What's your history in NS snowboarding? Yikes. Well. I showed up here (NS) in 1990 from the UK. I'd surfed there since I was a kid and I started snowboarding around 1986 because I figured I'd be moving to Canada and didn't know if I'd still be able to surf there. When I got here there really wasn't much happening in snowboarding. No instructor certification, no competitions, no coaching...but lots of people doing it. I bumped into Andrew MacLean at Martock and we brought in an evaluator to train some instructors in 1991. We ended up becoming evaluators and I ended up organizing instructor courses in Atlantic Canada for some 15 years. At the same time we formed the NSSA with NS snowboard legend Sonny Woodworth and Jeff Marshall and the competition scene was born here. It was an amazing few early years. Riders like Trevor Andrew, Ben Crowe and Scott Doucette started back then and for a little province we quickly grew a reputation for good riding. Trevor of course went on to compete in two Olympics, paving the way for another Olympian Sarah Conrad and National Team riders like Alex Duckworth and Kristin D'Eon. I dabbled in a few World Cups and National Championships myself but seemed to grow old faster than those guys so I went into coaching around 99. I think the success of NS riders now owes a lot to those early years because everyone realized that it IS possible to reach that level of excellence, regardless of the small amount of terrain available in this province. When I went into coaching
we'd just come through the 98 Olympics and there weren't really that many responsible coaching programs around but they were developing. I went on to coach with the Canadian Team at a couple of Junior World Championships in Europe (Prato Nevoso and Klinovec) as well as at World University games in Zakopane, Poland. It's pretty funny, I'm sure Sarah Conrad will thank me for telling the world that I coached her as a racer for a year before she specialized in Halfpipe around '99 or 2000. I can see her sticking pins into my wax doll right now. I eventually ended up as assistant team leader at the Torino Olympics in 2006, a wonderful experience and one that I won't forget - and Sarah was our top female halfpipe athlete there. We were so unlucky (particularly in SBX) not to come home with many more medals than Dom Maltais' bronze. Somehow during that time I also served four years as Chair of the Canadian Snowboard Federation. The Federation was growing rapidly in all areas; events, high performance, sport development ...and suffering at the same time, like many rapid expansions. The added government expectations once 2010 was announced meant that the position carried a lot of stress. But I don't regret any of it. It was a fantastic learning experience and I'm still proud of the passion and perseverance that characterizes everyone who's involved in our sport. Currently I'm Head Coach of the NSSA and specifically focused on getting us ready for Canada Games in 2011 Who is Chris Higgs and what's his story? Never heard of him. Higgs is a diminutive Welshman who has more passion for snowboarding than most diminutive Welshmen. He showed up in NS to train to be an instructor and ended up living at my house for the 5 following winters, instructing and assisting me with coaching the provincial race teams through
Enjoy our 6th issue.