Sunday, 29 December 2013

Copper World Cup

Just before Christmas I had the first World Cup of the season. I was very nervous as it is the hardest one of the winter. I wanted to put in a good performance so I could get a good result but also have a gage of where I would roughly place throughout the circuit with my run.

I had two days practise which was nice. But previously I had been skiing at Copper anyway. I was used to the pipe. So it wasn't too difficult to get into my run early on in the practise. Once both my practise days were up I had a day off due to the snowboard event being on. A couple of guys on the team went up to support Ben Kilner and Dom Harrington.





Ben and Dom both managed to get a score on the board but it was not the run they wanted. But it meant they both got some valuable points to help keep them in the run for Sochi. It was good to watch and it makes a difference having your mates coming to watch. So everyone made an effort.

Next up was me. I had three run practise which isn't a lot. It is all you need though. A run of straight airs and then into tricks after that. Practise went well and I was feeling good about my run. I had been struggling with my right 9's. They still need work but it was time for me to put it in my run. I needed to progress and by forcing myself to do it made me get over the fear of doing it.

I managed to land both my runs. I was really happy. They both were solid. Maybe not as clean as I would have liked. But it was still pleasing. Built some confidence going into Calgary just after the New Year.


The points difference is very close so a few tweaks in my run could bump me up a few places. This time last year I was in 35th place. So a year later I have gone up 10 places.
All the guys came up to watch and support. It was cool knowing that you had some support being such a long way from home.

After every event I would give Ben a piggy back down if he came to watch and when I would watch him he would do the same for me.





The next event is on the 2nd of January. And this will be the most important event for me as if I was to do well it would take a lot of pressure off going into the last event. I am after a top 18. 18th was my personal best last year so I am wanting to build on that this season going into the Olympics.



After my run. Happy. Can't you tell?


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Upcoming World Cup

On the 19th of December I will have the first World Cup of the season which I am really nervous about as it is the toughest contest of the season. It will be harder than the Olympics in terms of athletes. But after my recent success in the Nor-Am I am fairly confident about my run and my chances of doing well.

I have been working hard on my run and hopefully I can get a good score if I do my run well. If everything goes well and I get my grabs etc. then the score will come and so will the placing.

I will let you know how it goes!



Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Bearsden Edit

Last month I went through to Bearsden to film an edit before heading away for the winter. I was really excited as I hadn't ever really filmed a lot before or realised how much hard work went into it. It was really good fun but hard work.

Enjoy!




I am waiting for some photos about my most recent contest ( North Face Park and Pipe) and will have a post up about that soon!



Monday, 2 December 2013

Scotland On Sunday

I was pretty stoked to wake up in Breck yesterday to hear that I was on the front cover of the Scotland On Sunday Ski & Board magazine back home! The article was written by Roger Cox who I met up with at Hillend a few weeks ago to take some photos and do the interview - I'm really pleased with how it came out!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Recent Coverage

So the past 3 weeks I have spent at home. Trying to get in shape for the up coming winter as it is the biggest one in my career so far. Unfortunately though I managed to get tonsillitis. Which was a huge set back. But now I am fit and healthy again and getting back into the swing of things before leaving next week.


The past few weeks I have had two article on the Team GB website and also the Evening News. It came as a bit of a shock as I had no idea I that anything was being written. But it is always a nice surprise!




This is the shot they used for the article. Somehow the reporter has managed to spell my name wrong. Cheesy shot used as expected, but gotta love it!! You can read the article online here.





Before the Evening News I had a great article on the GB website. Thankfully the spelling was correct ;)
You can read that also online here.

They are both fairly similar articles. Just on the up coming games and qualifying. But definitely worth the read!





Thursday, 10 October 2013

Saas Fee

After spending a short time at home I flew to Geneva to head to Saas Fee for 10 days of training. I met the guys in Geneva airport and then got the train/bus to Saas. It was a really good set up for this time of year. The halfpipe was good. Not as big as I expected but still really good.

For the first couple of days it was bad weather which was a shame as I really wanted to get into the training. But thankfully it gave me a chance to get my ski legs back. After those first couple of bad days I started to get my head down. My main focus was the right 900 as it's been a huge weak point in my run. I was pleased when I found out the skiers left wall was the soft one. It took out a big element of fear as it wasn't icy.




I spent a few days just working on this and flat 540's. I was struggling with them though. They kept turning into cork 540's. I found it frustrating but now I know why that happened so I basically learnt a new trick by accident. The next thing I was working on after that was the skiers right wall tricks. My flares and 900's with the idea of doing some 1260's and double flares. I had a good day doing my set up tricks and get the take off's perfect so when the time came I could rip a few bigger tricks.

Unfortunately the weather came in a lot from then. Which made it difficult and a lot more risky to try these big tricks. It was frustrating as I had done a lot of the ground work.




In between all the bad weather we had 1 good day. I knew I wouldn't get another good day so it was straight down to business. I did a lot more right 900's and then went onto the skiers right wall. Did some set up tricks but then unfortunately the weather came in again so it meant my day was over. It was a bit of a ball ache. On the second to last night some of the team went out for a meal at a strange restaurant outside of town. It was the best meal I had in a long time but for some reason there was a camel outside it.





The last day was terrible weather again. I managed to GoPro a run through the pipe but it was not a great day as you couldn't see much. Enjoy!





Monday, 30 September 2013

Some shots at Hillend for the Scotsman


I was up at Hillend a couple of days ago to take a couple of photos for the Scotsman, and do a bit of an interview with Roger Cox. Nice to be back at the place I spent so much time as a kid! Looking forward to the interview coming out in December, but in the meantime here's an instagram video with a couple of the tricks...

Monday, 23 September 2013

Manchester Meetings

Last week the British Ski and Snowboard team had a couple of days in Manchester with the British Olympic Association to learn about the upcoming Olympics.

It was our media training and drug awareness seminars as well as a media day at Chill Factor Snowdome. It was not what I expected at all. I thought it would be a boring few days but turned out it was actually very interesting and quite exciting.

The media training was very interesting to see the lengths that some journalists go to get a story and also what sort of things can get you in trouble on social media. The drugs talk was scary more than anything as I had no idea some of the things we will fail a test for. Things that you wouldn't even think of like Lemsip or Sudafed.

After the drugs talk the team and I got a chance to go to the Manchester Velodrome. It was by far the best experience I have had in a long time. It was amazing to see and it was not what I thought it would be like. It was strange being clipped into pedals without being able to take my foot out. Also being on a fixed gear bike was strange.






It was very tiring and worked completely different muscles than I was used to. It is flat out for only a few laps but it knackers you out. So much fun though.

The next day was the media and press day. It was great fun. Tons of reporters and tv crews were in the snowdome so it was full on. I first had an interview with the BBC doing the green screen style things for the Olympics. It was the first time I had ever done anything like that so I was nervous to begin with but once I got into it I was fine.






Once that was I finished I was straight out onto the slope to do some stuff for Blue Peter. This is was I was most pleased about the whole week. I just got to ski about the slope and hit the rails and jumps and do a small amount of talking into the camera and I got a Blue Peter badge for it.




It was really cool and interesting experiencing all this for the first time. It was a bit overwhelming for me as I hadn't had anything like this before. Past Olympian Dan Wakeham was around during the day to offer advice on how to deal with it and things such as the media.




He was telling us about his experiences and how he coped with them during the Olympics. He was the first ever British Male Snowboarder to reach the Olympics so it is great to know him very well and get his take on things.

Overall it was a great three days and incredibly useful to find out all these little things I was unaware before.

Here is a short clip of me on the channel 4 news. I am the skier in all black with orange skis.




Thursday, 12 September 2013

Local Heroes - Join In

Yesterday I was lucky enough to receive a phone call asking if I was willing to go through to Bearsden ski club for a Local Heroes - Join In publicity shoot. Local Heroes is a program funded by Bank of Scotland to help give promising athletes a bit of extra funding so they have more opportunities to train. Thankfully I am one of them.

The Join In program is to help young kids get involved in sport so they asked me to do some tricks for a photographer. I was also with Pam Thorburn who is a Skier X racer and also a Local Hero. It turns out they are doing a newspaper article in the Glasgow Herald. So I had a small interview before skiing.



It is pretty difficult to get a decent shot on an iPhone so it is pretty blurry.

The photographer wanted us both to go off the jump at the same time but didn't want me to spin so I just had to do a straight air grab. It was pretty good fun. After that we spent some time doing portrait shots with the slope in the background with some kids skiing behind. 





I haven't seen any of the photos on the camera I only have the ones from an iPhone. So the quality isn't great. It was fairly productive. The whole shoot was finished within an hour. So it meant I had a bit of time to actually go and have a fun ski. It was the first time I had been on dryslope since November so I was a bit rusty. 



The article should be out on either Friday or Saturday. So make sure to keep an eye out for it!


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

NZ Winter Games

4 days ago I competed in the Nz Winter Games halfpipe event in Cardrona mountain. I had a few days official training before that but the weather was so bad we hardly got any time on snow.

I wasn't going into the event very confident as I wasn't feeling 100%. I just wanted to make sure I landed a run and kept my points up as it was another Olympic Qualifying event. My practise went fairly well in the lead up to the competition even though the weather was still overcast and windy.


The light wasn't to bad later when it was time to do the runs. But it was still difficult. I crashed on my first run. I was trying a 1260 which I can usually do fairly consistent so the pressure was on for my second run.




I was nervous going into my second run. Usually I am in a much better place going into it as I have landed the first one so I can push hard on my second one. But this time I had to hold back as I needed a score on the board. I managed to land my second run. It wasn't my best run which was really disappointing. I wanted a good result and it was a great opportunity to get one. 






I ended up 22nd over all. It is still inside the top 30 which is needed but it is still a long way off what I wanted. I will have to try and get myself fit again and perfect my double so that I can start pushing for finals.







Video of my run to come soon!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Bali

On the 5th of July after two weeks in Whistler I flew to Bali to meet Paddy Graham and Billy Morgan, both members of the British ski and snowboard team, for a month.



I was there for 4 weeks and I absolutely loved it. We all hired scooters and were been hammering around on them. They are death traps though. So it’s pretty sketchy. The three of us spent a week in Bali surfing and being tourists. We also met up with two British snowboarders while in Kuta, Bali. So we spent the rest of our time with them. 





Then we shot off and went to an Island close by called Lombok. It was very different to Bali. Extremely chilled out and very relaxed. No parties or anything like that. So we would get up early most mornings to go surfing and then head back out in the afternoon. I never realised how hard surfing was until I tried it. It is incredibly difficult. I struggled to stand up and know which waves to paddle into. But now I am just starting to get the hang of it. The only part I can't do is duck dive. My board is too big so I just get spat out the back of the wave. 


The ferry over was a slow 6 hours. But once we were in Lombok it was worth it. We managed to find a skate bowl in the middle of nowhere. God knows who made it. But it interesting to say the least. We turned up and there was a skateboarding dog in it. He was just running along with the board and jumping on. Strange to watch....
Lombok was a weird place. Tons of wild dogs and cows just roaming the streets. They were even in our hotel court yard. 




After about 11 days in Lombok all of us headed back to Bali to meet Aimee Fuller who is another British snowboarder. We spent one night in Kuta and then went to the Gili islands. It was very touristy. A lot of English speaking people so it was different to Lombok. But it was really chilled out. You could cycle round the whole island in about 25 mins. There wasn't much to do apart from sit on a beach. All of the guys got pretty bored pretty quickly. So we left and went back to Bali. We spent the rest of our time there. Surfing and travelling around seeing some of the sights. It was pretty cool. Got to meet a lot of like minded people and hang out with them. 






After that I headed to New Zealand which was an easy flight as it wasn't too long. It was 5 and a half hours then a 3 hour flight from Depensar to Queenstown then about an hour drive to Wanaka. So it was chilled. I am now in Wanaka till the 5th of September and have a contest on the 15th of August which I am really nervous about as it is a difficult halfpipe to ski. It is narrow and icy making it super fast. Not pleasant at all. But hopefully I can pull something out of the bag. 



I will keep you updated how it goes!


Saturday, 3 August 2013

Whistler

Sorry for the delay in a post. I was in Whistler and is was fairly hectic trying to achieve my goals as my time was limited. And since then I have been in Indonesia surfing and travelling around and the internet has been rubbish so I haven’t been able to upload anything.

Whistler was an amazing trip for me this summer. It was probably the best training I have done all year. It was a halfpipe airbag for both walls. Left and right. It was all the way up on the Blackcomb glacier but me and the rest of the guys stayed in Whistler village. I absolutely love it there. It is a really nice place and everyone is really friendly and polite.








We would get up about 7 o’clock every morning for breakfast and the get on the lifts at half past 7. It took about half an hour to get up to the top every morning which was a pain but it was all worth it. I would usually ski till about 1/2 in the afternoon and then head down. They did provide lunch up the mountain but I just preferred to get down and do some sort of outdoor activity. It was mainly football but sometimes the odd spot of golf! 





I went to Whistler with the goal of landing more left double flares and making them consistent. I achieved that. It was difficult as the first week I was there it was terrible weather. Wind, rain and a lot of low cloud. It meant I couldn’t prep for it as best I could. Both Jamie Matthew (coach) and I knew that when it was the next good day I just had to get it done. So the sun came out and we both had a feeling it was on.



I only managed to try 3. And I landed all of them consistently. All of them didn’t go as well as I would have liked but I was still able to stay in control and land them on my feet and ride away. I was extremely happy. I now think I am ready to take them to contest. I will try and put them into my run in NZ.




I was sad to leave Whistler as it is my favourite trip of the whole year. But I was going to Bali for a month so I was extremely happy about that.


Sunday, 23 June 2013

Go Big or Go Home

On June the 15th I drove through early morning to Glasgow. There was a small local event on at one of the dryslopes called Bearsden. I feel it is the best dryslope in the UK at the moment. It is shown by the amount of amazing young riders it is producing such as Cal Sandison and Chris McCormick. Part of the reason this is happening is because of the great facility and also the fact that a really good program has been put in place by Neil MacGrain the Scottish coach.

Back to Go Big or Go Home.

It was a really cool format. Since it was a small slope they split it into two Jam sessions for qualification. Skiers and boarders and then a three run final best two runs count. I liked the format in the final because it meant you had to be consistent. You had to be able to do two good tricks to get a score. It wasn't just one trick takes all.

At first I was shockingly bad. I could barely ski as the last time I was on dryslope was November. I couldn't do any tricks. I was shakey and looked like I had just learn to ski. But I managed to get a small amount of practise in and get my legs back and then it was show time.


It was surprisingly busy. People had travelled up from as far as Norwich to compete in this event. It was the most amount of people I have ever seen at Bearsden!




I did the skiers jam session in hope that I had done enough to get through to finals and also use it as a bit more practise so that if I did get through I wasn't out of my league. Thankfully I made it. So I did a few switch backflips and frontflips. Everyone loves a backflip.








Once all the jam sessions had finished, to give the judges some time to tally up scores, the organisers put on a rail contest. It was just spot prizes. So when ever they saw a trick they liked they handed out a prize. It was nothing massive, just maybe a hat or a Tshirt. It was cool though because some of the riders jumped on the microphone to give other people shout outs for doing good tricks.



Then it was finals time. I was really nervous as I didn't want to be beaten by all these young kids who had been killing it all day. I thought I may as well try my hardest to win. My first run in the finals I did a switch 720 tail grab to shifty. On my second run I did a switch 900 japan. Both those tricks are my stock competition tricks for Bearsden. And since I landed them fairly well I thought I would try a switch 1080 japan on my last run. I managed to land that as well. So I landed three from three which was pleasing as I didn't expect to land any. haha.










Luckily I managed to win the over 16's event which was a great result as a lot of the young guys riding at Bearsden are amazing. It is definitely the best event I have been to in the UK at the moment. It's fun. It's not just constant jam sessions as it has runs as well and it is a high level of competition. I would like to say a big thank you to the McCormick family for organising the event. And to Freeze Pro Shop for sponsoring it. It was amazing and I will be going back next year!