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!

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 :)


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.

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