Have you ever watched a ski or snowboard video and see a pro do a crazy trick like a triple cork or a laid out back flip and say to yourself "They make it look so easy."? Well I know for a fact I have, and after watching videos all summer waiting for the winter I convinced myself that I would be able to do some of those tricks they could do just by hucking it as hard as I could. Well lets just get something clear... That train of thought works sometimes, but most of the time it takes a lot more thought then just trying to send it.
I ride at a local ski hill named Birch Hill located in Fairbanks, Alaska. I know, I know ALASKA. And I know what you're thinking, you're thinking of those awesome back country videos where the pros fly out to Haines, AK and send it down massive mountains stomping crazy lines! Well let me tell you... Fairbanks is nothing like that, in fact Fairbanks doesn't even have any mountains we just have small hills with less than 1000ft of vertical and since the average temperature in the winter time is always somewhere below 0 all of our "snow" turns into this weird icy sand textured snow. Despite the poor conditions you will find myself and friends out every weekend trying to stomp new tricks and terrorize the "terrain park" off the jumps we have.
One day, it slipped into my mind after watching "Shredtopia", that I would be able to stomp a wildcat back flip just as steezy as Brage Richenberg does. I figured if I just sent it as hard as I could I would come around on my feet and ride away, right? Well Remember how I said that sometimes just sending it doesn't work out and how the "snow" in Fairbanks is just ice. After a couple attempts to stomp this cartwheel style back flip. I realized that this new trick I wanted to learn was going to take a lot more effort. So I continued to try and send it and after landing in various uncomfortable positions (i.e., upside down, on your ribs, etc.) all day. I went home still not being able to land this steezy looking trick but instead took home a completely black and blue rib cage and butt. The moral of the story is that even though the pros make tricks look so easy a caveman can do it. 9 times out of 10 you have to build up to these crazy cool tricks and it can take multiple days or months to learn. No matter what happens or how many times you might fall through out a day of riding though, nothing beats hitting your local mountain with your homies pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
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Recon Black/Black Goggles
Photo: Brandon Winslow