THE WHITE STUFF
Every day’s a snow day for one of our best winter sports hopefuls, Alex Kennedy. Jack caught up with rising Snowboard Cross star Alex Kennedy...
For most of us, the sky’s the limit. For Alex Kennedy that was only the start of the story. For him, grabbing big air on a trampoline, a BMX, or the snowy slopes of a snowboarding terrain park was merely the warm up act...now the 24 year old from Norfolk (via Sheffield, where he went to Uni and now spends summers) has got his sights on something bigger than all that sky: to be World Champion at Snowboard Cross.
“From as far back as I remember, extreme sports was my thing,” says the athlete, when Jack called him in from the slopes in Austria, where he spends six months training every winter.
“It was the skatepark in local town, then it was BMX, the first real taste of adrenalin! I was really into big jumps and tricks...it was all about the air time. Freestyle was my main focus,” he says.
Alex first heard about the still-young sport of Snowboard Cross from a friend at Uni.
“We were snowboarding in the Snow Dome in Xscape in Castleford, near where I live, and I did some trails. I knew it sounded perfect for me. I got into the team, and took part in the English Championships the month after and came third!”
Talk about hitting the ground running.
Now a regular fixture in the Winter Olympics, the sport’s a fast and thrilling race around a course littered with tight turns, jumps, rollers and drops. For Alex, it hit every single button.
A plan comes together
“It was like everything I’d been doing leading up to that point was exactly the training I need to nail it,” says.
The speed, the accuracy, the focused power and the competitive edge - all essential Snowboard Cross attributes were the exact same thing Alex got from cliff jumping or BMX biking.
“I love the technical aspect of it, the buzz and the racing...it’s like the best bits of all my favourite sports,” he says.
Since then, Alex has achieved third place in Big Air at the BUCS Alpine Championships and second in Team Duals dry slope racing and 3rd place in individual dry slope racing.
Now his Uni course is over (he graduated in Mechanical Engineering last summer) Alex has started his racing career in earnest, competing in FIS (Fédération Internationale de Ski) approved races, to gain the ranking he needs to qualify for World Cup-level competition.
“Every day, I get on the mountain for first lift - focusing on jumps, or technical training, range of motion, working on speed or improving board control. Then, in the afternoon I’ll hit the gym to build up my strength...I’m living the dream,” he laughs.
Putting the hours in
But, to live that dream, Alex is in no doubt - you have to be 100% committed to putting the hours in.
“Commitment is so important. The first time I ever tried a backflip was on a trampoline when I was a kid, and I landed on my head. I kept trying and trying and I landed it that day. Since then I’ve committed to thousands of flips until I could do a standing backflip. If you want to achieve your goals you have to commit to practices, habits and a lifestyle that’s going to get you there.”
“Keep going, don’t quit, and believe in yourself,” he says.
With an attitude like that, Jack has no doubt we’ll be seeing Alex on that podium when the Winter Olympics next come around, in Beijing in 2022. And we know the lad’s skin will be in tip top shape too, as he’s a total convert to our range.
“The shower oil and face wash leave your skin feeling so clean and smooth. After what my skin goes through every day on the mountain...it’s brilliant. And they all smell amazing!”