Sunday, November 23, 2008

Is Snowboarding is ageless?

At 62 years of age Dick Schulze competes at Burton Global Opens series 2009

British Snow Addictions asks some questions to The Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tours Oldest competitor

Dick, what is your age?


When did you start snowboarding?


What makes you a snow addict?

I wish I knew the answer to this one. Once when I was at the start gate in a big air contest, staring downhill at that huge kicker and scared sh**less, a thought popped into my head: Why couldn’t it have been tiddly winks? I have just finished reading the book Bodies in Motion by Steven L. Thompson, which tries to answer the question of why motorbike riders get addicted to motorbikes. I suffer from that addition too. Maybe it has to do with speed: with a GPS receiver I have clocked myself on a snowboard at 103 kph, and on my motorbike I have gone over 160 kph. But it’s more than speed: there is something incredibly sensuous about snowboarding. When you ski, you think of conquering the mountain, but on a snowboard you are dancing with the mountain. Maybe it’s both the speed and the sensuality that have me hooked.

What wise words of wisdom have you got for young snowboarders?

Oh, I could mount my soapbox and orate for hours on this topic! But I will just say this: you only get one body so take good care of it – eat well, get heaps of exercise, and don’t smoke! Live with passion – life is too short to waste it not doing what you love, so find a profession that excites you and throw yourself into it.

Where is your favourite snow resort?

Anywhere the powder is deep and the slopes are steep. I think the best ones are in the Rocky Mountains – Crested Butte, Beaver Creek, Aspen, Jackson, Park City, to name a few, and in the Sierras – Mammoth, Squaw, and in the backcountry of New Zealand.

What type of riding do you prefer?

Oh, number one choice is half a meter of fresh powder on steep slopes in the trees at places like Squaw or Northstar. But a competitive snowboarder is who I am – it’s what I am – my favorite events are boardercross and half pipe.

Have you been to a UK indoor snow dome?

I lived in Uxbridge for about a year, but that was in my presnowboarding days – 1950 to be exact, when I was four years old and snowboarding had not been invented yet. I have not been to the UK since then (except a one-day business trip to Bristol nearly 12 years ago). In Singapore I have been to Snow City, a small snow dome. If I return to the UK, yes I would go to a snow dome.

Your top 3 healthy addictions?

Are you implying I have some unhealthy ones?!? After snowboarding, it would have to be motorcycling, flying, and taking my grandsons rock climbing. And I really like skateboarding but I totally suck at it!

Where do you see the sport and lifestyle of snowboarding in the future, say, 10 years or so?

Snowsports of all kinds will continue to be popular and will become more so after the world economy sputters back to life. Snowboarding will become more and more mainstream, and at the elite end it will become more and more competitive -- it will be harder for a young rider to become a pro. Ski resorts will move north to escape global warming – think northern tiers of Russia and China.

If you have anything else to say, just add it here.

Well, a huge thank-you to my sponsors Base Snowsports and Snowpark Skifield (both of New Zealand) and to all my many snowboard coaches and mentors.

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