While we are complaining about the chilly days and cold nights which are now upon us in Australia, there are some people who are rejoicing about the impending winter, including Alex Pullin. Otherwise known as ‘Chumpy,’ Pullin who is an Australia Olympic snowboarder fresh from the tracks at the Sochi Winter Olympics last year.
He grew up around the snow scene, with his parents owning a ski and snowboard business, ‘Pullin’s Ski Shop,’ in Mansfield, Victoria, for many years. The snow fields were just down the road, and Pullin began skiing at age three. By the time he was nine, snowboarding had begun to take off in Australia.
“My dad Chris got me a board small enough to ride and I loved it. From that moment on I was up the hill every chance I could get. Early morning buses on the weekends, sometimes even night boarding mid-week with some of the older boys who worked at my parents ski shop,” Pullin explains.
Nowadays, Pullin says that he spends all but one month of the year either preparing and training for the sport that he loves, or actually on tour competing.
“I love the training aspect as I learn a lot about my body every day, which helps me to improve in all kinds of areas. Working with my trainer John Marsden in Sydney when I’m home pre-season, I really like to find new ways to push my body as well as my focus.”
All of his training leads up to his world tour, which includes huge events such as the Winter Olympics and the X Games. At the most recent Winter Olympics, Pullin was Australia’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony.
He explains that it was such “…an incredible feeling! Something I really wasn’t even thinking about going into the games, but it was really just a huge honour and a great experience. It’s not something I ever aimed for as far as a sporting goal, but it was certainly a huge moment in my career.”
I ask Pullin about his experience at the Winter Olympics in comparison to the X Games. Pullin says that they are hard to compare because they are two such different events.
“I have enjoyed my time at both events, though the build-up and the following around the Olympics just creates such a huge atmosphere that you can really feel. Even everything going on all the way back home, all the people from every little past connection you feel support from during the Games just makes it feel so much bigger than any other event I have ever competed at. Other than that though, all the World Cup stops on our tour, World Champs every two years and the X Games are equally as much fun in terms of the snowboarding and the racing.”
While Pullin says that he has done some great snowboarding in Chile, Argentina and Japan, he still loves coming back home for the Australian winter.
“I grew up learning every run at every mountain and knowing every drop in spot from each little tree. It’s a very unique kind of winter, but when it’s good I just love snowboarding at home. I’ve spent a lot of time at Mt Hotham over the years and it’s still such a fun mountain to freeride. Plus when they have the SBX track up and the sun is out, I spend some long days up there,” says Pullin.
If you want to try snowboarding yourself, Pullin says you shouldn’t be afraid to give it a go. He says that good gear is a must – especially the right sort of boots.
“Once you are all set with gear, just get out there and have fun. You can pick up the very basics of snowboarding very quickly and most will say after three days that they can snowboard.”
While the rest of us mere mortals may not be pulling crazy stunts like Pullin, it looks like a trip to the snow is in order this winter!