Forgive the bad ’90s music reference in the title. I couldn’t resist.
Mason and I spent the past couple days at Whistler-Blackcomb with the First Nations Snowboard Team. Actually, allow me to correct myself: Day 1 was a mixture of watching our crewmember, Jordan (aka Mogley), and FNST High Performance athletes throw themselves off massive jumps in a demonstration of elegance and power.
The best part of my day, personally, was when Mason’s lovely friend, Diane, kidnapped me for a few fun runs together with her friend, Steph. It was so great to break away from the guys (no offense, team) and do some laps with a couple solid ladies. Diane was fierce as she tore up the mountain, even sending it off those massive jumps. Her stoke was contagious, and before long, I found myself following her lines as best I could (minus the blue/black jumps, lest I end up black and blue… or seriously broken). Riding with her was a highlight to this trip, for sure, and it prepared me for Day 2: Cruising the baby park with the FNST Rec Team.
The riders in that group are ages 6-17, and the work they’ve put into killing it in the park and slalom run was inspiring. It was so much fun getting a few pointers from them, and of course working with their coach, Court, to try a few new things didn’t hurt either – although a few falls might have. Working with Mogley today was awesome, too. He’s been involved with the FNST for years as an athlete and a coach, and his pointers made my riding feel a lot more solid.
I feel like I’m just dear-diary gushing here, but everything about the FNST experience was just… fun. And empowering. Exactly what snowboarding, and sport in general, should be. If the motto of FNST is about “improving the quality of life and empowering Aboriginal youth using the sport of snowboarding as a fundamental tool for excellence,” then based on what I experienced these past few days, I would definitely have to say they’re going above and beyond toward that end.
Next up: Powder King to shred Mogley’s home turf, meet his grandma (or “Kokum,” as she’s known in Cree), and hopefully shoot a moose!