Growing up skiing by myself in the Canadian prairies left me with little hope in terms of progressing and becoming a real freeskier. This place is a lot like the days of old, you have the choice to ski crappy parks that are dominated by snowboarders, or take ten second runs on what are essentially downhill skating rinks unsurprisingly filled with old people in neon suits. Luckily this all changed for me a few years ago when I met the crew I ski with today, and their epic yard setup that I was unbeknownst to all this time.
I am in fact, not European.
I first heard of the crew through some mutual local connections, with some names in hand I went and creeped (sorry guys...) their Facebook profiles. What I had seen definitely warranted some chat exchanges, and to my surprise these guys gave me the chance to ski at their own personal jib realm. At first I was nervous as hell, I really hadn't tried my hand at skiing any kind of park before, let alone a super tight and quick yard setup. My new found buddies pushed and coached me through my first few features, a flat box and a big green tube that looks like it came straight out of Mario. From here it was really your typical story of progression albeit slow at the best of times.
Outerwear style, more hip with the trends.
Today I'm still progressing into a true freeskier role which leaves me fairly short on things to say. I can say that this yard setup has made me the shredder I am. Never would I have imagined doing ridiculous stuff onto, on top, and off of plastic, steel, and wood jibs. And trying to convince myself a year ago that I would eventually go inverted off a jump would have been a tough, maybe even impossible sell. With my own growth I've had the chance to help grow this place with some sweat equity alongside everyone else who puts in the hard hours to make this thing happen. Because pictures are worth a thousand words, here is a picture progression from the first year I shredded here, to the setup as it was yesterday.
We still have quite a bit of snow as it has been a long, cold, and snowy winter here in Manitoba, just the way we like it. But with the warm spring temperatures upon us, things are starting to melt fast and I'd imagine we only have a few more weekends at most of quality riding left. Spring and summer aren't a complete loss for us though, they gives a chance to reset and come back bigger and better for the next year, and as long as we're all alive you can guarantee that will happen.
One thing that hasn't changed is the crew's respect for anyone who wants to come out and ride. Hit up the respective owners of this park (http://www.newschoolers.com/ns/members/profile/member_id/91749/) if you're ever passing through Brandon Manitoba, and we can hopefully work out a time to shred. And if you do make it out you may learn a few things just as I have.
2011-2012 and 2012-2013 Season's photos shot by Leland Kirton.
2013-2014 Season's photos shot by Grant Wall.