"When you're snowboarding, it's all about what you want to do and being able to go out there with your buds and totally be on your own, having fun."
Kevin Pearce, three-time Winter X Games silver medalist (Slopestyle, Big Air and Superpipe), is all about two things: riding fresh powder and enjoying every minute of it. Over the past few years, the Vermont boarder has steadily climbed the mountain, and the 2010 winter season looks even more promising.
Although Pearce played a wide variety of team sports growing up, snowboarding was more appealing because of the "self-expression and individuality" it offered. "It was difficult to always be coached and be told what to do [with typical team sports]," Pearce says. "Snowboarding was cool for me because it was outside…the normal idea of what's going on with regular sports."
While growing up, staying motivated to ride was easy—his three older brothers are snowboarders. But the key to Pearce's success was and is staying positive. He says, "I just love snowboarding so much and enjoy it. It feels so real and natural. It's never something…that I dread having to wake up in the morning and [do]."
Though Pearce enjoys daily rides down the mountain, he admits some days are better than others. As with most jobs, it can get difficult, especially when things aren't falling his way. "It's definitely a tough individual sport, and you're doing it on your own," Pearce says. "It's all about pushing yourself. You don't have a coach or a teacher telling you what to do."
Of course, he doesn't mind guidance from his close circle of friends. "I'm lucky to have such a great crew that I get to travel with," Pearce says. "We help each other out when someone's down or hurt—and really push each other…to the next level."
Pearce and his buds—top snowboarders Mason Aguirre, Danny Davis, Scotty Lago, Keir Dillon, Jack and Luke Mitrani—call themselves the "Frends Crew." The name is spelled without the "i" to emphasize the group's collective nature. Pearce's close friendships don't end on competition days, no matter who he's up against.
"That's the whole idea of action sports," Pearce says. "We are out there having fun. There [are] no teams [and] no coaches. We are just there to support each other. We're all buddies up there, and we definitely have a good time together. When you're up, you're out there to win and to throw down your best run. You definitely get focused and try to give it all you've got."
Enjoying the entire process, good or bad, is another key to Pearce's success on the board, and he urges every young rider to do the same. "I'm pretty lucky in that sense," he says. "Every day I'm psyched to go out and do what I love. It's huge [that] younger [riders]…make sure they're focused, but also make sure they're having fun. That's what it was [about] for all of us. Have fun no matter how serious it gets, whether you're at the top of the X Games or just cruising around."
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