You are a big advocator of a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise, back in the day it was almost uncool to be in the gym and there was a lot more partying in the sport. Were you always this healthy or has that come with time?
Haha, yes snowboarders have always had a reputation for being kind of wild, not following rules and not taking sport too seriously. I remember Daniel Franck used to tell us rookies that he never worked out but to our disappointment, we discovered that this only was a cover-up to protect his image. In reality he was the first to go to the gym and the last to leave. A lot has changed within our snow community over the last decade and it is safe to say that it has become socially accepted to put in your hours at the gym. I think most riders agree that this is a must if you want to be on top of your game. Awareness about nutrition seems to be going at a slower pace and is probably linked to how little aware society is in general about the topic. I find the corruption in the global food industry very disturbing. My curiosity for food and digging deeper into that industry was inspired pretty organically when I transitioned from the halfpipe into slopestyle. I made friends with fellow competitors; Jamie Anderson and Chanelle Sladics and they were both eating organic, shopping at the health food store and ate mostly vegetarian. Observing them, I quickly relalised that I had a pretty disconnected relationship to what I put into my mouth and how it affected me, my health and my performance in sports. Now that I have incorporated nutrition into a fundamental asset to my life health and performance, I can’t imagine how I could do what I do now, without it.
I started watching documentaries and swapped most of my meat for veggies and educated myself on the benefits of eating organic. I used to get an allergic reaction every time I ate apples and certain fruits. After testing out an organic apple without getting an itchy throat or swollen face, I knew I was on the right track. When I watch old videotapes of myself I can tell how often I was sick, I constantly had a sore throat, cough and stuffy nose. I know a big part of it was my lack of nutrients and excess of meat & dairy. I already know so much more about food and health than back when I was in my early 20’s and my plan is to get certified as a nutritionist.
Does riding for energy drink conflict with leading a healthy lifestyle?
Everybody is on their own path in life and we need to respect each other for where we are. I know that for me riding for an energy-drink created a big conflict within myself. I am intrigued by what these companies have done for the progression of our sport, creating platforms where the riders can train to reach an almost inhumane level- but it came to a point where I was so aware of what was in the actual products, that it no longer was an option for me to keep promoting them. That’s why I quit my contract early.
We have to wake up and realize the side effects. Kids look up to us athletes and want to do exactly like we do. I personally remember the influence my “hero’s” had on my life and actions. It has been important for me to not judge other riders for what they choose, as there is a really positive contribution and team side of working with these brands. It can be challenging to turn snowboarding into a career and non-endemic support is really valuable. At the same time it is important for me to stay true to my values. I see it as my responsibility to be a good, healthy leader/ influencer for my community and our audience. We all have different purposes in life, and for me this doesn’t align with my path.