The Demon Shredmaster

Posted on Monday 28th March, 2011 Times Viewed: 3455
I’ve just been slapped in the face with a big dose of reality, and really wish that wasn’t the case. The past 2 weeks have been some of the most awesome days on snow with some of my closest riding buddies, on what could have only been described as dream spring conditions.

On our last night on camp, on the final camp of the season, (once the carnage had subsided), we all became quite emotional – but in one of those states where you’re honest about everything you say. And the results were a handful of us riders just openly sharing how much these camps mean to us – and how much we love sharing these moments on the mountains with such good friends – old and new.

Admittedly the alcohol-fuelled conversations drifted somewhat, but it made me realise it wasn’t just me who felt so strongly about the camps – we all feel the same.

Word- Kaz Willmer
Week 2 was very different from week 1.

After the continual snowfall of the previous week, making for epic powder days and tree lines through fresh stuff, week 2 provided those spring conditions you wait all season for. After late morning starts, allowing for the hard pack to soften up, we spent long afternoons in the park. Although I’d never before seen myself as a 'park rat', we all got a dose of the most perfect park conditions - immensely groomed, empty, and features for all levels and progression. Soon the park became an addiction, something I never thought I’d hear myself say, and I found this week that the park demons were conquered – and what a feeling that is!

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We were under the guidance of Steve Addicott – professional snowboarder and trainer to the junior GB team – and he pushed us even further every day. On Day 1 he converted our stance from jazz-handed riders, to gangster-style shredders, and it felt amazing to feel so natural and relaxed on the slopes. It also meant we were concentrating on our tricks, not our riding.

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The exercises didn’t seem like they’d help, but when it came to practice, everything just fell into place – and I can honestly say this happened for all of us throughout the whole week. Things just kept clicking, and that I can’t thank Steve enough for.


The week before, I’d been scared to hit the blue kickers in the park, but although it took a dose of Ice Cube from the top of the park to give me the injection I needed, by Day 2 I had hit my first red kicker in the park – and landed it! A couple of my buddies went for the black kickers, and landed them too. It’s more than amazing to not only clear your own demons, but to watch others clear their own demons too. It was down to Steve Addicott that this was happening, and for that I can not respect him anymore.

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After 6 days of BBQs in the sunshine, beer on deck chairs, afternoon park sessions in 22-degree Italian sunshine, and some top-speed cruising, the boys had convinced me to hit the black kicker, but unfortunately as we approached the park on the last day, it was closed. But the silver lining was that we went to the top of the mountain, and found an untouched powder ridge, where we spent the last afternoon playing with nollie frontflips to the backdrop of the Aosta Valley. As my first ever attempt, my nollie frontflips were more like glorified forward-rolls, but it had never even crossed my mind to try something like that, so that I was stoked about. Some of the lads who had tried it on the last camp finally stomped the tricks and I was so stoked for every one of them, because they deserved that.


Pila was an awesome location for the camp, not only because it was Steve’s home mountain so he knew where to hit, but it was completely empty, with stunning views, and more than enough terrain to keep all of us happy. We also had pro-rider Ewan Wallace with us, who was awesome to watch cruise the mountain, jumping off everything in sight, and he was more than happy to help us with practicing tricks we wanted to stomp.


From front and backside 180s, to 360s, nollies, ollies, tail-taps and more, every one of us came back with something new in our bag of tricks, which wouldn’t have happened without these camps.


With the Aosta Valley at our fingertips, nights out were always immense, with Italian bars interlinked with Roman walls and decorated frescos. The last wander back through the cobbled streets from the Gecko bar to the minibus home, pina-coladas in hand (yes, something else Steve made cool – and they’re amazing!), was a mixture of carnage and emotion, before the shenanigans kicked off back at the hotel.


We’ll all be back next year without a doubt, and I hope every one of my buddies knows how awesome it is to ride with you, and for all your support throughout the week. And 100% respect to Steve for helping every one of us conquer our demons. This reality shot may be hard to deal with now, but at least it gives us the chance to realise how much these camps mean to us – and start dreaming of next season already.

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