12 questions for Freeride World Tour snowboarder
March 16th 8:10 pm | Sean Pearson
Davey Baird comes home to Alaska next week for Haines competition
When hometown snowboarder Davey Baird left last November to train and prepare for the 2017 Freeride World Tour in Chamonix, France, he wasn't exactly sure what to expect. This being his first world tour, Baird didn't really know how he might stack up against some pretty stiff international competition. He did know, however, that he was carrying with him some hefty excitement — and expectations — from the small Homer community that helped support him in his snow-filled endeavors.
Baird and his snowboarding buds got off to a rocky start in January, when the France competition was canceled due to lack of snow. The team moved on to Andorra, where two events were held to make-up the Chamonix shortage. Baird finished third in one competition, and sixth in the second.
The Homer Tribune recently caught up with Baird to find out what's been keeping him busy the last few months. During a long Monday layover in Finland — on his travel back from Switzerland to Seattle — Baird answered a few questions about his fresh powder adventures.
Homer Tribune: How is the food at the Finland Airport? I don't suppose they have Hot Dog on a Stick there?
Davey Baird: No, I didn't find any hot dogs on a stick, but I did have a pretty bomber English breakfast. I enjoyed it so much, I almost missed my flight!
HT: You seem to have a lot of down time between competitions. What do you do with yourself?
DB: I like to keep busy for sure. I start going stir crazy if I don't have anything physical going on. In between the comps, I've been staying with friends I've met on tour, learning to surf and just trying to stay focused. It's definitely a bit exhausting to travel for so long.
HT: And how is surfing compared to snowboarding?
DB: I've tried surfing just a few times, and it's always been a humbling experience — getting pummeled by waves. The snow hasn't been super great the whole time over here in Europe, so I had the chance to stay and surf a bit in the south of France. A new friend I met through the tour kind of talked me through it a couple times, and eventually I stood up on my first wave in Biarritz.
HT: You've been on snow since the age of 3. When you were a kid, did you ever think you would make it this far?
DB: I never would have guessed I would ever be on a world tour for anything. Snowboarding is absolutely my biggest passion in life at this point, so to some extent, it kind of makes sense. But that was never the goal.
Yeah sure. I had always thought it would be cool to go pro, but that's a pipe dream, right?
I mean, for me, it's just what I have always enjoyed doing; playing in the snow and adventuring; I'm always in it for the adventure.
My decision to compete last year came about really quickly, so I still don't really think of myself as pro. But I'm gaining on that thought — little by little.
HT: So, I'm OK with heights, but not so much with edges. Was there ever any fear involved for you — or was the adrenaline rush always enough to kick that to the side?
DB: Heights have always excited me — usually I just start giggling. Like with most fears though, the more you familiarize yourself with it, the less it gets to you.
HT: Shaun White. Too old? Too commercialized?
DB: Flying tomato, flying potato; I never really liked the guy.
HT: Skateboarders and snowboarders always seem to carry a perpetual "bad boy" status. Is that all just stereotype — or have you truly attained bad-ass status?
DB: Well, that all depends on who you ask; one might say I am a bad-ass. All dedicated skaters and riders got a bit of bad-ass in 'em.
HT: How do you get past language barriers when you travel everywhere?
DB: Definitely being familiar with at least the basic phrases in foreign countries helps a ton. You don't have to be fluent, but at least make an effort.
HT: How many boards do you currently own?
DB: Seven or eight — but most are broken now.
HT: What was your most recent competition, and how did you do?
DB: The most recent competition in Fieberbrunn, Austria was a tornado of events all in one. I ended up changing my line down at the last second, and got lost in the top section of the mountain. That didn't exactly set me up for success, but since they take the best two of my three scores toward the cut for the final two comps, I just managed to make it in.
HT: So if they ever decided to replace ice dancing with Freeriding in the winter olympics, do you have any aspirations?
DB: Olympics? What's that? Unfortunately, I've never heard of a Freeride Olympics event, but if it happens some day, I suppose I might be able to squeeze it into my schedule. Time will tell.
HT: So what's next for you amid your world of competitions?
DB: I get to come back to Alaska for the next competition. It's in Haines, and we're shooting for sometime around March 18-25. I'm really stoked, and definitely feeling some pressure to do well in the homeland. But you do what you can do, and that's all you can do — you know?
So that's what I'm gonna do.