You knew it was coming, here’s my journey from falling on my face on green runs to trying double cork 1080s and hitting 75 ft jumps… and some of the insanity in between.
1) Life is Boring
I was 18, in University, and on the path to finishing my commerce degree. I was bored out of my skull. It wasn’t that I sucked at Uni, but rather that I had zero interest in any classes I tried. I tried everything from History to French and E-Commerce.
All I knew was that I had no interest in anything I was learning and that there had to be more to life than this.
2) Finding Happiness
I found it. On a snow trip with my friend, I tried snowboarding. I’d snowboarded before, but that was more goofing off on high school excursions instead of snowboarding.
I don’t know what it was, but when I started learning to snowboard properly and tried getting air and failing horribly at 180s, everything seemed right. I’d found something that made me happy.
3) Insane Life Choices
So, I got back from the snow and for the next 2 weeks all I could think about was how happy I was snowboarding and and how uninteresting my classes were. In the end I pulled the trigger. I told my friends I was quitting Uni and going to snowboard.
I think the quote of that day was “Are you kidding? You’re going to end up broke and living on the streets.”.
I didn’t care. I knew I’d rather try and fail then spend the rest of my life wondering, so I called my parents and told them I was quitting Uni. They were surprisingly supportive after I explained that this is what I wanted to do with my life. My parents are totally sweet like that.
I didn’t know exactly what my future was but I thought that aiming to compete in slopestyle competitions was a good goal. I mentally put up a checklist of tricks to learn with a 1080 being at the end of that list.
4) Falling on my face
Thanks to my parents support I had enough money to get to Canada and book into a training camp. I figured getting my instructor’s license would be a good backup if I needed money.
Unfortunately, I found that snowboarding in 30cm of fresh Whistler powder as a beginner is quite hard. I had 2 days of previous snowboarding experience and I don’t think I made it down one run without falling on my face multiple times.
I didn’t care. This was fun, exciting and I was happy. I rode every day that I could and by 3 months I had backside 360s on lock down and had passed my instructor’s test.
5) Epic Fail. ACL Surgery Sucks.
Life was great. I was focusing on freestyle training and had just started hitting the bigger Whistler jumps in the expert park. That is, until I came up short on a 40 foot jump and dislocated my knee.
2 meniscus tears and a completely torn ACL with bone bruising was the damage.
As weird as it was, I was still happy. I felt that injury was just something most snowboarders deal with and at least I was injured doing something I loved.
6) Recovery and Bouncing Back
It took 1 year of rehab before my knee felt normal-ish and another 6 months and a season in New Zealand before I felt confident in hitting jumps again. I’m not going to lie, hitting a big jump for the first time post surgery was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. Getting past that mental block is hard.
I like to look at my injury as a good thing. I never went to the gym before my injury but now I take much better care of myself. I go to the gym 3 times a week and I’m a lot more confident knowing that failure isn’t the end of the world.
7) It Ain’t Over Until It’s Over
I’ve spent another few seasons since then, bouncing between Whistler Blackcomb in Canada and Snow Park in NZ.
Every day I made a little progress and eventually I realised that a snowboarders mental checklist never ends. When you land 540s you’re already thinking about 720s. When you land 1080s, you’re already thinking about double cork 1080s.
That’s the beauty of it. It never ends and you’re always finding something that gets you excited. Whether it’s trying double cork 1080s, hitting your first park jump or shredding powder with your friends, it’s the same feeling.