"That was one of the best days I've ever had on snow. Instantly things were back to normal. After a couple turns it felt like just another day on snow!"
After an incredible debut season in 2014-15, riding to third in the men’s snowboard-cross SB-LL2 at the 2015 IPC Snowboard World Championships, Canada’s Alex Massie has been training hard, winning multiple medals at the X-Games.
This season the 21-year-old stepped onto the podium twice in the men’s snowboard-cross SB-LL2 at IPC Snowboard World Cups, showing his improving consistency in a deepening field.
IPC Snowboard asked Massie about the first time he tried the sport after his wakeboarding accident five years ago. It turns out he found out about para-snowboard in the same way a lot of riders did.
“Shortly after getting out of the hospital I was sent a video that was talking about trying to get snowboard cross into the Sochi Paralympics,” Massie said. “Already planning on returning to snowboarding, the first thought across my mind was ‘That’s what I’m going to do!’ It was an opportunity to compete again and I was eager to jump all over it! It’s been a long journey ever since, but definitely not one that I regret.”
Massie, whose accident resulted in his left leg being amputated above the knee, had always been a keen snowboarder.
“I have been snowboarding as long as I can remember, but only just recreationally as snowboarding often fell by hockey’s side for most of my childhood” Massie said.
“After my accident in the summer of 2011 my return to snowboarding was delayed after breaking my knee three times over in the December of that year.
“After a long rehabilitation process a year had passed by and the snow was back again for the start of the 2012-2013 season in Southern Ontario [Canada].
“Chomping at the bit to get back out there and carve up some turns, I saddled up and went to Mt. St. Louis Moonstone with two of my brothers.
“That was one of the best days I've ever had on snow. Instantly things were back to normal. After a couple turns it felt like just another day on snow!”
Massie decided to go one step further and compete but he was not convinced at first he had made the right choice.
“My first race was at Horseshoe Resort, about 20 minutes outside my hometown of Barrie, Ontario. Pulling into the parking lot I was still a little unsure of what to expect and even if I would like racing at all,” he recalled.
“Coming from an entirely freeride/freestyle background I wasn't all too keen on the idea of someone telling me where to ride and so I threw a good old method off of the only jump they had on course.
“When I got to the bottom I was hooked! Unfortunately that day didn't go quite as planned, I got a little excited in the second turn and squirrelled out. Maybe that had something to do with the lack of edges on my old park board!”
The rest is history for Massie as he now prepares to improve on his bronze medal from 2015 at the 2017 World Championships and for his first Paralympic Winter Games at PyeongChang 2018.