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!

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:

Tweet ya later,


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!


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 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!