Snowpark Niagara, in Niagara Falls NY of all places, held a surprisingly good rail jam in 2009. The grand prize was a trip to Windells, and the event drew a pretty big crowd. It was a unique experience for me; I had never attended a rail jam with so much at stake.
I sent a detailed recap of the event to my friends back home, and I still have that message. Here's what part of it read:
"This one kid was 12 years old and half my height. He was with someone else, probably his brother, who looked about 16. I look at this 12 year old and he looks fierce. He and his brother get to the top, and ski down just greasing the rails. I had this feeling about them though that they would be legit."
That 12-year-old was a young Evan McEachran, and I knew back then that he was something special. Neither Evan nor I won the trip to Windells, but it's safe to say Evan has gone on to accomplish some amazing things.
I recently caught up with Evan, and had the chance to ask him about his early life, competition skiing, and what he's looking to do in the future.
What's up, Evan? Tell us a little about where you're from, where you grew up skiing, and the types of skiing you did growing up. Who were your influences?
I'm from Oakville, Ontario. Despite being surrounded by small hills, I feel it's a really good spot for a freeskier to grow up. We have some of the best rail skiing out there, and the park crews across Ontario kill it.
I started out as a racer, and did that until I was about 8 years old. Friends would always tell my parents that I should be in a freestyle program, because I would hit rails and build my own jumps whenever possible. Then I merged into moguls, where I had no coach, and my parents would take me to some events across Ontario. After that season, my club finally started a freestyle program, where there were only 3 of us on the team. From there, I knew that's what I wanted to do, and eventually worked my way up to the Ontario, and eventually, the Canadian team.
I was definitely looking up to all the top guys in the sport, and local skiers who killed it in and out of the park.
Even though you're only 17, you've been competing at big-name events for years now. Why have you chosen competition skiing, rather than working on movie segments/edits/etc.?
I never really chose to follow solely the competition scene; I would always film edits when I was younger. I was on the Ontario team, and we would do all of the local events and travel throughout Canada for others. But, I really like competing. I love the zone you get into before a contest run, and when you drop in and your mind is entirely focused on landing your run, and most of the time, you can barely hear your music playing.
I would really like to start filming more edits, and that's definitely something on my to-do list for this winter.
I don't think that most people understand how tough contest skiing is. It can get a little repetitive at times, but what doesn't?
Photo: Royce Sihilis
How have you managed to become such an accomplished skier at such a young age, with challenges such as school and travel?
I love skiing, it's pretty much always on my mind. I'm always thinking of new tricks, or how I could tweak a trick that I already know how to do to make it better. I feel like it's a good thing to be juggling school and skiing at the same time, keeping my mind sharp and keeping my mind focused on more than one thing.
Earlier this year you claimed the top spot in slopestyle at the AFP World Championships, beating out Bobby Brown and Jossi Wells. Describe how that felt. Did it boost your confidence for the future?
That was definitely one of the most insane feelings I've ever had. Standing next to two of my idols on the podium felt so good, and was definitely a confidence booster. It made me realize that I can put down a run that is podium worthy!
Describe what was going through your mind when you found out you were invited to Winter X-Games 2015.
It was insane. I can't even describe how crazy that felt, it was a dream come true to say the least. I've been dreaming of being in the X-Games for as long as I can remember, even before I knew what freeskiing was.
Photo: Jeff Schmuck
What are your goals for the future?
I'd mainly like to keep on having as much fun as possible. I want to keep on progressing my skiing, and the sport of freeskiing as a whole. I also would like to get some more filming done, and get more kids into this amazing sport/community!
Catch Evan in the latest episode of SLVSH, and follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, as he prepares for Dew Tour slopestyle finals on Sunday at 1PM EST on DewTour.com LIVE. All photos are courtesy of their respective owners.