Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pro Snowboarder Johno Verity is Stoked to be British

Images courtesy of Animal, by Dan Milner

1. Hometown?

Chamonix France for the Winter, North Devon in the summer

2. What does it mean to be British?

Hopefully the ability to take the piss out of yourself. Cucumber sandwiches, lawns, tennis, Pimms. Fish and chips, East enders. Don't know what they all mean, but I'm stoked to be British.

3. You were caught in an avalanche and made a lucky escape recently. Describe what happened and how you felt.

I have snowboarded and Heli skiied in New Zealand before though not in the the Mt Cook area. We had been sitting in a remote hotel watching it snow for about 3 days waiting for a clear day so that we could fly. We were there filming with a production company that were making a show ironically about avalanches. When the weather cleared up it was pretty much perfect conditions for riding the snow was deep and very light as it had stayed cold.

We were riding down a fairy mellow run about 35 degrees, with nothing too technical down it which is why I thought it would be a good run to follow cam him (this is where one snowboarder rides down next to another one filming. He came in from my right and off a small drop, he landed about level with me, by this time I had a fair bit of speed to keep up with him though was concentrating more on keeping him in shot than what was going on around me, I knocked off some speed and remember being surprised with how much snow my board had kicked up, then I felt a huge force around me and I was swept off my feet as I broke up and started pulling speeding up. I was trying to see if there was any exit and was trying so hard to stand up and ride out but it was traveling too fast to do that so I just swam to stay on the surface. after about 20 seconds loads more snow came from behind which flipped me onto my front and then piled on top of me, I was holding my hand over my face and trying to keep and air pocket as I felt it get heavier and heavier and darker, I remember thinking this is it I'm going to die being buried in an avalanche.

It had all filled into a gully and I was pretty sure I was in the bottom of it. Luckily though the weight of the snow drove it and me down into the gully and as it was going so fast blasted me out over a lip, it took me another 2 or 3 hundred meters down, I had snow jammed into my mouth and throat, so I was hacking that out so try and get some air while I slid down that next face. It left me sitting on top of the snow about 700 meters down from where it started, I checked my camera which was still recording and pointed it at myself to get my reaction. It has made for pretty interesting viewing, couldn't have turned out any better for the production company.

I was panicking when I realized that i was caught in the slide. At first I was really just trying to work how how big it was. It was pretty difficult to work out. When I started to get buried I was really scared as I knew there was a gully below, these are very dangerous as they act as a terrain trap, if you are caught at the bottom of it and the snow pours in on top of you it can fill up very quickly. there were about 2 football fields of snow coming down on me they slabbed off at about 2-3 feet deep so it is very easy to fill a pit in no time at all. Any more than 2 meters and you are in serious trouble, even if people find you at record breaking speed digging down that far will take a long time.

4. Use 3 words to describe your last snowboarding trip

Powder, jumps, farts.

5. What are your future snowboarding goals?

I'd like to continue doing what I'm doing for a few more years, stay uninjured and land a double backflip bs 180 on film. Dom Harington does them and they look so rad.

6. What would improve snowboarding in general ? (The industry, sport, lifestyle)

More imagination and creativity. Natural lines, less trampoline style jumps.

7. Today Johno Verity is feeling ........?

A bit hungover with a sore knee that is getting better every day.

8. Who are your sponsors?

9. Any final thoughts or words of wisdom?

If you're not part of the solution you're part of the cure.

BSA would like to thank Johno for taking the time to answer these questions

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