Words of Wisdom from the Pros

By Published On: December 6th, 20180 Comments

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy a good quote that makes you think and reflect. Many great words have been spoken by insightful figures from our history, and oftentimes these words are indicative of a virtue that speaks to greater truths. The following is a collection of some of my favorite quotes from snowboarders and skiers, and the ways in which they inspire me. I hope you gain something worthwhile from reading them.

I love skiing and that’s what I want to do. I’m hungry, I’m healthy, I’m strong and life is good.” – Tanner Hall

Tanner Hall’s life has been fairly arduous in the past couple decades. After dealing with multiple near-fatal injuries and losing a close friend to a fate he nearly suffered himself, Hall went through hell only to come out stronger on the other side. This quote shows us that sometimes your passion in life may be the only thing that pulls you through dark times; that the mundanity of day-to-day living or the growing pains that come with time may be quelled so long as you have something to strive for.

“I just say, ‘Never give up’. I feel like dreams are always a little tricky, you know. But if you just push through the struggles and the hard times, it’ll be so worth it in the end…” – Chloe Kim

If there’s an underlying theme to the quotes in this blog, it’s that you should keep pressing on no matter what obstacles are in your way. Chloe Kim’s words capture the essence of doing your best to achieve what you want: Never give up; Simply spoken yet often difficult to put into practice. Although it’s not the first time someone has offered this up as advice, her admonition against easily giving up assures us that we will face trials on the way to achieving our goals, but if we keep pushing through them we may accomplish what we set out to do.

“You take a crash, you get back up and next time you succeed and that’s a great feeling.” – Shaun White

Everyone fails at something; what makes the difference between those who succeed are the ones who keep persevering through the frustration of failure. Too often am I guilty of giving things up easily or on the first try because I doubt my capability to achieve my goals, and I know I am not alone in this. When I first started snowboarding, I was afraid of falling a lot and looking like a goof; what I had to realize is that everyone goes through the same thing when they’re trying something new. These words from one of the world’s biggest snowboarding stars are a great reminder that sometimes all we have to do is try and try again; only then can we say we’ve done our best.

“Snowboarding runs my life, and I love it…I think it’s just the best thing. If I’m upset about anything, I just go and ride. Snowboarding never fails to put a smile on my face.” – Kayli Hendricks 

Sometimes all you need in life is time spent doing what you love. When things seem stressful or problems stacked too high, one of the best things we can do is take our mind off the issue for a moment and focus on whatever it is that brings us joy. As Kayli Hendricks says, that “something” for her is snowboarding. It might be the same for you; chances are, it’s something completely different. I am not advocating for the shirking of responsibility, but it also does you no good to get burned out when the candle is lit at both ends. If you’re ever feeling weighed down by life’s troubles, let this quote be your excuse to go do something that makes you happy when it feels like you can’t take any more.

I have always had this certain drive and push in me. And I have always done things to the limit. When I found out that I could have a future in snowboarding, I just took that and ran with it. I feel like the focus and the energy and the love were things that just allowed me to become that good at it. And that is how I approached my recovery, too.” – Kevin Pearce

Kevin Pearce has an insane story, and if you don’t know much about it I would encourage you to do some research or check out the well-made documentary “The Crash Reel” to learn more about it. To give you a brief synopsis, he suffered a horrible head injury while training on a half-pipe in 2009 and has been dealing with the aftermath ever since. Though even after nearly losing his life, he has never lost the drive to pursue his passion of snowboarding. As he says here, that same drive is what pushes him to remain determined in the midst of his recovery. When we find ourselves caught in the middle of something miserable, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by that misery and succumb to its grief. However, if we push ourselves to grow and get better, we can make it through most things. Kevin didn’t let his brain injury stop him from doing what he loves. Whatever hurdle you may come across, you can find that same persistence within yourself.  

“I feel it’s most important to keep it real and enjoy each moment…take advantage of every opportunity life provides, because who knows what tomorrow may bring.” – C.R. Johnson

Spoken by professional skier C.R. Johnson before his tragic skiing accident in 2010, his poignant words serve as a reminder to think of the bigger picture and make the most of our lives because we never know when that chance may end. Oftentimes I let fear keep me from experiencing something new or wonderful only to regret it later. This quote encourages me to say “yes” to more risks and enjoy every moment.

“Life is not about having a pulse. It’s about having friends and experiences and living. When all that ceases to exist, it’s not life anymore.” – Jake Burton

Following up after C.R. Johnson’s quote, Jake Burton’s statement rings true. Life is about more than just simply existing, it’s about the relationships we form and the memories we make. Whether it’s trying out a run on a new slope or traveling somewhere different with friends, there are so many ways to savor life and enjoy the little moments that make up our days. Burton’s quote represents an appreciative mentality that can be hard to have some days, but should always be our ideal perspective if we wish to lead a fulfilling life.

“A lot of people will say how a person turns their snowboard is a creative thing, or how you ollie your skateboard, or how you push on your skateboard, or ride down the mountain, what isn’t creativity? It’s human expression, self-expression. When you think about everything as how you’re moving your body, it’s all self-expression and that’s unique to yourself so when you’re on your snowboard or skateboard…no one is going to do it how you are.” – Forest Bailey

Forest Bailey is both an artist and a snowboarder, and his quote here reflects the creative mindset that bridges his two passions. The idea of self-expression, whether it’s on paper or on the slopes, is one that runs deep in the core of our being. I’ll admit though, I’ve never thought about the perspective that snowboarding can be self-expressive (unless you count the numerous amount of times I’ve wiped out as the expression of my inner monologue to keep trying even when I eat it). When we look at the activities we participate in as something creative and expressive, it brings a newfound depth to what we enjoy in life. Our ability to perform should not be seen only as something to master, but as an expression of our creativity.

“To be different you need to be confident, but it’s hard to be confident when there is so much hate in snowboarding. Stop hating, be open-minded. Stop tying [sic] to fit in, have fun, be different.” – Danyale Patterson

If everyone simply copied what his or her contemporaries were doing, life would be a lot duller. In the spirit of Forest Bailey’s quote, our self-expression is unique to our capacity to be creative. Danyale Patterson’s quote reminds us that there is no “one” way to snowboard and that we shouldn’t be ashamed of thinking outside of the box (pun intended) and more importantly, to maintain confidence in your ability to snowboard. In any scene, there are people who act as elitists and try to keep others under their boot; those people do not embody the genuine spirit of any scene worth being a part of. Snowboarding, like many other hobbies, is about having fun and expressing your true self. Don’t let fear of others’ judgment keep you from doing what you love.  

“Holy shit.” – Red Gerard

Spoken after winning gold in slopestyle for the 2018 Winter Olympics and obtaining the title of the youngest American snowboarder to win a medal in the competition, Gerard’s feelings of surprise and disbelief are captured eloquently in one simple expression. Sometimes, there are no words that can properly convey your excitement or how impressed you are with what you’re capable of.

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