150a: Ed Leigh/Third

Ed Leigh photographed in quarantine, March 2021. Photo: Tozer

Welcome to the first of two episode 150 instalments. To mark this milestone, I decided to stay true to the ethos of the Looking Sideways podcast and speak to two of my oldest and closest friends; two people who’ve been integral to the Looking Sideways universe since it launched – Ed Leigh and Owen Tozer.

This, episode 150a, is the first instalment with Ed Leigh. Ed, as you may know, is a broadcaster, journalist and presenter best known for helming legendary BBC show Ski Sunday, and for being the voice of snowboarding at the Olympics. He’s also been a stalwart of the European industry for over twenty years now.

Ed is also one of my oldest and closest friends, as well as somebody I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years. He was my guest for the very first episode of the podcast back in January 2017. I also brought him back for episode 50 a few years ago, and he’s generally been a huge supporter of and advocate for the show since day one. So it seemed fitting to bring him back for a third appearance, which we recorded at the end of February 2021.

Photo: Tozer

On this occasion we had a lot to chat about – the serious knee injury he suffered in January that looks set to keep him out for action for the rest of the year, his experiences presenting the latest series of Ski Sunday during a pandemic, the vociferous online reaction to a recent Ski Sunday piece on diversity presented by our mutual pal Phil Young, his time in NZ quarantine which is where he was when we chatted, his thoughts on Natural Selection and much, much more.

As ever with Ed, this was a supremely relaxed, lengthy chat, full of digressions and tall tales from one of the European industry’s most beloved communicators. I really cherish my friendship with Ed, and I’m so proud of what he’s achieved over the years. This was, as ever, an absolute blast. Enjoy!

Listen to the episode below:

Connect with Ed

Show Notes

  • Quarantine hotel
  • Taking it in your stride
  • COVID, and the worldwide controlled experiment
  • The logistics of Ski Sunday
  • The knee injury
  • Re-locating the kneecap
  • ‘…You owe everything to the ski patrollers…’
  • The rebuild
  • Finishing Ski Sunday with a broken knee
  • Alex Leigh’s injuries
  • Ed’s grandfather Alf
  • The Victorian electric shock machine
  • A positive mental attitude
  • Heart rate and the flow state
  • Rise of Superman and mental progression in athletes
  • Flow state, ADHD and ADD
  • Ectopic Heartbeat
  • ‘…if you want to dance, you’ve got to pay the band…’
  • Nurturing friendships
  • Meditation
  • The Three Marriages
  • Yoga
  • The visibility of the public face
  • Phil Young’s diversity piece
  • ‘…We’ve forgotten how to apologise…’
  • Speaking because you can.
  • Expecting the reaction to Phil’s piece
  • Deciding how to respond to negative comments
  • Trying to understand why people might be offended
  • Refusing to accept the history of the UK
  • The response to Selema’s comment on post segregation outdoor recreation
  • Conservative rural areas and historical trauma linked to public parks and outdoor spaces
  • ‘May you live in interesting times’
  • Going straight to seasons after school, sailing in summer and snowboarding in winter
  • ‘…money destroys people…’
  • Struggling through two summers on super yachts
  • The importance of starting at Whitelines and deciding not to chase money
  • Ski Sunday viewership and ‘audience appreciation’
  • Drone piloting at Natural Selection and the Freeride World Tour
  • Freeride World Tour venues
  • Marion Haerty and the Natural Selection judging
  • Diversity in financing for backcountry filming parts between men and women
  • Artistry, adversity and what’s needed to ensure an action sport thrives
  • The importance of culture around sports
  • Fears that the culture was dying ‘…for a long time I thought that the Olympics was killing it…’
  • The fate of hotdog skiing
  • The worrying Olympic trend of strangling culture out of the sports it brings in
  • The perfect Sunday
  • Watching Looking Sideways evolve

Names Mentioned

  • Vernon Deck
  • Chris ‘Zoid’ Kirkham
  • Graham Bell
  • Dougie Crawford
  • Chemmy Alcott
  • Sian Leigh
  • Elliot Neave
  • Ben Kingsley
  • Jenifer Connolly
  • Alex Leigh
  • Alf Neil
  • Will Hughes
  • Zeb Powell
  • Travis Rice
  • Tassilo ‘Taz’ Hager
  • Christian Stevenson
  • Sam Harris
  • Joel Muzzey
  • David White
  • Jason Crandell
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Phil Young
  • Boris Johnson
  • John Nicholson
  • Seth McFarland
  • Dr Corinne Fowler
  • Selema Masekela
  • Johannes Gutenberg
  • Steve Jobs
  • Sophie Cartz
  • Richard Henry Biffa
  • Jamie Anderson
  • Mia Brookes
  • Marion Haerty
  • Victor de Le Rue
  • Nils Mindnich
  • Mikkel Bang
  • Pat Moore
  • Chris Rasman
  • John Beasley
  • Bode Miller
  • Lozza
  • Anna Thompson
  • Lloyd Wallace
  • Richie Spider
  • Jim Davidson

Places Mentioned

  • Telford
  • New Zealand
  • Hamilton
  • Auckland
  • Verbier
  • Brazil
  • USA
  • Taiwan
  • Korea
  • Europe
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Germany
  • Lax
  • Switzerland
  • Salford
  • Manchester
  • Zermatt
  • Greece
  • Crete
  • Wanaka
  • Angola
  • Val d’Isère
  • Antibes
  • Kicking Horse
  • Hokkaido
  • Verbier
  • Fieberbrunn
  • La Daile

Companies/Brands/Organisations Mentioned

  • BBC Ski Sunday
  • X Games
  • Curator Mag
  • The Waking Up Podcast
  • Glo
  • Linked in
  • National Trust
  • Twitter
  • BBC
  • Facebook
  • The Economist
  • Herbalife
  • Whitelines Snowboarding Mag
  • Eurosport
  • Match of the Day
  • Sky
  • Freeride World Tour
  • Natural Selection Tour
  • ISPO

Books and Music Mentioned