After Jenny Jones’ tremendous success at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, interest in snowboarding in the UK has never been higher.
With three top 10 finishes in the slopestyle, there’s clearly plenty of talent in the UK, but not all of it is in the Olympic events.
Jake Terry – up and coming junior snowboarder
We recently caught up with one of Britain’s up and coming junior snowboarders, Jake Terry – a 15 year old who is currently making waves in the international freeride scene.
Big Mountain Snowboarding
Freeride – also known as Big Mountain snowboarding – takes place on steep and natural terrain. There is no set course, just a start gate and finish area. In between riders can take any line they want and include any jumps or tricks along the way.
There’s clearly a lot of young freestyle talent in the UK – Team GB athletes like James Woods and Katie Summerhayes learned their skills on UK indoor and dry slopes.
It’s rare for British riders to make the jump to freeride, but in 2013 – at 14 years of age – Jake finished 3rd at the Junior Freeride World Tour in Chamonix.
Self-funded to the Freeride World Finals
Jake finished 9th at the 2014 Chamonix event in January. That result was enough to qualify for the World finals which take place this weekend in Big Sky, Montana.
After a long an expensive season, Jake had no funds left to cover the cost of the trip, but rather than give up, he put out an appeal via gofundme.com.
Remarkably he raised £1000 from 28 individual donors in just 16 days and is currently preparing to compete this weekend.
Q: Why did you decide to focus on freeride, rather than freestyle?
It happened more or less by accident. In 2011 (when Jake was 12) I met Donnie Macleod of Synergy Snowsports out in Davos.
He took me under his wing and we rode untracked treelines, bowls and pillow lines in waist deep powder on the Rinerhorn. That was the best feeling ever, putting in those turns: a real feeling of freedom.
Donnie pushed me, tweaked my riding, and got me hiking to find the best lines. I would rather hike to get one great line than lap a park all day. I still enjoy freestyle and will do the odd comps, but freeride is where it is for me now.
I’m based in Tignes this season, and been lucky enough to spend time riding with Will Hughes, James Sweet, Lewis Sonvico and Dave Seeley.
Q: You started competing at a very young age. Where did you learn to snowboard and when did you first compete?
I don’t actually remember learning. I know I had a few goes at the dry slope in High Wycombe, then after it burnt down, I started riding at Milton Keynes.
I went out on the slope after changing to say goodbye to my mates and slipped into a hole and split my shin open. It was only seven stitches, but the cut was just below the tongue of my ski boots, so it was painful to ski. Snowboard boots were fine though, so I just switched over.
I was doing both for a while and competed in slopestyle in ski and snowboard at the Brits in 2008, when I was eight.
Q: How did you secure the invite to the Freeride Junior Tour?
You have to be over 14 and under 18 to take part. I knew about the event and my dad helped me to get a licence so I could apply for a place.
Q: How do you train for an event like freeride when you are mainly based in the UK?
I spend time in the gym, working on my stamina and cardio, treadmills, bikes, rowing etc. I also spend a lot of time in the summer cable wakeboarding.
Being on a mountain riding is the best training I can get though. I don’t think I would be able to compete in freeride if I just turned up the day before from the UK – I need to get acclimatised to the altitude and that can take some time.
Q: Do you think any other British riders will follow you onto the Junior Freeride Tour?
It would be great to have more UK kids on board. I think Jake Binnee will be doing it next year. I have made some good friends with the other European guys we are a pretty tight group.
Q: What are your ambitions for your snowboarding career?
To have fun, take opportunities as they come along, live life to the full and have no regrets. You only get one go at life, use it to the full.
I’m going to get qualified as an instructor and coach next season to help pay for the freeride and see what happens. I’ll take each day as it comes.
Jake took part in the Junior Freeride Tour by Dakine. He finished 9th in Chamonix and 12th in Fieberbrunnen.
This weekend he competes in the Junior Freeride Tour World finals in Big Sky, Montana. More details at www.freerideworldtour.com
Interview by Iain Martin