Megan Smith is Better than You.

 

Well, that is to say, she’s better than me. And that can be a hard thing for an old balls rider like myself to admit. But really, it comes as no surprise. I used to be a snowboard instructor at Powder Springs, which was the tiny, one-lift ski hill that pre-dated Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

Megs was born and raised in the Stoke, so she was always part of the high school groups that would come up to the hill as part of their Phys. Ed. Curriculum. She was a crusher then, and she’s a crusher now. Not to mention Powder Springs’ old double chair (The Powder Slug Express!) getting replaced by a 4000 foot gondola and a couple of high speed quads.

That seems to have helped too.

It would be all too easy to say something along the lines of “she shreds like a man”, though it would be more appropriate to say something along the lines of “she shreds like most guys wish they did.”

Megan Smith sends a massive air out towards the valley she grew up in.: Photo: Antoine St-Onge CloutierMegan Smith sends a massive air out towards the valley she grew up in.: Photo: Antoine St-Onge Cloutier

I had a chance to rip a whole buncha laps with her at RMR in January and, given that it had been a solid eight years since we’d hit the slopes together, I was really looking forward to seeing how she much she’d progressed…

A lot.

She’s progressed a lot.

Right off the bat, I was having a hard time keeping up with her and then *BAM*, she popped a half cab 180, meaning she’d been riding switch, meaning I suck. And once she was back standing goofy-footed, all bets were off.

Megz turns 15 into 25 with a solid dose of speed and an uncompromised pop off the tail.Megz turns 15 into 25 with a solid dose of speed and an uncompromised pop off the tail.

She was popping ollies off cliffs into hardpack, spraying high speed slashes under tree boughs and she stomped the absolute shit out of a nasty drop that had just bloodied up the beautiful man-face of a visiting pro snowboarder. (*Cough* Andrew Hardingham *Cough*).

Good stuff, right?

This is what CHARGING looks like. Megz puts the landing gear down in the Revelstoke backcountry.: Photo: Don W. SmithThis is what CHARGING looks like. Megz puts the landing gear down in the Revelstoke backcountry.: Photo: Don W. Smith

Twice in less than two weeks, I came around the corner to find her crumpled in a ball, bracing her neck or whatever else she’d just mangled in an over-expenditure of high octane enthusiasm. And I remembered how back in the day I used to encourage her to pick her battles so she wouldn’t hurt herself.

But she didn’t listen.

The good ones never do.

* * *

 

Enough of my ramblings.

Here’s what Megan has to say about things:

So when you were growing up in Revelstoke, RMR wasn't there yet. What was Powder Springs like?

Powder Springs was a haven for eager kids who wanted to charge steep pow lines and push each other. Whether we were shredding together or watching one another from the lift hitting the classic tower hits under The Powder Slug. The steep, consistent fall line seemed to breed shredders from a young age.

How did the transition from Powder Springs to RMR affect your riding?

It made me a stronger rider, and allowed me to develop a mountain sense because of the access the resort offers, and the range in the terrain. Being able to shred a mountain from top to bottom taught me how to understand the flow of a mountain which helps when I'm exploring new zones on my splitboard.

What was it like growing up in Revy?

It's a pretty special spot to grow up in. My crew of friends is life long, and that is one of my favourite reasons for growing up here. The endless activities the mountains provide in  summer and winter have been what’s kept me here.


How has the town changed since RMR came in?

There has been a bit of a rebirth in the town with the young generation. I'm sure when you lived here for those brief seasons, a typical Friday night at the Regent might have involved a fight with a sledder from Alberta because there were no girls there to distract the drunken male population. Now, nights have more girlies roaming around than guys sometimes, which seems to result in less fights.

(The ski hill) has brought a lot of people here, seasonally or to start a family, and it's good to see the growth in the community. Restaurants and pubs are packed after a good day of shredding. It's good for everyone who embraces the change.


Have you been spending more time in the Backcountry lately?

With the draw of the ski hill, and the consistent snowfall in this valley, I tend to shred the resort most days of my season. I have a splitboard and get out for a few good missions, and I have nice friends with sleds who let me tandem up for sled laps, so there is definitely exposure to it.

There is a lot of room to explore more. But the mountains aren't going anywhere, and that’s my plan so I don't feel a lot of pressure to always be going out there. A free lift to the top of a mountain such as Mt. Mackenzie (Revelstoke Mountain Resort) via a gondola and a high speed quad is pretty appealing to me.

If you look closely, you can see me stopping and hiking up a little to get around this feature. Just kidding! But seriously.: Photo: Taken from Sean Barret's footageIf you look closely, you can see me stopping and hiking up a little to get around this feature. Just kidding! But seriously.: Photo: Taken from Sean Barret's footage

How is it that a shredder like you doesn't have any sponsors?
There have been a couple friends who have helped me out along the way. Local shop owner, Karl Jost [Society] helps me out whenever I go in to see him. And just recently my friend, Nicole Forsher [Cross Rep.] has been able to throw some gear my way in the last year which has been amazing. And a buisness accosciate of hers, Greg Battrum [Bataleon Rep.] very recently set me up with a carbon shred stick. So I've had a fair amount of help along the way, but nothing concrete.
There are probably a few reasons why I don't have a solid sponsor or two, but I think the two biggest factors are that I don't market myself, and I freeride.
 

I've seen you take a few epic bails in my time riding with you....good shit really....but it makes me feel like being good at what you do is important to you. What makes you so hungry?

I think there is a lot of respect to be gained by skilled and calculated decision making whether in shred situations, or the every day shuffle of life. So I like to be good at what I do, and how I go about it. I think once I'm out shredding, the adrenaline just takes over.


Ooohh yeah. I almost forgot! You took the title for the women at the GT Memorial Noboard Race this year, no?

Yes!


What was your run like?

I had the first heat, so it was as fresh as it could get. I got ahead of the group, and pointed ‘er straight, mindful of the tree tops of course!


And how many times have you ridden sans bindings?

My lap for the race was my 3rd time without the shackles. Today, after waking up to 30cms on the roads, Benny Parsons and I had a throwback day on the lower mountain of the resort (Mt. Mackenzie terrain, pre Powder Springs era) on the noboards that was absolutely mind blowing.

 "I work from 11:30pm-9:30am (7 days on ,7 days off) grooming on the ski hill, so I'll bring the gear to work, and stay up until I feel unsafe to myself and others for being awake for so long.": Photo:http://www.roycesihlis.ca/"I work from 11:30pm-9:30am (7 days on ,7 days off) grooming on the ski hill, so I'll bring the gear to work, and stay up until I feel unsafe to myself and others for being awake for so long.": Photo:http://www.roycesihlis.ca/


What's a Standard pow day for you during your work week?

I work from 11:30pm-9:30am (7 days on ,7 days off) grooming on the ski hill, so I'll bring the gear to work, and stay up until I feel unsafe to myself and others for being awake for so long I think you got to witness a bit of that while you were in town.

 

Haha…yes I did! It was awesome! And what do your weeks off usually look like?

My week off can vary depending on what the snow is up to. We didn't have any fresh last week, so I took the week to hang with my dog. This week off a group of us are heading into a cabin with sleds and touring gear to camp out for a few nights, and check out the surrounding terrain. Other weeks off, it could just be hot laps off The Stoke.


Sounds like a solid program. Thanks Megs!


Werd!


Like she said, Megs does get some support. Here are a few links to those who have helped her out:


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