- BC Games
Passion and progression in free riding
Getting dropped off high up on a mountain slope by a helicopter to face an expansive run of powder and a terrain that offers countless opportunities for jumps and tricks was part of the World Heli Challenge (http://worldhelichallenge.com/) in Wanaka, New Zealand, on August 4 to 22.
For Jessy Brown, who grew up on Bowen Island, the event ended with a second place in women’s snowboarding. She also received the Shane McConkey Award, a newly-named trophy that recognizes a top female and a top male athlete for “passion and progression in free riding.”
“My impression of the World Heli Challenge is that it’s not just a competition but an experience,” Jessy said. “During the two-week event, I met athletes, videographers and photographers from all around the world. All of them were there to capture and create the pureness and roots of free riding. Just to experience that with so many awesome people was worth it in itself.”
Jessy said that her biggest challenge was to make sure she kept her head in the right place of mind and stay in the zone. “It’s easy to lose it with cameras all over and a recording heli flying over you,” she said.
Jessy sees competing in New Zealand as a great success on the path of following her dream. Becoming a professional snowboarder “took lots of time and effort, taking hard falls and getting back up,” the 21-year-old said.
And growing up on Bowen had a big influence on her and her life choices. “I stick true to my roots and where I came from. Growing up on Bowen Island with the freedom to build skate ramps, dig dirt jumps, go boating and swimming created my love for the outdoors and extreme sports,” she said.
“Snowboarding isn’t just a sport to me, it’s my life,” Jessy says. “[I’ve got to] listen to my gut, stay committed and on top of my game. And I’m following my heart.”
Next up for Jessy is a trip to Alaska to film with Tony Harrington and KJ Randall.
“Then back to my home base Whistler, for a full season of filming and shooting,” she said, adding that she’s hoping for a chance to connect with Bowen friends and family.
“To all my islanders, thank you for the support and awesome crazy memories. They mean the world to me. I can’t wait to celebrate with all y’all,” she said.