I know people call my style aggressive, but how do I describe the way I ride? Whatever it is people like to call my approach, it comes naturally for me. It’s simply what feels good and is fun. In general, I think riding aggressive means not holding back much — going fast, laying into your turns, and using some muscle while doing it all. I use my muscle and weight to my advantage when I can, and I like to release some aggression while snowboarding. That is probably what people who watch me snowboard notice. I think individuals’ personalities can sometimes be reflected in there riding. I don’t think I’m an aggressive person, but I do believe elements of my personality are shown in the way I like to snowboard. That’s who I am, and therefore I’m proud that it shows.
Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of friends to snowboard with, but my uncles and dad loved to shred. So that’s just how it was for me. Follow them fast through trees and moguls. My friends and I really liked to skate around Vancouver when we were in high school. I was never very good at skating street or flip tricks and whatever. But I loved doing ollies off big sets, and when we got our asses to skateparks, pumping tranny — “aggro” style I guess. One of my main inspirations when I was younger was my best friend in high school, Mark. When I got old enough to do my own thing a bit more, him and I would make weekend warrior trips to Whistler together.
He had this little beat up ’84 BMW that he got for his 16th birthday. We would take it to the mountain and do whatever we could to stay up there: lie to our parents and say we were staying at friend’s cabins, but sleep in the car, skating the underground park with our gear hanging everywhere so it would dry before crashing for the night. It would get wet and shitty sometimes, so we would venture into hotel lobbies and snooze on the couches until we got kicked out. I have a ton of stories from that era, but it’s a whole other novel. Anyway, Mark liked riding fast and aggressive. Him and his cousin Pat Henry were my major influences from that era: Mark because of his sense of adventure; Pat because of his drive as a filmmaker and to get out there and chase your dream. Those two dudes made me see that I could form my own path and chase whatever the heck I wanted. I didn’t really have to listen to anyone but myself.
Anyway, I think this all led to me riding the way that I do today — a way that makes people often call me the “Canadian Travis Rice.” I tend to joke about it, saying that I am not him, we are different people, etc. We are different, but I am also flattered when people say that about me. I look up to him as a rider and as a person a lot. That dude is the man, and in so many more ways than snowboarding. He truly loves snowboarding, constantly pushes progression of it, and the direction its going in a good way. He shreds and handles life full throttle always, while making it look fun at the same time. I respect that, and I respect his drive and work ethic. Travis makes shit happen, and deserves everything he has. There are a handful of individuals I respect in this space, and Travis is one of them for sure.
As for going big? Or doing something “gnarly?” To be honest, I think everyone has there own version of what they think is “gnarly” or not — and that’s fine. I’ve done things that felt super mellow to me, and worked out just fine, while my peers are like: “what the fuck.” There has also been times where I am really scared, but my crew sees the scenario as not that gnarly. At the end of the day, though, it needs to be what you want to do. If it is mellow and you want to go, then go. If you are scared and still want to go, then go. Don’t even think about how your peers or crew sees it. Do it for you. That being said, make sure you know what you’re doing, or are at least confident with your decision.
In fact, in my opinion, you need to always be 90% sure before you go. You can never be 100%, because that’s usually when your guard gets let down. Don’t do something you think is a big maybe just to prove yourself or try to be a badass. It makes you look stupid, and you can get hurt easy. I’ve been there. Confidence is key. As long as you are confident with what your facing, its easier to push all those other negative voices and “what ifs” out of your head. When it comes down to it, theres risk involved no matter what. Knowing that is important as well. Risk is necessary. Thats what pushing human boundaries is all about, and thats how we progress as a species.
Most of my dumb and subsequently terrifying mistakes happened when I was younger — and usually were my own fault, because I wasn’t thinking. One time in the interior, we were doing warm up runs and I decided to drop into this line full speed without checking the snow. I laid into my first turn and the slough from it knocked me off my feet and dragged me downhill. I bounced off three or four trees and then got yanked off a little cliff. I should been way more damaged then I was. There are a few bad experiences I now know I could have handled differently to prevent them all.
Then there are the times when the situation may be even sketchier, but you have the confidence and conviction to pull it off — take two years ago when a crew and I were sledding back from trip in Braylorne, British Columbia. On the way back, we sled right past the infamous Hurley road gap. It was around noon, nearly bluebird, and to our surprise the landing had fresh snow on it. It seemed silly not to get up there and check it out. The season before, one of my best friends near crippled himself on this thing. I ended up session-ing the gap solo. In a weird way, I kinda felt like I was conquering it for him. Tons of people hit the Hurley, so it’s not like it was some great endeavor for me. I simply cab 5’ed it until I landed one, and got the heck outta there. For this particular feature, I will say it was the thought of my friend Beau that drove me to wanting to hit it. Most of the time, what drives me is simply this silent competition with myself to always be better and progress, but I knew why I was doing it, and was pushing myself in a capacity I was both comfortable and confident with.
And moving forward, I want to keep pushing my snowboarding for myself — it’s kind of what keeps me going. As long as that little inner contest with myself is still going on, I’m going to keep pushing boundaries. I don’t have a set plan on how I am going to do so. To be honest, this is what makes me the happiest, and I don’t want to change the way I do it. If I’m known for who I really am as a person, and secondly respected or looked up to for my snowboard accomplishments, then I’ll be more than grateful.