Words: Anders Hagman. Illusustration: www.oivindhovland.co.uk
I admit that there will be some diversity, but if I’m your average pro snowboarder – like one of those on the previous pages in this glossy magazine – then I should know well the figures which follow:
About 21,000 times is the number I’ve ridden up in some kind of lift. If I’m Scandinavian I have developed a new muscle on the inside of my thigh, since most of those rides were on T-bars. If I’m central European or American I would probably have a little flatter ass than normal from sitting on chairlifts. In either case I would probably also have a slight case of haemorrhoids from being out in the cold so much.
During my 3 years on the pro tour I spent more time on the road than on my board. In my ex-pro life I could have easily become a solid truck driver as I know the Autobahns like the back of my hand. I’ve eaten at every McDonalds along them and have gathered a large collection of truck driver hats.
My frequent flyer mile program has 89,500 miles on it, even after my 2 surf trips to Tahiti.
I’ve thrown about 5 empty bottles from hotel balconies and been thrown out of 7 night clubs myself. I’ve made enemies with as many doormen as I have with halfpipe judges (2 each). The latter has attempted to fine me on at least one occasion for threatening or swearing out of disappointment at a contest result.
Speaking about drinking… I’ve probably finished 3 times as much free booze compared to what I’ve paid for. If I was a pro during the 90s, when Ballentines™ sponsored the tour, then I’d never touch blended malts again. If I was a more recent pro, then I know the name of 13 Bacardi Breezers and guzzle them like lemonade.
But my intoxications are not limited to the number of cc’s of alcohol… No, I’ve seen and likely tried about 4 “recreational drugs" out there. I’ve gathered knowledge regarding them, made up my mind and decided that they will do me harm in the long run. To give an example: on average I’ve maybe smoked 17 grams of Mary Jane, less and less each year.
In total I’ve broken 4 snowboards on purpose – for example over a sharp kinky rail – lost 2 more during flights and had 1 stolen outside a resort cafeteria. My team manager thinks 5 boards for a season is plenty, but as I keep handing them out to fans and groupies, I tend to ask for about 8 boards a year. The 3 boards left at the end of each season gather rust in a shed at my parents’ house. Counting test sessions, I have ridden more than 100 boards in my life.
I currently own 2 surfboards (also in my parents’ shed back home) and 4 skate decks. Still, I can hardly surf and I can’t skate that well either.
Did I say groupies earlier on? I’ve had almost 1 in each country I’ve visited (about 16) – and you know what I mean when I say “had", don’t you? A year later I’m able to remember the first name of half of them… so that leaves perhaps a total of 18 during my 3 years on the tour that I know the name of today. How many of them got pregnant? I have no idea, but I’ve heard from a couple… I have 0 kids that I know of.
I own 1 car which is cooler and 50% more expensive than I could really afford. But image is everything when it comes to salary – and my current salary, after expenses, is about the same as a decent normal paying job: possibly €3,500 / month. Plus expenses that is – and those include flights to Alaska every now and then. So all in all the incentive package is in the top 2% of the population – at least if you would spend all your money on snowboarding in any case. But I’m poor at maths and economics, so what do I know?
In total I’ve lost more than €2,000 on poker, including online gambling.
There is 57 gigabytes of media on my laptop, most of it made up of 27 films downloaded from my friends’ computers. The music I often sync to my 3 iPods, on which there are on average 3,456 songs, mostly fall into the category ‘acquired taste’. I’m not much for popular music and more for a ‘harder and heavier cutting edge’ at about 123 bpm.
My current laptop is my 3rd in as many years. The earlier ones went missing in action, e.g. left behind in bars or in airports. I’ve also lost 4 jackets, 1 wallet and 2 mobile phones in the same manner. Another 2 wallets, 2 digicams and 3 mobiles I’ve lost or broken on the slopes while riding with my pockets open.
I’ve traded sponsors 2 times and I’ve been on a Burton team on 1 occasion. I’ve never been invited to compete in the Air & Style, but seen it live 3 times. I try making it to any of “The 4 Opens", but when I do I only make it through the qualifiers 0.3 of the times.
I’ve spent no more years than I needed to in school and I intend to spend 0 years at university after my career as a pro rider. I have 102 connections within the industry – all collected in my Gmail account – that will help me land my next job. Once I have found my dream job I intend to work 4 easy hours per day at the most 4 days a week.
I play 24 rounds of golf per summer season at an 11 hcp level. (To all you no-golfers out there without time or money to learn this game: this is pretty good.) I have a poor temper and therefore broke 2 clubs in my bag.
There are 17 days before I’m back on snow again.
In most other senses my life is just like yours: I have 2 legs, 2 arms, 1 head and 1 heart. 5 of my bones may have more fractures than yours, but head and heart are still more or less intact, if only a little twisted from circling the globe 7 times in 3 years. All in all it’s a good life, so I stay busy trying to figure out how to continue to add to all of these numbers for a few more years…
Anders Hagman is a Swedish former pro rider with a few similarities to the “average pro" he writes about but even more differences.