Brotherly love bridges the gap in Rossland’s ski scene
“Brothers are not just close; the brothers are united ”- Robert Rivers.
No matter what board you ride, from skis to skateboards, action sports are an integral part of the Rossland spirit. The attitude and culture are similar for skateboarding and freeride skiing, and it’s their inclusiveness that makes them popular. Athletes are known to trade exhilarating stories of extreme races and thrilling results. While both sports started out for youngsters to find new and creative things to do on wheels and boards, a lot of learning is required to bridge the gap between novice and professional.
Freeride skiing and skateboarding is all about riding single lines and performing tricks. Another commonality between the two is the Joyce brothers. Wyatt is in 11th grade at the Seven Summits Center for Learning and Jake is in 8th grade. They are brothers in extreme action sports. As with most extreme sports, younger siblings learn by imitation. From takeoff to imitation, these action sports are great but best with a brother who’s in the know.
Freeride skiing is a niche sport often referred to as extreme skiing. Freeriders ski difficult “lines” through steep and characteristic terrain. Jumps, falls, tricks and turns through natural obstacles make this sport a challenge. The mission is simple: go where no one has gone before and successfully send down the slope.
Last winter, Jake couldn’t find a freeride ski coach, so he turned to Wyatt, who originally introduced him to the sport. “It’s the good thing to have an older brother. I’m never alone with problems – he can’t solve them all, but I just follow his lead and put my own spin on it,” says Jake. “I let him think it was his idea – and, well, it usually is.”
In February, Jake competed in the Canadian Open Freeride Championship at Red Mountain. He scored the thirteenth position on the first day. Then, with some ideas and coaching tips and tricks from Wyatt, he moved up to sixth place in the final. “I just knew he could do it. I believed in him and his abilities,” Wyatt said. “I told him that and I said, just give them the beans and send them hard!”
Wyatt also competed and received a ninth place finish for his efforts in the 15-18 division. “It’s about knowing the line, staying positive, limiting your abilities and maintaining fluid control to take on the big moves.” These all-weather siblings take their recreational sports seriously. Wyatt mentored and motivated his little brother to close the gap.
As the seasons pass, Wyatt and Jake’s energy is redirected to the skate park. Skateboarding is a sport that requires advanced balance, coordination and timing. Originally used as a means of transportation, skateboarding has evolved into both an entertaining and competitive sport. The history of skateboarding culture is intriguing, innovative and above all inclusive. Skateboarding, like skiing, transcends generations with the only limit being personal choice.
Sharing the same passion for conquering tricky freeride tricks and terrain, the Joyce brothers also enjoy the physical physics of skateboarding. “Skateboarding is a natural progression from freeride skiing or snowboarding. I particularly aim to promote the sport and involve many new young riders to share the adventure and reduce the conflict of stigma,” says Wyatt. “Unfortunately skateboarding has been associated with negative rebellious connotations which I am working to break down by normalizing the sport.” By resolving disputes and making the activity of skateboarding more mainstream, many of these false accusations will be dissolved, closing the gap. Making himself available as a role model not only to his brother but also to other interested runners, Wyatt is looking to offer his skills to coach both sports in the future.
Like all siblings, Jake has the final say on Wyatt’s goals: “I will always have a coach because I have an older brother. Elder brother for hire; just make all the payments to the younger brother, of course.