If there’s one man that knows a thing or two about speed on snow it’s Alex Pullin Image:: Red Bull Content Pool
Mountainwatch x Red Bull | Recap
Two weeks ago in Mt Hotham, Alex ‘Chumpy‘ Pullin’s snowboard cross camp, Chumpy’s Boarding House saw eight of the best up and coming riders in Australia brought together for a week of mentoring and performance coaching with Aussie snowboard legend. Five of the participants were handpicked by Chumpy who recognised them as the next generation of top-tier riders and the final three were selected from the SSA Futures camp the week before. This high performance camp focused on honing the athletes’ technical skills and giving them a holistic understanding of the sport to prepare them for every aspect of being a professional athlete, under Chumpy’s wing.
The project is very close to Chumpy’s heart as he aims to impart all of his knowledge to the next generation of snowboard athletes, with the help of his sponsor Red Bull. When Chumpy first approached Red Bull about the idea for this high performance camp, he reiterated that the focus would not only be on honing the athlete’s technical skills but on developing them as a professional athlete with a holistic understanding of what it takes to become the best in the world.
Chumpy explains the intricacies of edge control to young gun Tamara Cowley. Image:: Red Bull Content Pool
As the week rolled on, each day was different as the camp focused on the behind of the scenes of what it takes to be a pro-snowboarding athlete. Day one kicked off with an inspirational board tech session by Ross Hindman, a man with over 22 years experience in coaching and fine tuning equipment at the highest level. Ross’s passion, knowledge and quirkiness certainly hit an accord with the captivated athletes.
This energy then translated into the afternoon session which focused on fine tuning body position leading into heel and toe banked berms, followed by a fun, yet challenging freeride session without highbacks.
Skills are only half the battle, you need the wax to match. Image:: Red Bull Content Pool
As day two dawned, the weather delivered with clear skies and light winds, the team took advantage of the conditions and spent the morning at the top of the boarder cross track focusing on starts and start gate positioning. The aim of the game was incremental gains out of the blocks. Australian Coaches Ben Wordsworth and Harald Benselin were on hand proving real time feedback and video analysis which allowed the athletes to focus on a stronger and faster release out of the gate.
Tamara is hungry for success, and Chumpy’s Boarding House was the perfect environment in which to soak it all in. Image:: Red Bull Content Pool
Winning is as much about what you do on the track as what goes on behind the scenes. Harry Routledge the Port Adelaide Football Club’s nutritionist came to Chumpy’s Boarding House on day three to have a chat to the athletes about the role food plays in high performance sport. After a short presentation each participant sat down for a one on one session with Harry where they developed an individually tailored nutrition plan.
Races are won and lost at the start gate. Image:: Red Bull Content Pool
Day three also took an in-depth look into the media side of being a pro athlete. All participants lined up for their individual portrait, some reluctantly while others had certainly posed in front of a lens before. By the end of it, there where three wardrobe changes and make up just to get one shot. This was followed by everyone putting down the boards and donning the shovels to hand build a unique pump track in between the houses in Hotham Heights. A long afternoon and night on the tools resulted in some of the most creative some well earned shots of the crew.
By the end of the week, as the athletes munched on cereal eyes were fixated on the Australian Athletes competing at the Olympics, thinking it would be an easy day to end the camp. But Chumpy saw an opportunity to prepare them all for what was ultimately to come, and as quick as that each Athlete was hauled in front of a camera to perform a mock interview, having to answer all the hard questions, a requirement of modern media that Athletes these days are all to aware of.
Fast, loose, and low. Image:: Red Bull Content Pool
As everyone packed their gear and started to process what happened throughout the week, Chumpy parted with some words of wisdom, “I look forward to seeing you all on the starting blocks next to me in the future.”
Parents bundled up their groms in the back of the car for the long trip back to Jindabyne where they would take the learning from the past four days into the next race and hopefully contest Chumpy for the Banked Slalom title.
All these kids look up to Chumpy. Imagine spending a week with your hero? Image:: Red Bull Content Pool