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Katie Tsuyuki - For the love of powder

Katie Tsuyuki is a freestyle snowboarder whose discipline is halfpipe. She is a member of the Canadian National Freestyle snowboard team

I always feel so lucky to be a part of a multifaceted sport. I love riding the half pipe and learning new tricks and then bringing them to competition where I can showcase them. However the best aspect of riding is the time off where I can go riding with my friends.

I came back to Colorado this week after a long stretch of competitions where I learned a lot about myself and had a ton of fun. Nevertheless, after the Canadian Open and the Cypress and Quebec World Cup I definitely needed a break. I was told it had been snowing here in Silverthorne, so I took advantage of my break from competitions and booked a ticket to the United States. It started snowing the night I arrived and has continued for the past four days.

On the first day at Copper Mountain Resort there was a fresh 20cm of glistening white snow on the ground and clear blue skies above. The snow was taunting me, asking me to slash it with my board.

We rode to the top of the mountain, three chairs and a t-bar to the peak. When I reached the summit I looked out at the surrounding snow covered peaks and with a broad smile pasted across my face, and thought ‘I am so lucky to be doing this’. Then I popped on my headphones, cued up some electro music on my Walkman, threw out a high five to my best friend and then dropped in on the powdery slope.

Many are afraid

After going down the peak we came to a section of trees. Many are afraid to venture here; it requires great control of your board and precision turning, so these sections normally have the best powder on any mountain. I turned down my Walkman so I could hear my friend as we slashed and weaved though the knee deep soft snow dodging trees.

It is awesome watching the snow being kicked up and heads bobbing while the trees are whizzing by me. We finally got to the bottom of the trees and I had to wipe off my goggles from all the snow that was kicked up into my face. I look over to my friend and we both had a plastered look of rush and elation. My powder battery was being charged.

We attacked the rest of the mountain, doing 360s and 180s off of anything that looked like a roller or bump. We sprung over small trees and sprayed each other with snow whenever the chance was presented. By the end of our first run my legs were already burning, they were not used to the long runs because pipe riding is a mere 30 seconds a run with a chair lift right after. Even with the burn I was, as us riders say, stoked.

To people who do not know, the only way to describe the feeling of riding powder is to think of magic. It’s like surfing or wakeboarding but you have the freedom to go wherever you can imagine. Go down open slopes, drop a shoot, or my favorite, rallying though the trees; snowboarding is a vehicle that will take you to epic places.

Always be with a friend

The best and safest way to enjoy the sport is with a friend. I encourage everyone to acquire enough skill to ride powder; it will boost their love for snowboarding.

I’m sure my powder shredding will enhance my pipe riding over the next week. I’m in a place that has the best concentration of maintained pipes in the world.

There are a lot of goals on my list to complete before I head to the next round of competitions that are the US Open, Canadian Nationals and the Grenade Games at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

I will be back to work very soon, but as I have mentioned before balancing fun and play is so important. Now I am thrilled to be living by my own teachings through example.

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