How does a snowboarder practice freestyle tricks when there isn’t a terrain park at the local hill?
Just ask Josh White. He and his friends have been practicing their moves on skis and snowboards using whatever they can think of.
They have built rails and stunts in White’s backyard, they have built jumps at the Murray Ridge ski hill on their own and hiked them, and in the summer, when the ice was still in the arena, they would use the arena snow to practice on rails in the arena parking lot.
Just don’t think it doesn’t make a difference because Josh White proves it does.
White went with his family to his first ever snowboard competition at Silver Star Ski Resort in Vernon on December 27.
Now, at that time, Murray Ridge’s terrain park had not even opened.
But apparently, White’s innovative practice techniques paid off, because White came in third place in the competition.
The event was a nightime rail jam “which was cool,” White said, with lights set up around three rails.
Participants had 40 minutes to hike and ride down enough times to impress the judges and make the finals. White’s tricks included a front board and a front blunt 270.
White wasn’t that confident he had done well after his initial attempts, but he heard his name announced for the next round and was “pumped.”
With the majority of the participants being older than him, he didn’t think he had much of a chance, but “they named out ten people for the finals and my number got called, I was pretty surprised,” he said.
After another 30 minutes on the rails, White made third out of the ten finalists, winning some swag and some ‘street cred.’
At Sun Peaks, the weekend of January 15, White and some friends went down to Kamloops to go to the Sun Peaks Resort Rail Jam.
A daytime event, it was a little different scene than the one at Silver Star, with the rails in a series and different categories, and no final.
Participants had only three runs to show the judges their stuff and White was in the 12 to 16 youth board category, and there was no practice.
“It was pretty hard,” said White. “Consistency would have to pay off.”
While White said he probably would have done better had there been a finals, he still managed to place third again.
His friend Quinn Moeller, who was on the trip with him watched White’s runs and said that White was younger than most of his competitors but “he did really good” with a 50-50 to backboard to 270 off the first rail,
White said the trip itself was a great time, and they stayed at a hotel in Kamloops, enjoying the hot tub when they weren’t up at the ski hill.
“It’s pretty wild when you have three pretty immature people in a car for eight hours,” said White.
The placements have definitely whetted his appetite for competition, and the grade ten student at FJSS is saving up so he can afford to go to more in February, he hopes.
“When you start placing…confidence grows and you just want to go to more,” said White. He shovels snow at CNC as a part time job to earn money.
His goal is to get more comfortable, practice and get used to being on the spot in competition.
While he had skied since he was two years old, White said he only learned to snowboard almost by accident. He grew out of his last skis when he was nine years old, and was given a snowboard for Christmas.
He spent the next three years just learning how to carve on the snowboard by hiking up a toboggan hill in his back yard outside of Edmonton.
Once he started doing freestyle though, he just never looked back, and that is when he began building rails in his backyard.
White had participated in the Whistler Camp of Champions over the summer, spending eight days on the Blackcomb Glacier getting tips and pointers from professional riders, which was a great way to learn fast, according to White.
White would like to go to the Smithers rail jam, as well as to the next rail jam at Sun Peaks.
“I just want to snowboard everyday for the winter for my whole life,” said White.