Learning how to snowboard was hard, like I mean really hard. Not only was it physically challenging in a way I had never known, but it was such a mental game that by the end of my first day I felt cold, sore, and defeated as I cried in frustration. Despite a hard first day on the hill, no less than two weeks later I had purchased myself a brand new setup. I had literally gone snowboarding once, what the h*ll was I thinking? Either I hit my head too many times on the first day, or despite my bruised tailbone and knees, I had found a sport that I truly loved.
As a child I tried almost every sport known to man from golf all the way to high school rugby, but none of these sports really made me happy. Going to practice was a chore, I constantly found myself being bullied by teammates because I did not share their extreme love for the sport, and most of all I found that relying on others for your success was an utter disappointment. Team sports were definitely not my thing, but growing up on a farm allowed me to focus on snowmobiling with my family. My parents no longer skied, due to my dad spiral fracturing his femur and my mom no longer having a skiing partner to go with. So growing up this ski/snowboard life was basically nonexistent to me, this wonderful world that I have become completely and utterly obsessed with did not exist. After years of my uncles and cousins offering to teach me how to snowboard, which never h himself to teach me how to snowboard. And so my snowboard journey began.
Well, my first day was brutal. I had fallen more times then I could count in my head, my tailbone hurt so bad that sitting on the padded chairlift had me flinching in pain, my knees were black and mentally I had given up halfway through the day. I was so scared to advance on more difficult runs, the snow was hard and crusty. I had almost no control over my board other than barely knowing how to stop, which 9 times out of 10 meant me sitting down as hard and as fast as I could. But this one run, where I had actually by definition, snowboarded for more than five seconds happened, and in that moment I forgot the pain, and I forgot the frustration. Well until I had fallen in a heap of flailing limbs at the bottom of the run. Something clicked in that moment, and to this day I can’t describe it but it just worked, it just felt right. This sounds cheesy but it felt like me. I went home sore, defeated and in tears, but for some odd reason I wanted more and got myself the latest and greatest snowboard gear.
My first year of snowboarding was hard, if you couldn’t tell, but for most people it is. It is not something that is easy to pick up on, well it wasn’t for me anyway. As the years passed my passion for this sport grew, and so did my skill levels as I pushed myself harder and harder every single time I strapped into my board. My 20 day trips in my first year turned into 30 in my second year, and then 40 day trips in my third year of boarding. Needless to say this sport was my sh*t. I immersed myself in the culture and the lifestyle of the ski/snowboard bum, especially when I started working at Sundance in September of 2016.
As you can imagine working with a bunch of epic people who have an insane passion for the same thing you do tends to inspire you. Not only did I join the Sundance Crew in 2016, but in April of 2017 my application to be an ambassador for SheShreds.co, a sports company that focused on encouraging girls to pursue and excel in their sorts, had been accepted. This amazing community of inspiring girls on top of the Sundance crew motivated me to go bigger and harder than I ever had. But with going bigger and harder unfortunately comes injury.
Though I didn’t really start pushing myself until my third year of boarding, I had my fair share of injuries such as concussions, dislocated shoulders, and an almost completely torn calf muscle (and these are only the injuries from my second year). At the beginning of the 2016/17 season I aggravated an old knee injury leaving me riding in a knee brace, still to this day, and on the final day of the season, I bruised 4 of my ribs in front of hundreds of people at Sunshine Village’s Slush Cup.
Looking at back at my progress through these 3 now going on 4, short years of snowboarding, I have come a long way. Learning how to turn, stop and not kill others in my first year, nailing my first jump and riding backcountry terrain in my 2nd year, and landing my first ever grab and stomping the landing on a 5ft drop in my 3rd year. Not only did my skill progress, but my mindset changed and so did my outlook on life. Being in the mountains and having such a personal and intimate experience really makes you appreciate the little things in life.
Although I have come a long way in my short journey, I still have so much more to learn and experience with this amazing sport. I will never be done learning and I have accepted that fact, growth is what matters in this sport and it makes you the rider you are. Shred on.