Tag Archives: Richie Johnston

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.

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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One year Transplant Anniversary

A year ago today my Dad and I were able to go through an operation that has changed our lives forever. What the surgeons and their team were able to do is quite extraordinary and has since given my Dad a new lease on life, in every sense. The new found energy, fitness and general well-being has helped him be more resourceful, healthier and ultimately happier. Mum and Dad are able to go on bike rides and enjoy their active lifestyle again like they used too.

Last week we designed and constructed a 6m long retaining wall which required a lot of digging and general grunt lifting everything into place. It makes me feel very proud and honored to have helped him feel the way he does now. It blows me away the improvements I have seen and I feel humbled to have made a difference.

As there is always a chance Rob’s immune system will reject the new Kidney, he will continue to take his medication every day for the rest of his life. It is also quite important to avoid periods of sun exposure as it can counter the usefulness of the drugs. The awareness and quality of our diets has always been pretty good and we continue to avoid foods which are loaded with preservatives and additives. Too much sodium in anyones diet cannot be a good thing and it is important that we give our Kidneys an easy work load to prolong their longevity.

It is pleasing to know that I have not noticed any physical limitations due to the operation. I continue to wear a helmet and spine jacket while snowboarding and do cross training, balancing exercises which give me a little piece of mind when I ride. The support from my Sister, Mum and those close to me means a great deal to me … bring on the next year!

Here is a photo of my most amazing and supportive parents!

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.

10 months & 30 years

It was a little surreal attaching a Snow Park lift pass to my Mum’s snowboard jacket. Myself along with some of the Rookies were getting ready for a day of riding park, along with many pro riders warming up for a competition. Brook rode with the Rookie crew and it was really nice to shred with Mum for a day. How many can say that!?
30 years ago Mum and Dad celebrated bring me into the world! A little over 10 months Dad and I went through successful operations and recoveries from a Kidney transplant. So far so good! Below is a short video I made to say thanks to my Mum (and Dad) for everything they’ve done and said to bring me where I am today.

Thanks Mum! from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.

Somewhere in Fiordland, New Zealand

It’s been an exciting fun-filled couple of weeks since the season in Whistler finished up. Kenrae and I enjoyed a week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Family time in Christchurch followed by returning to Wanaka friends, just in time to see the Black Seeds perform.

I couldn’t think of a better way to experience New Zealand after returning home from my travels and the proof is below, however as i’m sure many of you know – the photos never do it justice. It was only meant to be a few days on the West Coast with Colin and Warrick however it turned into a week of waves, kayaking, hunting and fishing.

Due to a storm passing over the South Island followed closely by a King tidal system swamping New Zealand’s beaches, our plane was unable to land safely and pick us up. Oh well. I could think of worse places to be stranded! We had enough food and plenty of activities to keep ourselves occupied which made for an amazing week.

A video of the trip, including surfing footage will be uploaded to my Vimeo soon.

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15th Annual Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom

My heart beats faster and butterflies flap furiously. I strap my feet into my bindings and feel the board glide towards the start gate, this wax was a good choice. A blend of Rolling Stones and the announcers voice prepare me for my first run. Breathe!

This event is in memory of Neil Edgeworth, an influential Canadian snowboarder who passed away in 1997 in an avalanche in Chamonix, France while filming a photo shoot with friends.  The first banked slalom was in 1987 and was reintroduced in 1997 with an average of  245 people per year. A record 259 this year!

Once again, the Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom was a huge success. Riders young as 9 and old as 67 who love snowboarding come to Big White, BC and enjoy the spirit of competition. Keen riders, mostly from the Okanhagan and BC area ride down a natural gully full of ruts, berms and rollers. Crashes and fast runs are equally cheered with support even coming from the Ridge Rocket chairlift which passes overhead.

Flynn Seddon, Director of Terrain Park at Big White Ski Resort “The Neil Edgeworth banked slalom has defined itself as an epic true spirit gathering for the sport of snowboarding.  The gathering represents what snowboarding is all about and that is friends having fun.  The industry sponsors who support the banked slalom showed just how much it means to be a part of the weekend by donating over $25,000 worth of prizing and $5000 dollars in cash.”

My best time was done on day one, 1:18:98 placing me 1st place from 54 riders in the Male 25-34 category. During the presentation Flynn shared to everyone about my Kidney donation at the beginning of the season. I think it is awesome for people to know that donors can recover quickly and get on with their passions in life, with one of mine being snowboarding with friends.

2012 Neil Edgeworth Memorial results:

Thanks to all the Events & Terrain Park crew, Cathy from BC Snowboard Association, competitors, spectators, families and friends who made all this possible.

Photo credit: Jonnie Millan

It’s been 10 weeks!

Ten weeks ago my Dad and I underwent surgery in Christchurch Hospital. My procedure was an Open Nephrectomy, to give him a new lease on life by donating my left Kidney. 2011 presented some unprecedented challenges for both family and myself that I could never have anticipated. Although tough and stressful at times, I reflect on my journey and see it as more learning and appreciation for this life I lead.

An already strong bond within our family grew even though we live, at times a great distance apart. Our holistic approach to life helped us acknowledge the negatives and encourage the positives. The Initially I was afraid. The “What ifs” consumed my thoughts and I was scared for my Dad and my personal health. The more I researched the donation process and reading/listening to stories of success the more I wanted to go through with it. When I found out my blood and tissue type was a match with my Dad, I was overwhelmed with excitement.

Since the operation the 20cm scar is a reminder of my Dad, support of friends & family and general love for life. With the help of incredible surgery and hospital facilities, the donation has evolved to become a privilege for me. The bond between my Dad and I has reached a new level and as I read back on previous blog posts, all our goals have come true. He has the energy and freedom to do the things to better fulfil his life and share those experiences with Mum. Dialysis was super helpful and kept him alive and it was great to see his diligence with diet, routine and responsibility.

It has now become a new responsibility to look after his new gift, which his immune system could reject at any time. The assortment of drugs he takes will encourage his body to accept the new organ and this can last up to ten years functioning well. With his two redundant kidneys still left (which now probably resemble raisins) and my new one, he can return to a life full of enjoyment weather its dancing with Mum, biking, skiing and volunteering at local events.

Below is are some highlights from the weekend. After teaching a guest in Whistler, he and his mother shouted myself and Kenrae on a Cat trip into the hills just South of Whistler. Deep powder and large grins every run, every turn. It’s been a true test of my patience waiting until my body was ready for riding again,  an awesome way to remember 10 weeks on and celebrate it with waist deep freshies.

Thanks for reading and watching!

Cat Boarding from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.

Cycling around some Alps

One of the reasons for taking on a trip like this was to get myself in the best shape possible prior to donating one of my Kidneys to Dad. Anyone can get in a car and enjoy this part of the world, however the experience becomes so much richer on many different levels using a bike. As I edit this trip together I am counting down the days before I can snowboard again. I’m in Whistler, Canada and it’s been almost 5 weeks since the transplant and I feel pretty good to ride next week!

The video below is a documented video of Christina & I cycling around part of the Southern Alps of New Zealand. We enjoyed surprisingly nice weather considering the coast’s damp reputation, that was until the last day arriving home in Wanaka.

Powered by copious amounts of snacks including One Square Meals, Whittakers Chocolate and assorted nuts we claimed 1026km over 8 1/2 days.

Wanaka – Makarora – Lake Paringa – Fox – Hokitika – Arthurs Pass – Methven – Farlie – Omarama – Wanaka

Thank you to all our friends and family who met at the Federal Diner in Wanaka and supported us. Enjoy the 6 minute and 30 second to showcase the awesome trip we did.

Alps Loop from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.

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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