What a week!Â With plenty of ups and downs last week’s shred sessions certainly made their mark in more ways than one.Â Wednesday night saw The BoyfÂ and I heading over to SNO!zone MK for a private shoot, not only was it a chance for The BoyfÂ to get some shots of the SNO!zone sponsored riders, but due to a cunning plan dreamt up by Senior Park Shaper & Team Manager Thom Boddington there was a little surprise for the team.Â Not only was there a super fun park to shred but we had a handful of extra riders there to spur us on even more than normal…..enter the Salomon/Bonfire Pro Team who were in the country as part of their Team Vacation.Â The team only had 2 scheduled stops to meet riders in the UK but Thom spotted an opening in their schedule and managing to get in touch with the UK Salomon Team Manager, the lovely Fuller, convinced them that an after-hours shoot at MK would stop them getting bored and give them a chance to have a quiet shred and get some shots/video for the vacation edits they’ve been putting out.
Getting the team along was no mean feat, these aren’t your normal shredders, this was Scotty Arnold, Chris Carr, Harrison Gordon, Viktor Wiberg & Jed Anderson….so mad props to Thom for thinking this up and managing to pull it off and thanks to Fuller for bringing the team along.Â Shredding with these guys has to be my best session ever, not only did I get to shred with Scotty Arnold (who’s one of my favourite riders having starred in the Afterbang movies) but just having uber-pros in attendance really made me step up my riding…as you can see from the photo of me gapping the bench! Â The Boyf almost missed the shot the first time I did it as he was expecting me to do my normal slow press along, but a mixture of Kodak courage and a determination not to embarrass myself by looking rubbish in front of the visitors really made me step it up.Â In fact The BoyfÂ spotted the pros commenting on my back-lip 270 attempts off the pipe and apparently I got a whoop from Scotty as I gapped the bench!
It was a truly amazing night and I had so much fun, I was still buzzing on the session when it came to riding again on Friday night.
Friday was another great night, the setup was mostly the same as the session on Wednesday so I was feeling quite confident and was soon back into the flow of things, so much so that I started to contemplate hitting the yellow rail at the top of the slope, this had quite a hefty jump on to it but it seem to be about the same height as the gas pipe so I figured I could give it a try.Â Mentioning this to Gary Walsh he offered to take me through how to do it and assured me that if I followed his guidance that I’d be able to do it.Â Gary’s one of the amazing local riders, who kills it on the rails weekly, so I was more than happy to take his advise.Â Taking me through it step by step with in snow diagrams and instructions for each phase of the trick I was soon giving it a shot, each time got a little better from a slight tap of my board on the rail to a brief slide on it before dropping off.Â Each time I really tried to listen to his feedback and work on the minor corrections he was giving me (drop in a bit higher for more speed, a bit further over to give me a better line in etc.), all was going well and then it happened….mega-bail, I didn’t get the pop timing quite right, it all went a bit wrong and the next thing I knew I was smacking down on the metal bar on my left upper arm.Â I was up out of the snow pretty much straight away reassuring The BoyfÂ (who was shooting at the time) & Gary that I was OK and then took myself to the side of the slope of a quick assessment of whether I was broken or not. The pain was incredible and I felt like I wanted to throw-up, but my hand could clench OK, I could bend and straighten my arm and move it in a circle, hurrah, it didn’t feel broken.Â Slams are horrible, especially when they sneak up on you, as this one did, and this left me feeling really shaken.Â Not one to be beaten though I rode down, grabbed a drink of water to try to shake off the sick feeling and then squared up to give it a go.Â A bit more guidance from Gary and I managed a couple more attempts before the feeling of sickness really started to distract me from trying to do the trick.Â At least I gave it a go so the fear isn’t going to be too great when I try it next time the rail is out.Â One of the most important things when you have a bad fall is to try the trick as quickly as you can afterwards to avoid getting really scared and avoiding it the next time you ride.
So thanks to Gary (plus additional advice from Alex & Neil) I have at least given it a good shot and I’ll be back to make sure I get the trick nailed as quickly as possible.
Bruise at 2 hours post slam
Bruise at apx 36 hours post slam – getting nice and purple now
Not so close