Tag Archives: Richie Johnston Blog

The 16th Annual Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom

Racing back to Whislter in a rental car from Squamish I do the math in my head. Will we be able to pick everyone up in time and make it out to Big White before ‘Check In’? It’s a beautiful Spring day which makes for great road-trips and we certainly did as 7 of us squeezed our boards, boots, bodies and bags and took off down the Kokahala Highway.

An epic weekend filled with excellent snow, friendly company and a competition which is like no other. This is my 3rd season participating in this event and I can honestly say it was my most favorite weekend of the season. As I won the Mens’ 25-34 category last season it was only appropriate that I step up to the PRO division and compete with the big boys. World Cup racers and Olympic level athletes strap in beside me as I prepare myself for one of two runs down a rutted, fogged in & hair raising course. Day one went very well as I placed 3rd however a crash on a berm day 2 lowered my place to 8th overall. Martin Juare and JP Fok landed themselves with a podium! 270 keen snowboarders and snowskaters of all ages and abilities participated in what is believed to be one of the most respected banked slaloms in the world.

Many thanks goes to Flynn Seddon and his event staff along with Big White for hosting another fine event. The sponsors were proud to be part of the event and were yet again generous with their schwag and prizes. Of course there is a huge thank you to the special group of friends I had the pleasure of traveling, living and riding with over the weekend… Let us aim to make this event bigger and better for the Whistler Crew next season!

16th Annual Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.

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Whistler Blackcomb I.C.E. Awards

“Become ‘one’ with the sled…” I hear the assistant say to me as she sets my duct-tape-covered sled free. The ice 2 inches from my chin seems a lot harder and colder from this perspective… Within seconds I reach 99.5km/h down the Olympic track feeling up to 4G here in Whistler setting the fastest time and speed for the day. Memories of the Bob Sled experience a year ago flood back to me and I try to forget about the crash that happened on the same track a year earlier.

It was an honor to be selected as a winner of the 2013 Whistler Blackcomb I.C.E Awards. 3,500 employees are eligible and yesterday 16 of us were treated to a day filled with surprise and gratitude. Two weeks ago I was nominated by a couple of my supervisors as being I.C.E worthy. Inspiring Continued Excellence sum up the Core Values of WB and are an important part of the companies outstanding reputation. Mum happened to still be in town so the night was even more special with her there.

Russ Wood, one of my supervisors shared some kind words and stories. An unexpected surprise and a humbling time for me to be recognised this way. This award really is a reflection of the environment I am fortunate to work and play in. My colleagues become friends and it is awesome to be surrounded by many inspiring people here in the mountains. This way of life here allows us to freely let our passion for the outdoors excel us in many ways. It certainly is a privilege to be here.

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Mind Resolutions – LIVE!

Mind Resolutions (MR) is now on Facebook! I want to provide insightful and inspiring, easy to understand self-development resources that can be applied again and again. Even though the final website is not ready, the urge to get this project out there runs deep. This project of mine will eventually turn into a business practicing life coaching and sport therapy. The direction of Mind Resolutions is not quite set in stone, the idea of keeping it ‘plastic’, especially now in it’s early stages feels like the right thing to do. As time goes on, it will evolve into what it needs to be.
Delivering presentations, health & wellness retreats, goal setting and collaborating with other lifestyle professionals are interests of mine I would like to see grow! Inspired by the NLP certification I went though in 2012, it blends nicely with the teaching and training within the snow sports industry. It has helped me create success in sport, work and given me a fresh resourceful outlook on life.
All of your support and feedback is appreciated and helps me stay on track. If you want to make a contribution. Perhaps you would like to like the page?

Mind Resolutions
Mind Resolutions

This Magical Place

As I scroll through my Instagram photos, it seems I have a fascination with clouds and the magic that surrounds me. Every day brings new weather systems creating beautiful and inspiring scenery. The itch to snap it up these moments continue as I work and play here in Whistler, BC… Below are some of the highlights, most of which I shoot from an iPhone.

Anticipation builds as I wait patiently for my ride to the mountains...
Anticipation builds as I wait patiently for my ride to the mountains…

We 'skin' towards a not yet open Blackcomb Glacier in search of fresh snow and stories
We ‘skin’ towards a not yet open Blackcomb Glacier in search of fresh snow and stories

December treated us well with near record snowfall
December treated us well with near record snowfall

12 minutes of epic views!
12 minutes of epic views!

Always a pleasure to ride with JohnShellybro and friends. So much training to be had here, massive opportunities to practice in a rich & fun learning environment
Always a pleasure to ride with JohnShellybro and friends. So much training to be had here, massive opportunities to practice in a rich & fun learning environment

Much to the surprise of my friends, I crawled down through a wind drift to find this one.
Much to the surprise of my friends, I crawled down through a wind drift to find this one.

When snow looks like the ocean high above the clouds
When snow looks like the ocean high above the clouds

Enjoying the spray on a sunny morning
Enjoying the spray on a sunny morning

Between Whistler & Blackcomb through the glass floor of the Peak to Peak
Between Whistler & Blackcomb through the glass floor of the Peak to Peak

@Photobymaree does her warm up before an afternoon ride
@Photobymaree does her warm up before an afternoon ride

Above the clouds reminding me of Treble Cone's inversion
Above the clouds reminding me of Treble Cone’s inversion

Into the Mist
Looking beyond the Symphony boundary
Looking beyond the Symphony boundary

Waiting patiently for the bus, looking back on over 8000 acres of playground.
Waiting patiently for the bus, looking back on over 8000 acres of playground.

The heavens open above the learner slope
The heavens open above the learner slope

Euro/Russian carve...
Euro/Russian carve…

Sunny day shred
Sunny day shred

While enjoying Lunch in a guest's house I was able to get curious down to the village below
While enjoying Lunch in a guest’s house I was able to get curious down to the village below

Whistler Heli day

It is one of those days that instructors dream of. It does not happen very often and when it does it can make a season. Fortune shined upon me as I was asked to join in on a heli trip with Whistler Heli Ski. The family I was teaching that week kindly invited me along to enjoy the experience with them. The video below is my 2 minute interpretation of that experience and I would like to share it with you.
Enjoy the sounds from Civilian Sol as you see footage from the Ipsoot Mountain range North West of Whistler.

Whistler Heli 2012 from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.

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Ride Tips: Intro to off piste

John Jo from Rideclass Productions spent an hour at Treble Cone going through a couple of tips to work on feeling better in variable snow. Below is a 4 minute video… Have a fun last few weeks of the season! Visit Rookie Academy for more information.

Snowboard Improvement: Stance and Balance riding off piste. from Rookies on Vimeo.

The New Zealand Snowboarder Banked Slalom

The most anticipated competition day of the season had arrived! Over 60 competitors enjoyed a beautiful sunny day at Treble Cone, which was a nice contrast to the gloomy days in previous seasons. As I left my group of Rookies I’d been training during the morning, I headed for Shooter to complete my first run. The top section rode well, however as I approached the 3rd to last gate my board dug itself into a rut and I crashed into the bank. My left shoulder took the impact and ended up tearing a ligament, my AC joint A disappointing first run with the chance of a redemption run not an option. The next few weeks will involve physio, patience, rest and strengthening. Onwards and upwards!

Watch the video below – At 3 minutes 57 seconds, John Jo from Ride Class Productions captured a section of my run.

New Zealand Snowboarder Magazine Banked Slalom from Treble Cone on Vimeo.

Opening day at Whistler this week!

Getting super excited about the weeks to come. On November 30th, my plans to fly to Canada are still on. I’m at home in Wanaka doing lots of reading, editing video and enjoying the visits and pots of tea & coffee with visitors. I’m trying to ease myself off the pain killers, however the pain reminds me to slow things down and relax. At times it is difficult to ask for help with my independent nature, but it is there and appreciated if I need it. I’m able to get into town on a borrowed scooter and walk around, then off home for a nap.

The video below is a little different to the normal mountain video. A pretty cool way of representing an 8,200 acres of terrain. Have a watch

Mono Kidney

This time last week I was getting some anesthetic injected next too my spine and there were Doctors and Nurses scurrying around me making final preparations for surgery. The last seven days have been a blur, partly due to the countless vials of morphine and other opioids.

Six months ago Dad’s Creatine readings (to measure Kidney function) were at 500 and dangerous enough to start Dialysis. They should be between 85-120 depending on body composition. Two weeks ago it spiked above 600. He had a check up this morning and it has dropped below mine! It’s proof that the new healthy Kidney is very efficient at cleaning his blood and filtering out toxins. His legs are not puffy/achy anymore and his ability to sleep has improved. His medication tray is quite impressive though as he as many assorted pills to stop his body rejecting the new organ.

During my discharge on Friday, my surgeon and doctor knew of my energetic lifestyle and warned me to keep physical activity to a minimum for 4-6 weeks – especially lifting. The hospital staff have been wonderful and Dad and I expect a full and smooth recovery.

Below are the rest of the photos I took along the way, not so graphic this time – except of course the photo of the Dad’s kidneys in the tray…

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It is done! (Caution: Graphic photos below)

I wake to the sound of machines beeping and the familiar smell of hospitals. My abdomen feels tight and a little swollen. There are tubes coming out of my body including a catheter which drains my bladder. I vomit multiple times and the constant waves of fatigue will be something I need to get used too.

The phone rings and it’s my Dad! He cracks a joke and I instantly know he’s okay. I have spoken to him a few times since the operation took place on Monday morning. It is now Wednesday and I will finally be able to visit him.

Prior to the operation we asked our surgeons if it was possible to have photos taken throughout the procedure, or ‘harvest’ as they liked to call it. They said yes, and the assistants took a couple of shots. Read no further if you feel queazy at the sight of blood, guts & organs!

We will both stay in hospital for another day or two. The doctors need too see/hear our bowls are moving and the pain is under control – the morphine and other assortments of pain remedies are helping but often need to be paired with anti-nausia.

Overall we are doing pretty well and able to move around on our own. Dad’s operation was less invasive so he will naturally make a faster recovery. Mum, Dad and I will eventually move out and head to Dunedin to recover some more. Then I will make my way back to Wanaka before the end of the month… Fingers crossed i’ll be in Whistler soon.

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