Sessions on the slopes: Lars Filson
By Emma Kaohi | The Broadside (Contact: email@example.com)
Emma Kaohi: Where are you from?
Lars Filson: Ashland, Oregon.
EK: How long have you been snowboarding?
LF: 14 years.
EK: Who taught you to ride?
LF: I was fortunate over the years to have a lot of really good instructors, even as a kid. I had some really great snowboard coaches in high school that helped me progress to a really high level.
EK: What are you most looking forward to this season?
LF: Either the Dirksen Derby, which I’m working on getting a spot in this year or the Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge. Really, I’m just excited for Bachelors parks because they build some of the sickest parks on the west coast.
EK: How many resorts have you been to and what were your favorites?
LF: I’ve been to eight resorts: Meadows, Timberline, Mt. Rose, Ashland, Keystone, Eldora, Bachelor, and Shasta. Bachelor is by far my favorite, though.
EK: Describe your favorite snowboarding experience.
LF: I was really fortunate in high school to go to a school that had a snowboarding team. I have tons of great memories of traveling and competing with the snowboard team. I was also part of the team to win three state championships and personally was state runner up for banked slalom my junior year. I think the best year was my junior year though, I was the only athlete from my school to be qualified in all four events (banked slalom, boarder X, halfpipe, and slopestyle).
EK: How do you prepare yourself before you go?
LF: I always eat breakfast. Breakfast is really important. When you’re snowboarding, you burn a lot more calories than you think you’re going to. Then, I pack my backpack. I always have two pairs of mittens. I make sure I have both sets of lenses for my goggles in case the visibility changes throughout the day. Then I make sure my bindings aren’t loose and my forward lean is set up how I like.
EK: What is one of the biggest challenges that you face as a snowboarder?
LF: I think one of the things that challenges me the most is learning new tricks. For a while after high school I didn’t enjoy snowboard as much, because I wasn’t pushing myself to try new tricks. When I wasn’t competing anymore, it was hard for me to motivate myself to try new stuff. After taking a lot of last season off and not snowboarding as much so I could focus on racing bikes, I feel that desire to progress and push myself coming back.
EK: What advice would you give any first time snowboarders?
LF: Don’t give up; it’s really not easy the first time. When I was working as a snowboarding instructor people would say, “Oh, I skate or surf so I’ll pick it up right away.” No. It’s completely different than skateboarding or surfing, it’s an entirely different thing and it’s really not easy the first couple times you go. But, eventually you’ll start to get more comfortable and figure it out, you just can’t give up on it. It took me years. I was on the bunny hill alone for about five or six years before I could go off and ride the rest of the mountain on my own, but when it clicked for me it really clicked, and I started to be able to learn new tricks and ride all over the mountain.
EK: What local snowboarding events are there?
LF: The local snowboarding events that I’m most excited for this season is the Dirksen Derby. That’s a really cool banked slalom race, and all the proceeds [from the pre-registration lottery] are donated [to Central Oregon Avalanche Association]. Then, the Gerry Lopez Big Wave challenge is a super classic event that Mt. Bachelor offers. It’s unlike any other snowboarding event in the continental U.S.. Also, Ten Barrel has a Rail Jam every year during Winter Fest, which is really cool. Those are probably my top three events I’m looking forward to this year. ■