Our boy Jamie just nabbed third at the Pleasure Jam in Dachstein, so we thought this was a great time to ride on the coattails of his modicum of success by posting the Liftline chat we had back in issue 132. Read on…
LIFTLINE – Jamie Nicholls
Jamie’s well on his way to making the successful transition from supergrom to established pro. He’s also one of the handful of riders who’ve come up in snowboarding despite having grown up in a country bereft of alpine terrain, so with this in mind we cornered him on a Montafon download to pick his brains.
England’s famous for its lack of notable mountains but, look at you – you’re a professional snowboarder. How does that happen?
Not sure to be honest! It all started on Halifax dryslope when I was 7 years old. Back then that’s what I thought snowboarding was… I went to ride dryslope everyday straight after school and rode for at least a few hours. It never mattered what the conditions were like so I got a lot of hours practicing. Then the Snowdomes came a long, like Sno!Zone Castleford – this was amazing; the closest feeling to riding a mountain because it was real snow, just imagine it’s like riding in a giant fridge! I always went there twice a week, which meant that not only was I riding dryslope everyday, practicing on the jump at Halifax, I was also riding rails on snow indoors. It was just a perfect set up to get were I am today.
Can you describe what makes the UK scene so special?
Everyone supports each other and knows each other. Sometimes this can be a bad thing because everyone knows what you’re doing all the time but sometimes this is a good thing too. I love the UK scene and I think if it wasn’t for everyone’s support back home I wouldn’t be sat on my sofa at home answering questions for Onboard. I also think that the UK scene is also special because it produces a lot of bosses in snowboarding, including Jon Weaver – he has come a long way from being a UK snowboarder to now been the big boss at Nike. It’s amazing to to have him coming from England and being my team manager, and also just to look up to him and maybe one day I can take a role like this too. He is someone I really aspire to!
Though you travel extensively round the world, both winter and summer, you still ride Halifax when you’re home. Can you explain what’s so rad about dryslopes or, for that matter, snowdomes?
I am glad you asked me this, because it is really something I look forward to in summer. For me all my good memories are from the dryslope days. It’s special because it’s something that’s a big part of the UK, there is so much history from dryslope. I’m sure every UK snowboarder has amazing stories to tell about their time on it. Recently I went to the Go Big or Go Home comp at Bearsden dryslope which the McCormick family put on. It’s the best dryslope comp going and it brings back some good memories when I used to ride comps like this. What pleases the most is that the scene at Bearsden is amazing, just people are so stoked and just love snowboarding! I took my Austrian girlfriend there and she couldn’t believe how many young kids were riding, she said “I think there are more kids at this dryslope comp than there would be at a comp in the mountains. This is crazy!” This made me smile because it’s true! Its’ so fun to go up to this comp and ride with everyone because I think its really important to never forget your roots!
How did riding dryslope affect your development as a snowboarder?
It’s amazing because you can’t do eurocarves on dryslope, you have to what I call slip-and-slide around like you’re on ice. So when it comes to riding jumps you have to take off the jump flat base or you slip out and land on your face. This is never the prettiest thing as dryslope is like a big toothbrush! I still have some scars on my arms from dryslope burns, haha.
Finally, a two parter: who’s your favourite British snowboarder of all time; and who’s you favourite snowboarder of all time?
That’s a really hard one because there are so many British snowboarders I have looked up to, but currently I would say I love to watch Tyler Chorlton because he has a really good style. But then also Scott McMorris was another rider who I really looked up to and had amazing style too. For favourite snowboarder of all time I think Ian Thr Ashmore because he is FAST AND DANGEROUS, he is English and drinks Yorkshire tea…. enough said!