Introduction

Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Andrew Matthews and I'm a snowboarder athlete from Yellowknife, NWT. I decided to start this blog to keep my friends, family, fans and sponsors up to date about my life as a full time snowboarder. I will be posting about my travels, competitions, training and random awesome things that I come across. Enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday.

As for an update of what I've been up to, the last month of 2009 has been... epic? Yeah, epic pretty much sums it up - see also: legendary, grand, monumental. My coach and I decided that since the conditions are so good in Whistler, it made more sense to stay in Whistler to train rather than go to Colorado for the pipe camp/contest. Again this year, I'm focusing a lot more on my athletic/riding development than on competition results so this just seemed like the best thing to do. We have a really good program going this year, in addition to tons of on snow training, video review and photo shoots, we also have trampoline 2 nights/week and dryland with Eric Soucy one night/week.

Core training with Eric

Backflips all around! Ettore going large
Me laying one out
Louise helping Grame learn a backflip

The snow finally stopped around the start of the month and was replaced by some cold but sunny days. I've had some great days in the Black Park. I've got most of my tricks back that I was doing last year and a few new ones to add to my repertoire. I've been working with Rob on really dialing in my tricks this year. I'm trying different grabs and spins to try to stand out from the pack of talented riders that I compete against.

One of the riders in my club recently bought a new digital camera that takes really good slow motion video and we were playing around with that the other day. Check out the video edit below.

video

It's snowing like mad in Whistler again which made it tough to come home for the holidays. I had to change my flight to squeeze a few extra days in while the snow was awesome. As for now, I'm back home and enjoying the comforts of being home, seeing all my friends and nursing a frostbitten toe from last night's snowboarding session. I guess I'm not used to snowboarding at -20 anymore. I'm looking forward to snowboarding at some of the spots I grew up riding while I'm back so I better get used to the cold pretty quick.

Best wishes over the holidays,

Andrew

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Climate Change Action Now

In a winter sport like snowboarding, I am especially concerned about the impacts that are already being seen from climate change. A report by the United Nations warned that downhill skiing could dissapear from resorts as early as 2030 (source: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Climate_Change/Projects/PlayItCool/play_it_cool_why.asp). The most recent scientific studies outline that the world needs to reduce our greenhouse gas emmisions by 40% below 1990 levels by the year 2020 and the global peak of greenhouse gas emissions needs to occur by 2015 in order to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change. We need action now.

The largest and most important conference (on climate change) to date will be starting on Monday. The United Nations Climate Change Conference starts on December 7th and goes until December 18th. This is a chance for world leaders to make an agreement to reduce emission and provide aid to developing countries. For more information about the conference, see the official website here.

Canada is stalling to commit to anything in line with current scientific targets. In past conferences, we have had a negative impact on moving forward with climate change action. Now we have the chance to make up for that. I have already sent a letter expressing my concern to Prime Minister Harper (along with Mr. Jim Prentice, the Environmental Minister, as well as others).  It is very easy to let the Prime Minister know that you care about the future of the environment and Canada's roll as a world leader in these issues. To sign and send a letter to the Prime Minister, follow this link to the David Suzuki Foundation site. It's easy!

Here's the first part of The Age Of Stupid. It's a pretty intense documentary that I saw at an event put on by Ecology North while I was back in Yellowknife. If you have time, I would recommend checking it out.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Record Snowfall!

Record snowfalls in November has made this a month to remember!  I've had more powder days this season, in November, than I did during all of last season. There is already a snow base of 189 cm. Can you tell that I'm happy?! The riding has been SO sweet! Last night at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, I was trying to explain to Thomsen how it feels to ride powder. It's one of the best feelings in the world; floating over the snow, flying off pillow lines, snow spraying into your face. It makes all the time I spent doing physio and dry-land training for the season worth while without a doubt.

For the first couple of weeks that the mountain was open, the only way to get up was via the Whistler gondola. This (and 50+ cm snowfalls overnight) made for HUGE lines on several occasions. Check out the the photo below and imagine about 5 times that big, basically if you weren't there an hour before the lifts were supposed to open, you were anxiously waiting in this overwhelming line for a while. Once we got up the mountain, it was well worth the wait. In a word: epic.


Brendan: waiste + deep in snow and loving it!

I've spent the past few weeks transitioning from fall dry-land training to full on winter on snow training. I've been working on my freeride skills, which REALLY help overall riding. It's going well, I'm feeling a lot more confident riding natural terrain. We've been doing some hikes in search of deeper, untouched powder. One particular hike, my Italian roommate/teammate Ettore and I did a mission from the Gondola to the top of Whistler: a solid 1.5 hour trek. Needless to say, we were stoked when we got to the top and rode the fresh powder. The pictures are below.


Halfway point on hike

All for the powder!
Right after this Ettore said something along the lines of "Oh my god! Beautiful!"

Blackcomb Mountain is now open as well, complete with a nice park. We spent the day riding it today. I got the started to rebuild my confidence for hitting rails and jumps. Time to get back into the freestyle mentality and remember how to do those tricks! They also have the snow pushed into mounds for the halfpipe, so that could be done any day now.

It's pretty exciting to be here now with all of the snow as well as the Olympics coming soon.

On another note, I finally gave in and decided to start a Twitter account. This way I can post a lot more updates a lot quicker. I put a feed from it on my blog and website. You can also follow my account if you like at: www.twitter.com/andrewsnowboard.

Tweet ya later,

Andrew



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Game On!

Today was opening day at Whistler, 12 days ahead of schedule! We've been getting tons of snow and they pretty much had to open it early or there would have been a riot. There already have a 100 cm base! That's more than they had until Christmas last year. It looks like this could be an amazing season if it keeps up.

This was my first opening day... ever! I've never been at a resort when it first opened and I wasn't sure what to expect. My friends told me that the lines would be crazy so we got up at 6:30 so that we would be at the lift an hour before they started spinning. With it being such an epic early season, I think everyone was stoked to get back on the mountain. The line when we arrived was "nuts" as my brother put it. It went all the way to the bus stop from the Whistler Gondola! After waiting in anticipation for a while (and the line moved from towards the bus stop to threw the village) I noticed that the line had grown so big that I couldn't even see the end of it!

Once the lifts started running we got up pretty quickly. There was a crazy energy in the air the entire day with everyone so pumped to be back on snow. I got to ride with some Yellowknifers, my brother and Joel Smith who is starting with the WVSC program for the weekends this year. Yellowknifers are always fun to ride with because we're pumped on any hill with a lift. We all had some great turns in the powder. It was a great start to a great season! Game on!

PS: Sorry that I don't have any pictures but I didn't think my camera would do so well in the powder. To make up for that, check out my newly acquired photos that I received from a spanish photographer that was in Whistler for the Grenade Games. These were taken during the warmup.


Backside 180 sequence

See ya on the slopes!

Andrew

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Darryl Tait is Amazing!

If you have been in Yellowknife or Whitehorse lately, you've probably heard about my friend Darryl Tait and his sledding accident. I was lucky enough to have the chance to see Darryl recently in Vancouver.

Well before I get ahead of myself let me just say a little something about Darryl. Darryl is one of the nicest, most fun to be around, most amazing guys I've ever met. Most of the time I spent with Darryl was on snowboarding trips. He's a couple of years younger than me, but he's an awesome snowboarder. We competed together in the Arctic Winter Games in Alaska as well as the Canada Games in Whitehorse. It's always fun having Darryl around. He's always positive and stoked on life. He's one of those guys that does well at whatever he puts his mind too. He racked up 4 medals at the last Arctic Winter Games in Yellowknife for snowboarding. The funny thing is, snowboarding isn't Darryl's passion, nope, sledding is.

Darryl rips on snowmobiles (and dirt bikes). He takes huge jumps and does ridiculous tricks. I have a lot of respect for him. Check out his video below and you'll see!


For those who haven't heard the story: Darryl was recently in a snowmobile competition in Boston. He was trying a backflip (which he can do) but came up short. His sled landed on him and severed his spine. He's been through a lot in the past few weeks, recovering from a punctured lunge and undergoing surgery. He is, however, paralyzed from the armpits down. I was devastated when I heard about his accident. I know from experience how tough it is to deal with injuries but this is a whole different story.

Kate Stapleton organized a fund- and support-raiser for Darryl last weekend in Yellowknife. I knew I was heading out to Whistler so I offered to bring things down for Darryl on my way through Vancouver. We made him a giant get well soon card, took an awesome group photo (below) and filmed video of people talking to Darryl. It was a great event. Click here to see more photos from the event. Check out the website http://www.pullthroughdarryl.com/ for more info about him.

I visited Darryl on Tuesday. He is doing really well, better than I expected. He was joking around with us, remembering times we've had together and telling us stories. He was in good spirits despite the amount of pain he's in. Darryl also spoke to me about getting back on the hill once he recovers. He's looking ahead, staying positive and showing mental strength well beyond his years. I'm very proud of Darryl, he is truly amazing. Darryl wanted to thank everyone for their support. It made his night and he is very appreciative.

You should have seen Darryl's face when I gave this photo to him.
Cooking up some burgers to raise funds
Darryl and I, pre-bungee jump on NZ snowboard trip

As for me, I'm doing well. I'm in Whistler now, back in the WVSC house. I just finished my first trampoline session with WVSC here. It was sweet. I'm working on my spins and flips. I'll put up some pictures/video in the near future, so stay tuned for that!

Cheers,

A

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Press Release - FSC Continues Support!

I'm thrilled to announce that FSC Architects and Engineers will be supporting me for another season. They have signed on as a Diamond Sponsor (my highest level) this year! This is huge for allowing me to continue training at such a high level. I have big plans for this season that are only possible because of the funding that I receive. Thank you to FSC and all of my sponsors! To see the official press release, go to the Sport North website.

Andrew

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Photos found!


Andrew Matthews
Originally uploaded by Alba Pardo
Greetings,

I just found this photo of me from the Grenade Games on Flickr. I'm trying the auto blog post from Flickr so I hope it works out!

- A

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Uber Post

Hello hello!

Thanks for checking in on my blog. Boy am I glad that you're here because I've got something special for you in this post. Last April I was selected to snowboard in a commercial for the Hudson's Bay Company. Well last week while my family and I were watching the hockey game, the commercial aired for the first time. It was interesting to see the final product after witnessing all the work that goes into making a one minute commercial (and that was just the filming!). The idea of the add is a timeline of the Hudson's Bay Company, I think it turned out pretty well. The YouTube video already has over 27,000 hits! What are you waiting for? Click already!


I realize that it's been a while since I last posted, the reason for which is that I was just finishing off a calculus course for the University of British Columbia by correspondence. With this course, I'm officially done my first year of Engineering at UBC. It feels great to have this under my belt.

On to more exciting things that I've been up to... I learned how to surf! I've wanted to try surfing for a long time, I've heard stories about how amazing it is. Well my experience definitely lived up to these stories, it was unreal! My friends Craig, Mike and I were only Tofino for one weekend in September but we made the best of it. We lucked out too, the weather couldn't have been better. On our first day, we decided it would be a good idea to take a group lesson as none of us had any idea how to surf. The lesson really helped set us in the right direction. I was hooked after my first wave. The feeling is amazing, similar to floating over powder on a snowboard. On our second day, we rented the equipment and went out on our own. We spent the entire day paddling out and trying our best to catch waves. After numerous times getting rocked by waves, and some tips from the locals, I finally caught some sick waves. I was totally wiped by the end of the weekend but it was well worth it. My friends Craig and Mike were also getting the hang of it by the end of the weekend. We all had a great time!



Mike and I getting ready for an adventure

"Paddle paddle paddle! Get up! Yeah!

At the end of the summer I worked a couple of weeks with my brother at Flipside Watersports. The water in August isn't always that warm and I was amazed that the kids were still pumped on going in the water.
Me teaching Dylan how to do it

The water may be chili in August but the sunsets in Yellowknife make up for it.

It snowed today in Yellowknife and I'm pumped for the upcoming season. I'm doing everything I can to be ready for the best season of my life. I've been doing a lot of yoga, along with my usual dry land routine to get in shape. I'll be doing crazy grabs and tweaks this year so watch out!

Until next time, 'Stay classy San Diego'

- Ron Burgundy

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Website Announcement

Greetings,

On several occasions I've heard friends asking me "where can I find your videos online?" Well my friends, I've created just the site for you... I would like to announce the release of my new website: www.andrewmatthews.ca! On the site you will find my videos, photos and more, on one convenient site. I'll be updating the site throughout the year so make sure to check back.

Cheers,

Andrew

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Andrew's August Sports Highlights

Ola amigos. To mix up the blog, I decided to do a post about some inspirational sports stories. Let me know what you think :)

This month there have been several huge events in the world of sport. 23 year old Usain Bolt broke the world record in the 100 meter when he ran a 9.58. It looked like he was hardly trying! Remember when Donovan Bailey ran a 9.89, times are a changing. I wonder if Bolt will eventually crack the 9.5 seconds...the guy is not human.

On the other hand, it turns out that Tiger Woods is human after all. He lost his first major championship when leading after 3 rounds. I was watching the last few holes and it always seemed like he would pull it out somehow like he always does. Tiger has an amazing mental game that I admire. I guess even the best have to lose once in a while. To his credit, Y.E. Yang made an amazing approach shot on the 18th to clinch the victory.
OK those 2 first stories were pretty awesome, but chances are if you ever watch Sports Centre they're old news to you. This last story is about a sport that does not get as much mainstream coverage, about a little known snowboarder named Shaun White. While competing at the Burton New Zealand Open (which I competed in a couple years ago), Shaun landed the first back to back double cork spins. A double cork is essentially 2 flips, off access. I hadn't even seen one in the halfpipe before this. I thought that the progression of snowboarding in the pipe had slowed down; in the last few years there have only been a few tricks that have really pushed the bar. Then out of nowhere Shaun pulls out back to back double corks! I was blown away when I saw this. Check out the video!

Quote of the month: The difference between ordinary and extraordinary...
is that little extra.

Cheers,
Andrew

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mountain Bike Madness

Buenos dias!

I've been busy running my camp, Mountain Bike Madness Camp, for the last three weeks. We had a good turnout this year with one week being full. It has been a lot of fun and the kids wanted to keep going all summer! We had some epic games of capture the flag, man hunt, the circle game and battle ball. We had some awesome rides; I was impressed that kids at such a young age can handle tough trails like the Frame Lake Trail.
The circle game: no feet down kids!
Me showing the kids how to do it


OK, Kylar is actually showing them how to do it


video
This is the slideshow that I put together to give to all kids in the second week of camp.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. We finally have some nice weather in Yellowknife so (if you're here) get out and take advantage of it!

Adios!

Andrew

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ender bender

Why hello there!

In the last couple of weeks I've returned home to Yellowknife. It was sad to leave the snow and Whistler, however, it is nice to be home with my family and friends. It's also nice to give my body a break from the high impacts it takes when I throw myself off massive snow obstacles everyday. I've been training at Body Works as well as my newest sponsor, the Taiga Yoga Studio. Thank you both for your support!

When I look back on my year, I'm really happy with how it went. There are so many great things from the year but here are a few that stand out: I put a lot of effort into my athletic development this year and I made a lot of progress, particularly in spins on the backside wall of the pipe. I also had the opportunity to shoot with some awesome photographers and may even be in an article in Snowboard Canada next year. Another highlight was being invited to and competing in the Telus Festival Grenade Games Grand Finale. Since the first time I watched the Telus Festival Big Air in Whistler it's been a dream of mine to compete in it. It was amazing to have the opportunity to ride with the likes of Danny Kass, Ikka Backstrom and Daryl Mathes in the competition.
Photo by John Scarth

I feel like my skills are continuing to snowball, from the early days of riding at the Latham  Island Park to my first full season in Calgary to my current training with Whistler Valley. I'm building on and fine-tuning my basic skills and developing more complex ones. Snowboarding is amazing because you can keep pushing your personal boundaries every year, and I love doing that. It doesn't matter if you're learning a 180 or a 1080, when you finally get it, you're stoked! That's what keeps me excited year after year.


Pat King Photo

I'm already looking ahead to next year, planning and getting ready. I'm organizing another trip to New Zealand to get back on the snow with heaps of sweet as conditions bru! I can't wait!
Rob Picard Photo

The amount of support that I received this year from my sponsors in Yellowknife as well as Whistler/Vancouver was amazing. I would like to extend a huge Thank You! to all of my sponsors for making my snowboarding year possible.

Cheers,

Andrew


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Video Time!

Hey,

It's crazy to think about all the time that went into filming, thinking and editing a minute and forty five second edit of me. I'm finished now and proud of the final product, check it out!

Monday, May 18, 2009

One of Those Amazing Days

Hey hey!

As I said in my last post, I've been filming a lot lately. On Friday I had the best day of filming this season... I was riding with Ali and Aaron, both my roomates in the WVSC Academy, while Rob (the owner of WVSC) was filming us. With just days left of riding the Black Park (the park where all the big jumps are) before it closed, we were on a mission to learn new tricks and get them on film. It was a hot spring day that would have been equally awesome for hanging out by the lake as it was for snowboarding.

We were all riding well and landing most of our tricks. It was really cool to see Ali charging the jumps. There aren't many girl snowboarders that can ride big jumps and Ali was killing it! She was stomping some frontside 180s and by the end of the day was trying frontside 5s! Aaron landed some nice frontside rodeos off his toes. I was stoked on my backside 3 melon grab on the hip. At the end of the day we were having too much fun to stop, so we hiked a jump a bunch of times. I landed a couple switch backside 5s that were feeling good so I decided to go for a 7. I had never tried one before and fell my first time. On my second try I landed it! The feeling when I landed was amazing. 

After we were finished filming on the jump we sessioned a cat track gap drop. It was really cool to hit, I've never tried a gap like this before. We all got some tricks on the gap and slapped high fives all around. It was at this point that Rob reminded us that we had better get a move on to see if we could still download the chair - it was 5 o'clock and the hill closes at 4! We had lost track of time because we were having so much fun. We were the only ones left on the mountain besides the staff . We raced down to the Gondola and were lucky to find that it was still running.  It was an amazing day, top 5 best days of my year!

I'm putting together a video part from all the filming this year which I'll be posting soonish.

I hope everyone is enjoying their spring. Cheers,

-Andrew

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pipe Mashup Video

Hello there,

Spring time is the time when I'm done with my competitions and I focus more on filming, photos and learning new tricks. I went up last week with Snowboard Canada photographer and chief photo editor John Scarth. We did a shoot on one of the bigger jumps in the park. The weather wasn't great but it was good experience nonetheless. I'm hoping to get more done soon as Blackcomb is set to close on May 18th. Thankfully Whistler will be opening up at that time but I'm not sure what there park will be like.

Anyways I've put together a mashup of some of my best pipe shots from the last couple seasons to go with the theme of focusing on media. Lets face it, videos are way more fun to watch than reading posts. Enjoy :)

video

-Andy


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Grenade Games Finale Video

Hey, check out the video for the grenade games finale! Can you spot me?

Grenade Games 5 - Finale from monster dano on Vimeo.


-A

Monday, April 27, 2009

Grenade Games & Hudson's Bay

Hey hey!

It's been a while since my last post and let me tell you, I've been busy! It may have been the busiest time of my year. In the last couple of weeks I was studying for my chemistry final, I shot a commercial for Hudson's Bay and I competed in the Grenade Games. Below are some photos of the setup from the Grenade Games Grand Finale, courtesy of Dano Pendygrasse.



My coach Joe had received an email (the day before the audition) that the production company wanted someone who was good at riding halfpipe for the commercial. There wasn't much other information other than the day of the audition, which happened to be the day that I got back from Nationals. I decided to give it a whirl and see what the film industry was all about. Kyle and I went down to the studio and waited for 2 hours for them to do a 5 minute interview with us. After that we were sent on our way, told that we would hear from them if they wanted us.

I ended up getting a call later in the week from my new agent letting me know that I was getting booked for the commercial! So I went up to Cypress for my shoot day, still not knowing exactly what to expect. The first thing that I noticed was the abundance of free food at the set. I was happy to hang out, try to study among the commotion and eat lots of delicious food. After they had filmed all the other actors/athletes, they tried to fit me in right before the sun went down. We got a couple of shots but they needed me to come back for a second day. After hanging out on set for most of another day. I did some frontside airs in the pipe and rode right past the camera. The commercial is meant to air leading up to the Olympics, the idea is a timeline of the Hudson Bay Company. I'm excited to see the final product.

The next thing on my agenda was the Grenade Games which was part of Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival this year. Monster Energy Drinks was one of the main sponsors. Check out the Monster website for more info about the Grenade Games. Basically the Grenade Games put a more fun spin on the events that have been in the Festival before. For the halfpipe there was a jump at the top of the course as well as boxes and a telephone poll in the pipe. It was cool to switch it up from the regular halfpipe contest. We had a big jam format, which means that we were just riding at our leisure and trying to get noticed by the judges. I landed some 5 to 5 combos and a cab 7. TJ Schneider stole the show with a nice frontside 1080 and a crazy inverted maneuver that no one knew what to call!

The grand finale for the Grenade Games was a Big Air Slopestyle invitational event at the bottom of the hill. I was able to get invited, most likely because of my placing 2nd at the Showcase Showdown last year. This is always one of, scratch that, the biggest event of the year in Whistler. There were about 20, 000 people watching from the village and sidelines. It's been one of my goals to compete at the Big Air in the Festival ever since I saw it my first year out there, so I was obviously stoked to be in it. The course started with a big bomb drop into a huge straight jump or step up gap jump to a step down feature. After that there was a choice of street style rail, box or a tree jib. The bottom of the course entailed two spines with a PBC pipe in between.

I was pretty intimidated when I rolled up to the course for practice on Saturday afternoon. I had never hit features like many in this course. Most of the other riders in this event were established pro riders, who took no time to start destroying the course. It was a fun environment to ride and progress in. I landed some runs I was pretty pumped about including a front 7 and a back 5 off the step down.

The real contest was under the lights at 8 o'clock. This was only the... third time I've snowboarded at night this year. That was difficult to adapt to but I always find it awesome to compete in front of a big crowd. I was one of the only riders spinning off the bomb drop feature with some 270s, the only problem was that the guy dropping before me was Craig Belieu, who won the competition, and he was doing 450s. I didn't care about my results, I was just pumped to be riding in the competition. It was a great experience and so fun - a perfect way to end my competitive season.

As for now I'm focusing on learning some new tricks as well as filming and shooting photos. Spring time is always amazing in Whistler. You can snowboard in the morning and swim in the lake in the afternoon. I'm also going to be working with a personal trainer to set me up with a program for the summer so that I can get a huge beach bod, ha! Just kidding, but seriously I'll be stomping huge jumps this summer and next season with my beefy (chicken) legs.

Below are some photos of the Grand Finale of Grenade Games. Photos by Russel Dalby.



Thanks for checking out my blog, feel free to post a comment :)

-A

Monday, April 6, 2009

Nationals Trip

Bonjour mes amis,

I'm back from what turned out to be an awesome trip. I could go on and on about it, so much cool stuff has happened since my last post. Instead of boring you with my random stories I'll cut to the chase of the snowboarding.

The first day we were there to get used to the conditions and the mountain. After a late start getting everything organized in the morning, we found out that the halfpipe would actually be open that afternoon. We had heard rumors that the pipe wouldn't be... up to standard, but I was optimistic that the organizers would make it good for the Nationals. Well it turned out that the rumors were true, the walls were smaller that we were used to, not to mention somewhat inconsistent and very difficult to ride.

Someone smart once said "In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity." With this quote in mind I trained that pipe like there was no tomorrow. It took me the good part of the first day to get used to riding the pipe. The next day was the official training, the day before the contest. There was only two hours to get ready for the biggest pipe competition of the year, so I made the most of it. I was one of the first people to drop into the pipe and one of the last to leave. By the end of it, I was linking some tricks that I had seldom landed before. I was feeling really good going into the competition and had a run in mind that was far better than anything I've landed before.

The format of the Nationals is the usual best of 2 years for qualifiers. The top 6 men in the 2 heats (of about 27) make it to the finals. With this in mind, I knew I would need to through down something amazing in order to make it to the finals. On my first run I landed everything but it wasn't very smooth and my amplitude wasn't that great. Bellow is the footage of my second. I was going for it and the first 2 tricks were going well, but I couldn't hold on to my seven. As you can see I went down, and so did my chance of making the finals. My first run scored 29.9 and I needed a 33.0 to make it in. It was tough to be so close and have to miss finals again this year. On the bright side, I learned some new tricks and I now feel like I have the foundation to beat the best riders in Canada.

video

For now I'm back to training and now is the best time of year to learn new tricks. I went riding at Grouse today for my first time ever, with Kyle and Sam. It was sunny and so fun. We did some filming with Sam's point and shoot camera so I'll put something up when we finish editing it. I have one more competition this year later in the month, the Telus Festival superpipe in Whistler, they joined up with the Grenade Games this year which could be really cool or ... well hopefully it's awesome.

Check out some photos from my trip, some from Mont Tremblant and some from Montreal. They have some nice views and cool old buildings.













Les Garcons: Me, Pierce, Sam, Robby and Kyle

Famous snowboard rail we found: me wishing there was snow
We obviously had to check out Montreal while we were there, I mean look at this sweet castle


Sweet views of Tremblant and Montreal

Cheers,

Andrew

Friday, March 27, 2009

Nationals prep time

Hey!

With less than a week left before the halfpipe competition at the National Championships, I'm doing everything I can to be ready. The last 2 years I've been injured right before Nationals and had to put a run together in the couple training days just prior to the event. I've had some really good training days in the last couple weeks and I'm counting on that to pay off this year. My cab 7s (note: cab means switch frontside (also note: switch means backwards)) are coming around better than ever before, I made some key improvement on my frontside 7s and on my backside 5s. In my halfpipe training I planned it so that I would peak my performance for Nationals. This is going to be difficult to do because of the setbacks I've had to deal with my ankle injury. At this point I've learned some of the tricks that I needed to learn before Nationals but I haven't had time to put it all together in a run.

I had to make another tough decision yesterday: whether or not to compete in the Quiksilver Showdown Over the City today. It's one of the biggest pro contests in Canada. The setup is a massive jump to some crazy rails. I really wanted to do this contest but I figured it would be best to save my ankle for Nationals and focus on the pipe for now. So instead of competing I made the missioned it to Cypress so that I could ride some more pipe before I leave for Mount Tremblant on Monday.

I was lucky that my friends Lauren and Ben were going up yesterday and I was able to get a ride up with them. It was really foggy when I arrived with Land we were a little skeptical about riding the pipe. We checked it out anyways; the park crew had died the walls of the pipe and the fog lifted just about the pipe, awesome! I had a great day and landed some nice front 7s. 

I'm going back up today to see if I can start putting my run together. My next post will be about my trip to Quebec. I'll be practicing my french, seeing new places and hopefully riding well in some nice conditions.

A la prochaine,

Andrew

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sweet Week!

Why hello there!

Last week was the first full week I've been able to ride since I got the OK about my ankle, and let me tell you, it was a good week! On wednesday I filmed for the first time of the year, in the Black Park. It was my first time back riding big jumps again too. It didn't take me long to get back to what I was doing before my ankle put me out. I even learned some new tricks like front 7 tail grab. My ankle held up fabulously, it was sunny and I was really stoked!

My friend Kyle had been talking about going to Cypress the next day with some of our friends, who spoke of an amazing pipe there that was soft and perfect to try new tricks. I really wanted to go with him but there was the problem of getting to Cypress as none of the pipe riders in the club have a car. After our hope of bumming a ride from friends fell through, Kyle and I made some quick last minute plans with our coach to take us up there from Squamish, where he lives. We bused to Squamish first thing the next morning, and drove up with Joe for the rest.

When we finally got there, it was a beautiful day and the pipe was as amazing as we'd heard. My backside wall was right in the sun, getting softer by the minute. I need to learn some tricks on that wall that I've been working on all year, this was the perfect opportunity for them. I got into it by starting small, doing back 3s and building up my confidence.  After a lot of those, I eventually got the go ahead from Joe to throw a back 5. I was stoked and landed the first one, not perfect, but a start. By the end of the day I was feeling pretty good about the 5s. I'm going to be doing them all the time so that I start getting them really good.

The pipe was so good the first day that Kyle and I convinced our coach to bring us back the next day. He was nice enough to put us up in his place in Squamish for the night before our big day. On Friday we got an earlier start and new what to expect. We got right down to business and I was determined to land some cab 7s by the end of th
e day. I've only ever done 2 cab 7s in the pipe, last summer in New Zealand. I was excited to try them again.

Well the trick didn't come back as easily as I would've liked. Again I worked up to it with some 3s and 5s that were feeling good but as soon as I went for the 7 it threw my whole spin off. I eventually slid a couple around but wasn't happy with the way I was spinning it. After watching some video, Joe pointed out a few key tips that I tried to incorporate into my spin. I made some improvement but by the time we decided to call it quits I was still feeling like my cab spins need some work. Nonetheless, it was great to get some under my belt this season and to determine what I need to work on.


The view from Cypress is pretty amazing of downtown Vancouver and the ocean.



-A

Monday, March 9, 2009

Park photos and ankle results

Hey what's up?

The results from my CT scan came back showing that the bones in my ankle are fine - good news. The only thing is that they picked up some swelling and my doctor is unsure of where it's coming from. He prescribed me some anti-inflammatory cream and hopefully that will take care of it.

Handplants are fun!

On the weekend I started back training with my coach Joe and the ankle is feeling pretty good. I feel like it's back to the point where I can ride hard and progress again - such a good feeling. I've also had a few really fun days shredding the park recently. Here are some photos that my friends Sam and Marisa took of each other the other day (also see photo above).












Marisa on her "favorite feature"



Me on one of my favorites



Sam with a nice melon grab

So in other news my roomate Sam (above) found out that he qualified for nationals for his first time this year. That means that our club will have Kyle representing Alberta, Sam for BC and myself representing the NWT. It's sweet that the three of us will be taking over Tremblant at the beginning of April.

Tomorrow we're going up and to do some filming. I haven't done much yet this year so I'm pretty excited about that.

Take it easy,

Andrew

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Midterm's over now lets get that ankle better!

Hey hey,

As you can see by the title I've recently finished my midterm for the one course (Chemistry) at UBC I'm currently taking. I've been busy studying for that, doing lots of physio, training in the gym and on snow when I can, and hanging out with friends.

My midterm went well. The class average was really high, 81%, which is unheard of for UBC. The bad news is that this means that they'll make the final really hard. I'm set to start an integral math class that I obtained permission to do online which I've been putting off. Today I'm in Vancouver for my one class per week and I had a lab. This one was pretty cool, it was about caffein in soft drinks. We were able to isolate the caffein and compare to the amount supposed to be in the drink, I did mine of Pepsi One. I haven't worked out the results yet, but I thought it was pretty cool that we can do something like that in the lab.

I've been snowboarding on and off since the Calgary trip based on the advice of my doctors and physios. My ankle is still giving me trouble and has been doing so since the start of January. It has gotten better but it gets worse and never heals. I'm doing a CT scan tomorrow to get to the bottom of the problem. Neither the doctors I've talked to nor my physiotherapist are sure exactly what's wrong with it because it should have healed by now. I'm excited to get some definite results on it so I can get back out there!

I made the tough decision not to compete in the Showcase Showdown last weekend because of my ankle. I was going back and forth whether or not to do it up until right at the registration table. That's the competition that I placed 2nd at last year and it's a really fun event right in Whistler. In the end I'm happy with my decision because I want my ankle to be good to go for the rest of the season, not just one competition. I'm looking ahead to Nationals at the end of the month and the Telus Festival in April.

Good things are coming but good things come to those that wait...

Andrew

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hey,

Check out the Westbeach Airtime that I filmed in January. It was really fun filming with these guys. We went down to Vancouver for the day, back when there was snow in Vancouver, crazy!

Take it easy,

Andy

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Good the Bad & the Ugly

Howdy!

Wow, so I'm back from Calgary now and let me tell you... it was a bit of a crazy trip for me. First of all, I wasn't sure if I should even go. I had been hoping my shoulder would heal up faster and it was still pretty sore the day I was meant to fly out (and start training in earnest the next day). After an hour long debate with myself I decided to hop on my flight and see what happened.

It turned out the be a good decision because my shoulder was feeling pretty good by the next day. Just in time! That day the pipe was really slow and my wax wasn't great. It made a perfect time to work on my technique of riding the pipe and charging it. I was feeling great to be on snow again and having a good time all around.

The next day we went right into competition. It was qualifiers for halfpipe. Everything went well in preparing that morning: I had a good sleep and a great breakfast; but when I got to the top of the pipe I started to feel sick. My stomach was upset and my legs felt like they didn't have the power I needed them too. I had a really poor warmup and may have only tried my run once, actually I don't even think I did. I started feeling a little bit better in the time between warmup and my first run but I was unable to land my run. I put a hand down on my front 7 and that wouldn't do. In these competitions it's a best of 2 runs format so I still had a chance to redeem myself with my second run. I did end up landing my second run however the amplitude wasn't enough to see my score move me into the next round. BAD. I was happy that I landed my run after feeling sick but I know that I need to work harder before the next pipe competition so that I can do better.

After that I changed focus to slopestyle. The organizers of the Burton Open put a lot of work into this course, they built the biggest (possibly nicest) jumps COP has ever had. The course went from the top to the bottom of the run, which is also pretty cool. I had an afternoon of riding slopestyle after my pipe contest and was more or less ready for the competition the next day. In the Burton Open there are 4 rounds of competition per event: pre-qualifiers, qualifiers, semi-finals and finals. This is crazy compared to the events I'm used to which are for the most part qualifiers and finals.

Competition time: I needed to place in the top 40 of 100 riders in the event. The speed for the jumps changed significantly during practice. At the start of the morning you needed to make a couple speed checks in between the first and second jump. By the end, you needed to go straight between them! So for my first run everything was going really well, I landed my front 7 off the first jump and straight lined to the second jump. I spun a backside 5 but landed on the knuckle (for those of you that don't snowboard, this is the part of the jump right before the downhill landing starts). So I fell on that, but I was happy with how I was riding. I knew for my next run I needed to get as much speed as possible and stomp my run in order to qualify. Well that's exactly what I did. I'll admit, some of my tricks weren't pretty but I landed it all clean and that was enough for me to move on. I was pretty stoked. GOOD.

The next round was even more difficult to make it past (obviously). They were taking the top 10 of the 40 guys that made it to qualifiers. I took a day off riding to allow my body to recover a bit before the competition. It payed off because I was riding really well in warm up. I was stepping it up and landing a backside 7, front 7 combo on the jumps that I've never done before. I was feeling great. My first run of the competition didn't go so well though, I didn't get the full rotation on my first 7 which also made me lose all my speed for the next jump. I was still confident that I could land my next run with the added pressure. It turns out that COP is pretty much a funnel for wind coming from... everywhere. This time the wind picked up and it was point straight uphill. They put the competition on hold for a while to figure out what to do. The riders were having a really hard time making the gap on the jumps. You had tuck to entire course and hope that your speed would carry you past the knuckles. I was lucky to go when the wind was light enough that I was able to make the jump, unfortunately though the change in conditions was enough to through me off. Again, I didn't land the back 7.

If you're still reading this far down you must be really interested in my blog. Thanks!

So back to my adventures: After my second run I was a little angry that I couldn't land the runs that I had been in practice but I was happy with my new improvement. We were just about to leave COP when I overheard someone talking about giving some riders third runs because of the wind. I raced to the top to see if I could get another shot. It turned out that they were in fact giving riders another run. They were saying that only the riders most affected by the wind should be allowed but that wouldn't be fair at all because all the riders were affected by the wind. So we were given one last chance. On my run I tucked into the jump as I did the time before that but this time my speed was too much. I took off weird and flew too far on the jump. I landed on my back and was quite winded. UGLY. I was able to ride away but I was pretty sore. When I got back to Kyle's house, where we were staying, I started to get some pain in my kidney. I was worried about that so I went to the hospital to get it checked out.

I ended up having quite the time at the hospital. It took forever to get seen and once I finally did, I had to transfer to another hospital in case a CT scan was required. Thankfully I didn't need the scan after all and was diagnosed with a bruised kidney. Pretty scary stuff but I'm thankful that it wasn't worse and that I'm fine now. I learned my lesson that when the conditions aren't right, you can't push yourself. Progression happens when everything falls into place and shouldn't be forced when it isn't feeling right.

As for now, I just finished up a lab for my chemistry class and I'm heading back up to Whistler tomorrow. I'm looking forward to getting home and getting back to my training schedule.

Take it easy,

Andrew

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dealing with the Downs

Greetings,

I'm sitting on the couch right now with an ice pack on my shoulder...

Injuries in freestyle snowboarding are very common. A snowboard legend (and now an announcer for the X Games) Todd Richards wrote in his book P3 something along the lines of "When it comes to injuries it isn't a matter of if, it's a matter of when and how bad." That pretty much sums it up. I've had to deal with the nuisance of injuries since I started competing in snowboarding. They suck but you've got to take them in stride and look at the bigger picture.

Yesterday I hit a jump and I was a little bit too forward with my balance. I fell forward on the landing and hit my shoulder.  My shoulder got a little inflamed but it isn't that bad. I need a couple days of rest and then I'll be back on the board again, just in time for the Burton Open. For now I'm catching up on my chemistry work and getting ready to rip!

Peace out,

A

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cow Town

Hello there,
I just got back to Whistler from my trip to Calgary. I'll put up some pictures to here for you to check out before I bore you with my stories. So my internet isn't allowing me to post the pictures right now so you're either going to have to bear with me for the stories or you can always just scroll down the the bottom. Here's a funny conversation I had with one a couple guys working at the ticket office:

I hand the guy my Canada West Pass (which works for lift tickets at all resort in BC and Alberta), he takes it and asks "Are you from Alberta or BC?"
I say "I'm from the Northwest Territories."
"Is that in Alberta or BC?"
"Neither, it's the No
rthwest Territories."
"OK, which state is that in?"
I look at the guy dumbfounded. "Uh..."
"Oh, it is a state?"
"Yah basically, you're not from Canada are you?"
Turns out he was from Australia. Fair enough that he didn't know where it is I guess but come on... state? I thought that was pretty funny.

Kyle cooking up a breakfast of champions for us!

Now to the trip... it was pretty sweet. The first day we were there it was dumping snow. In typical Calgary fashion the next day was a sunny +10. Our first day we spend riding in the late afternoon and night to see what it would be like riding under the lights. It took a while to get used to riding a 22 foot tall halfpipe again. For those of you that don't know, Calgary has one of the biggest halfpipe walls in the world. So the first night was mainly spent getting comfortable riding really, really fast towards these monster walls.
      The huge pipe
Day 2 was the official training day and the day before the contest. It was cool to see riders from all over Canada shredding the tube. I tried to get into my contest run but was having some trouble with my backside spins so at the end of the day I decided to change up my run. This meant that I would have hardly any time to practice the run I was planning on doing in the contest but the up side was that I had done that run in contests before.

There were 2 pipe contests back to back and they both went pretty well. I wasn't worried about how I ended up because I was just using these contests as training. I landed my run both days and I was happy with that. I ended up finishing in the middle of the pack both days. I'm working on backside spins as well as some other tricks so that I can compete with the top guys in Canada by Nationals. Joe and Kyle taking vid and pics
The slopestyle contest on Sunday was fun to do. I made the finals and it ended up being really tight with the time we had to leave to catch our flight. I literally did my last run, went to the car and left. We couldn't stay for the rest of the contest, let alone awards or dinner. So I'm not even sure how I did. I know I didn't come in the top 3 because I fell on my last run and on my first run I did a backside 3 where I wanted to do a 5. It was a good experience though and something to build on.

I'll be back to Calgary for the Burton Open at the start of February, I'm excited to see what that's like.

Now if only I could get those pictures to work...

Andrew