at that point I was like, ‘There is no way anything is more fun than this.”

Snowboarding soon became more than just a sport for Barrow; it became a medium for self expression, for exploration, and for zesty disobedience.

“I love the rebel-ness of it. We would go to resorts that would not allow it, and sneak on just to get kicked off. We did that for years and years.”

A few years later, Barrow visited British Columbia on a snowboarding trip.

“I just fell in love with British Columbia; I loved the people, I loved the terrain, and at that point I said that at some point in my life I was going to live in B.C.”

Following recommendation from the late Craig Kelly, the ‘Godfather of Freeriding’, and Jason Ford, a professional Burton rider, Barrow booked another trip to Fernie in 1999.

“I got off the Whitepass chair and I hiked to Knot Chutes,” said Barrow, remembering his first time riding at Fernie Alpine Resort.

“I got up there, it was a beautiful day, and I looked around and I go, ‘Wow, this is it. This is it.’ I get chills thinking about it. ‘This is where I’m moving.”

A few laps later, Barrow met up with his wife in town, who reflected the same sentiments.

“So I called Burton from a payphone. I called Clark, who was the national sales manager, and I said, ‘Clark, I’m in Fernie B.C. Can I sell Burton in Fernie?’ He goes, ‘Yes,’ and I go, ‘Alright, I’m gonna do it.”

“I didn’t have a business. I didn’t have a location. I’m not Canadian. I don’t have anything… But I go, ‘Well I’m just going.’ So we packed up a U-Haul and headed to Fernie,” and the rest is history.

Despite location changes, citizenship issues, and a pandemic, Edge of the World is celebrating its twenty-first birthday this December.



reporter@thefreepress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Skiing and Snowboarding

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

Green spaces have offered many a sense of peace throughout the pandemic. (Photo Contributed)
Nature Conservancy of Canada matches all donations on Dec. 1

The initiative honours Giving Tuesday, an initiative created to combat Black Friday’s consumerism

Signs are posted at the entrance of newly deactivated roads. (Photo Contributed)
Teck hosts virtual Annual Outdoor Recreationalist Meeting

The Dec. 2 meeting will touch on biodiversity, reclamation, and road rehabilitation

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

File Photo
Missing hunter found dead in South Country

A hunter was reported as overdue on Nov. 29, and was found deceased on Nov. 30 following an RCMP and SAR operation

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read