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, March 29, 2011

The Showdown Bubble - In or out?!

Hey oh!

The past couple weekends have been Showdowns - The Showcase Showdown in Whistler and the Quiksilver Showdown Over the City at Grouse Mountain. What is a 'Showdown' you may be asking? Well it seems like the people who name snowboard contest snowboard contests think alike (or maybe they just copy each other). Anyways, these 'Showdowns' were huge slopestyle contests that brought some of the best riders from BC, Canada and even the States out to throw down.

The most recent one, the Showdown Over the City started pretty typically for a contest at Grouse Mountain - in the middle of a cloud. We could hardly see the course with massive rails and... average size jumps. I was in the amateur qualification for the chance to duke it out with some of the top pros in Canada. They originally set out 100 spots for ams but only 10 signed up. I guess once they saw some of the big names that were showing up they decided there wasn't much point competing. At the riders meeting they told us that the qualifiers would be pushed to the next day in hopes of better weather. Oh, and that only 3 of the ams would make it through. So much for an easy ride into the pro contest!

The next day it was... sunny?! Everything looked awesome in the sun. I had to get comfortable on the course really quick because they were now running 3 contests in 1 day which made it a bit tighter for time. I landed a few different runs in training but not even close to the run I was thinking of. For some reason I can usually ride better under pressure and this was no exception. I landed my first run with a switch back nine, aw yeah! I fell on my second run and I knew that my first run would be right around that 3rd place bubble.

There have been a lot of times I've been outside of the bubble looking in: the Showcase Showdown the weekend before this I was the first person cut from finals! Not this time though! I made it with my first run and qualified in 3rd! Boo yeah!!

After that I was ready to shred it! Too bad the course wasn't... the sun started turning the snow into slush and the uphill wind made it nearly impossible to make the jump. It was turning into a "boarderstyle" event, a mix of boardercross and slopestyle because you had to hit the rails as fast as possible in order to have any hope of making the jumps. I was feeling really good on the rails but it was really frustrating not being able to do the tricks that I wanted on the jumps. Ah! Anyways I wasn't able to land a run in the pro contest, I knuckled (didn't have enough speed to make the landing properly) the last jump on my second run that might have put me through to the super final.

Besides the speed being such an issue it was an awesome day. Such a fun contest to be part of. Congrats to Robbie for placing third, even after he popped his shoulder out in semis. What a champ!

As for the Showcase Showdown, the new kid in my club WVSC Darcy Sharpe took the top spot and he's only 15 years old! Yellowknife rider Molly Milligan (and also new to WVSC) took second in the female category. Another friend and club member Ali Tracy rode really well and just missed the podium, coming in 4th. Way to kill it guys!!

Check out some edits from the past couple contests below.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Switch Back 9 & YLG Contest


Last weekend the we left the epic snow of Whistler in a gang related black Suburban for sunny peaks of... Sun Peaks! This was the next stop on the YouLookGood Riders Cup Slopestyle. We were all stoked to get out of the Whistler bubble for a bit and ride a new park.

WVSC crew, stoked! FLTR Ali, Darcy, Sam, Me and Marlee
Going into this contest I had one trick in mind that I was determined to learn, the switch back 900. I was close to landing it at the last stop and I knew I would have to if I wanted to have a chance at the podium.

After spending a night at a dodgy motel in Kamloops, we rolled up to Sun Peaks to find a really fun, long course. The jumps were built a lot different (flat takeoffs instead of kick) from Whistler's so it was nice to have a full day of practice to get a feel for them. I was close to landing a couple s/b 900s but they weren't that clean...yet.
Darcy killing it as per usual
The format for the contest was best of 2 runs, top 10 make finals then best of 2 run finals. I stomped my first run really clean on the jumps and qualified 4th with my safety run of back 5, switch back 5, front 7! In the finals I let it all hang out! I went for the switch back 9 and stomped it first run. It was a six hit course and I sketched out of a few of the features so I knew I could clean up my run for my second run. On that one, I was killing it! I nailed it on all the rails and went huge on my back 5. I stomped my switch back 900 and had one jump left. I went for a front 7 but spun it weird with a new grab I was trying. I came around and fell on the landing. I was so frustrated but at the same time I was really happy with my progress, and lets be honest - its all about the progress. So for those of you that have no idea what a s/b 9 is... think takeoff backwards and do 2.5 rotations - its just the best trick I've ever landed yet.

Me getting some switch backside air time
Ali showed everyone whats up with a huge backside 3 that won her best trick! She also placed 2nd in Pro Women, way to go!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Best Slopestyle Run Ever & 5th Place = Awwww Yeahhhh!!


Last weekend I kicked off my competitive season with the YouLookGood Riders Cup Slopestyle Contest at Mount Seymour. This is Canada's pre-eminent slopestyle series with 4 stops across Canada. As I mentioned in my last post, I suffered an injury earlier this season where I broke my 5th metacarpal snowboarding back home. After a successful surgery and rehab, I'm back to my old tricks (yeah, pun intended!) and feeling really solid with my riding!

I had an awesome training day on the course the day before the contest. I landed THE BEST slopestyle run I've EVER done! I did switch (riding backwards) frontside boardslide 270 out, switch frontside 7, switch backside 7. I realize you probably have no idea what that means so you'll have to trust me that its a really technical, solid combination. On competition day my back was feeling really sore from riding hard the day before. I was able to push through it and put down a nice clean first run. After that I knew I had to step it up to make the podium so I went for a switch backside 900, a trick I've never landed before but would have put me in contention for the podium. I wasn't able to land one clean but I came really close, I'm sure I can learn that with a little practice before my next competition at Sun Peaks in a week and a half.

My first run was good enough for 5th place out of 27 athletes in the Pro category! Not a bad way to kick off the competitive season, which gets really heavy in March/April. I'm so excited to be back competing, it feels so good to land a run under pressure. I can't wait for the next stop of the tour at Sunpeaks!

- Andrew