Last weekend officially set off my winter here in Colorado. Keystone Mountain opened with an amazing early season park, so we got to work trying to get some shots. With the help of my two little brothers Sam Bell, and Sy Murdoch we put together what I like to think is a pretty fun opening weekend edit. Here is the video which was posted on Snowboarder as well as a few other sites. Check it out, enjoy, and let me know what you think
With the announcement of Slope-Style In the 2014 Olympics; the contest scene, and outlook of athletes took a turn towards something new and exciting.
Whether or not you are the most core snowboarder or most competitive, the idea of going to the Olympics is a pretty cool idea (at least somewhere in ones head, even if never stated or expressed). Slope-Style in the Olympics not only means more eyes and appreciation for what we love to do, but obviously the possibilities of more monetary support. Now with anything in life there are haters; claiming it's selling out, and that it's not what true snowboarding is. At the end of the day, even with this outlook it's a necessary evil to allow us to continue what we're doing as long as possible.
Now back to before with this announcement, all of us contest riders started looking at any possibility of making it to the Olympics. Changing country of residence if necessary, basically trying to figure out any way possible to make it. Even I started looking at getting dual citizenship to Israel as a second chance in case I didn't get a chance to try out for the US team. With that said through my efforts last year, I qualified in the top 8 of the US from the World Tour. Which guaranteed me a spot to compete for a chance to ride in the Olympics for America. Now this is no where near an easy opportunity or am I a shoe in to be one of the 4 US team riders invited to compete in the Olympics. What it does mean though, is that I am guaranteed an equal shot with 7-13 other riders to compete at 5 contests between December and January to see whom might be the most fit to represent America. At this point I call it a success and am fully proud of my self for how far I've come. To be recognized as a boarder that could potentially represent the US of A is a huge accomplishment in itself, whatever may happen at this point.
As this 2013/14 season gets underway, trust that I will be giving it everything I have. Starting with a proper diet, off hill training as well as traveling to other countries with snow to get an early start at on hill training. Currently I am in Australia getting an early contest out of the way. And next on the schedule is a trip to Chile to train at legendary resort El Colorado before heading back to the US to get situated for the first contest of the US qualifications; Dew Tour in Breckenridge December 14th.
Thanks everyone who has ever taken time out of their day to follow my progress, cheer me on, or support me in anyway. I have no doubt in my mind that I would never be where I am now with out you all. So with that said please enjoy my travels and let me know what I can do to make my story more interesting and enjoyable.
With any sport practice makes perfect, and repetition promotes consistency so with summer rolling around the choice of what to do comes up. As far as snowboarding goes, there are multiple options of staying tuned and sliding sideways.
Easier options being Mt.Hood or Whistler both with fairly accessible snowboard camps where a rider can get a job at the camp, or attempt to get sponsor passes where the camps supports get the rider in. Each of these choices have there benefits and weaknesses obviously. With working at a camp such as a coach you have to spend some of your time coaching kids and actually working versus being on a sponsor pass where you have the opportunity to ride and train all day. With this said being a sponsor pass sounds like the more ideal situation, but its much more of a short term situation. With a past in going to High Cascade (HCSC) I've decided to take the coach route, for my third year in a row at this point. I find being a coach not only allows you to spend all summer on your board doing what we all love, but creates a unique opportunity to learn how to coach your self, and starting seeing ones riding from an outsiders perspective.
Now with my route being coaching at HCSC there are also a little less accesable but pretty sweet opportunites to travel to South America, buy a season pass and ride a whole second winter. This is definitely a viable option, but with training and contest driven snowboarding being my priotity Ive decided to save that for future summers.
With my choice being set here at HCSC Ive attempted to make the most of it and try to not only learn new tricks and refine my style, but also get some exposure through various snowboard websites and social media outlooks. Ive included a list of links at the bottom if there is interested in seeing some of my riding and what goes down on a regular basis up here.
Whether you an avid rider, or simply looking for a Snowboarding fix during the summer I highly recommend checking out HighCascadeSnowboardCamp (www.Highcascade.com)or any of the other shedding options listed.
The contest season At this point in snowboarding contests have become a key player in how the world perceives what we do. Contests promote progression as well as help spread word of the talent, and the dedication this "sport" takes. Obviously everyone has their own feeling about contests, but at the end of the day; even if riders don't consider themselves contest riders, there is still a push to do at least a few. If not for the potential monetary earnings, for the push from sponsors and getting the exposure.
With the x-games wrapping up we can see that the level of snowboarding has gotten insane. Even in the street event which incorporates the rebel "I don't give a fuck" attitude, still had some new and amazing rail tricks... With a side of shirtless back flips. Not to say that these tricks might never have been done without contests, rather that contests pushes the progression in a faster pace. http://xgames.espn.go.com/video/9085495/x-games-snowboard-slopestyle-recap Any ways for me, contests are definitely a double edged sword. I love the atmosphere, environment and feeling of being at contests; But they definitely don't always go how you want. It's hard to take the thing you spend basically everyday doing, and turn that into two runs. Hence why jam contests really incorporate the snowboard vibe that much better and really show off what snowboarding is. Imagine if a basket ball game only consisted of free-throws, it doesn't matter how good you are, your going to miss one every now and then.
For me, this season started off with a few more misses than lands... Which is obviously part of the game. Each contest is still a learning experience and great opportunity to have some fun and work on new stuff. But as my comfort level rose and I figured out what I would need to do with my boarding, things started turning up. I can't say I had any major podiums but definitely feel like I held my own, and proved my worthiness this season.'
As I said before contests are a double edged sword, even with all the money there is in podiums and the production of events; if your not getting on those podiums it's pretty difficult to make the cost to earnings work out. For instance, for 6th place at the European Open, I only got 600euros which does not come anywhere near the cost of going to Switzerland and competing. So even though I worked my way from 100-6th and risked my body for a week, I still came out in the negatives. Or 7th place at the shakedown in Montreal, which didnt provide any monetary money at all yet I made finals and was part of their tv show. Thats aot of pressure, work and energy going into something that may or may not provide any earnings, yet there is still the potential so we keep doing what we are doing. With all this said, I absolutely love snowboarding and want to be a part of it and make an impact. And for me I feel that impact will come easier through contests. So I'll keep doing what I can, attempting to prove myself, an make my mark on what so many people, including myself care so much about.
A year ago this may marked one of the greatest
moments in my snowboarding adventures, and something that will truly stick with
me for life. That accomplishment was being awarded with snowboarder magazines,
Gatorade "Driven from within Superpark 16 Standout. Kind of a lengthy title but basically stands for; Super Park winner, haha, which isn't quite the case... but gets the point across.
Let me back up a second with a little snowboard
industry info... For those of you who don't follow the snowboard world, Snowboarder Magazine is for lack of a better word the coolest and most
respected snowboard magazine there is, you have three major ones in the US including Transworld which hosts a bit more of the professional side of the industry, and Snowboard Magazine which I would say the more artsy side, obviously it's not
quite that specific but you can catch my drift. Along with those, you have tons of international ones and state wide mags, but basically those are the three people think of when they think about Snowboard magazines. I suggest you all go and
check them out to see which fits your own style. With Snowboarder Magazine
really exemplifying the snowboarders take and realness of the life we live, hence why an acknowledgment is that much more significant. Now with
that said for the past 16 years the magazine throws an event called SUPER PARK, here they invite 300 of the worlds most elite snowboarders and set them free in
literally the worlds best terrain park at that time. They invite the park
builders from the country's top resorts and allow them to design and build
what ever features they choose. Now these five days, being at mt bachelor this
year was all time!!!! With numerous huge jumps and other unique
features riders went crazy filming and getting photos taken of their best
maneuvers and tricks. At the end of this week Snowboarder Magazine holds
a video contest, which all the brands compete to win, as well as awarding a standout. One rider decided by the snowboarder staff that they feel excelled
and fully stood out each year. Gatorade than provides them with some money a
trophy, a year of Gatorade, and the title of "Driven from Within". Only 15 others
can claim this title, including Travis Rice, and Scotty Vine, so definitely
means a lot to me.
Now with some background on the event, gaining this award was far from easy, and wouldn't have come with out the help of my sponsors providing great equipment, all the other riders pushing the level, and my crew I was working with; including Jeremy Dubs of Wild Card Movies, Ethan Stone the boss of photography, my little brother Sy Murdoch for putting me up and being an amazing host, and obviously Pat Bridges for all the private shoot invitations. Its with out a doubt that I have never worked so hard in my life for five days straight on my snowboard, I put in a 12 hour day, tried tricks 30 times till it was perfect, and hiked my ass off till I was kicked out...Literally. It was all obviously worth it, and it was nice to really see my hard work and dedication pay off.
The other week I was honored to get a photo of me in the Method magazine "shot of the week." Not only is this an honor due to Method mags presence in the snowboard scene, but as an American to get love by European magazine is a pretty awesome feeling.
I have to say I'm a little surprised it took so long for something to actually happen with the photo. Great photographer and close friend Alba killed it with a completely new and unique photo. A photo different than the amount of overwhelmingly repetitious shots of snowboard photos, all great in there own right but this just seemed new to me. I personally have never seen a shot like it before, it exemplified the lack of snow in Colorado and our desperation to get out and try and make something of it. The photo really takes in the scene and focuses less on the trick, but more on the surroundings and uniqueness of the spot; Which I feel is what makes snowboarding so unique.
As it says in the post we had scoped the spot a few times, trying to decide if it was really do-able, than one day we just stopped and said screw it, let's make this work. After one time of rolling down the dirt hill, I adjusted to the pitch and stomped the cornice drop. It was by far one of the most interesting and difficult to adjust to feelings I've ever experienced on my snowboard, feeling the dirt grabbing at the base trying to stop me in my tracks, while the sluff of the dirt than tried to push me in its own way at the same time. Either way Some how I made It down the hill still on my feet and all in one piece.
At the end of the day this photo shows how there really is no limit of what we can do on our boards or how outside of the box you can get. Snowboarding isn't all about triple corks, 100 stair rails, and 150 ft jumps. Yes all of those are great, but in my opinion challenging yourself to think of something new, experiment and make the most out any situation is really what makes cool photos and creates a different sense of accomplishment.
Thank you for tuning in and sorry about the lack of posts currently, been trying to concentrate more on my snowboarding and less on the outside world, but I'm working to get back on my blog a whole lot more.