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16 October 2014

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Interviews: John Mitchell from Dundee
Can you introduce yourself?
My name’s John Mitchell, I’m 43, I’ve been snowboarding for 14/15 years.

Have you always snowboarded?
Before that I skated for a few years. Maybe four/five years from the early eighties into the early nineties. So I’m quite an old skater as well [laughs].

Do you still skate?
No. Not really, no. It’s too much pain. Every single slam means pain in skateboarding.

How did snowboarding take over?
Well, there wasn’t as much pain when you slammed [laughs]. It’s also faster, it’s smoother and it has bigger parks.

What was the Scottish snowboarding scene like in the early years?
Very few guys. Like, there were a couple of guys in Glenshee, a small crowd in Aviemore, and Nevis Range hadn’t even opened then. Basically, there were 20 guys between Aviemore and Glenshee and it was like that for a good three to four years. It started kicking in around ’95/ ’96. That’s when the crowds...well, not ‘crowds’, but when more people started getting involved. I think they also got involved as the snowboarders got better, because skiers were seeing boarders doing things that skiers couldn’t do in ten years and the boarders were doing it after two or three years. So it was obvious that snowboarding was going to be huge, just because it was so easy.

Did you ski before you snowboarded?
No, I never. I never really tried it and don’t really want to either [laughs].

How did the skiers take to the snowboarders when it first started?
There was a lot of aggression and they didn’t like the snowboarders because at that time you were out of control and you were smashing into the backs of queues and crashing into skiers and we were all like the beginners are nowadays. Now you’ve got instructors to help you, so learning is a lot quicker, but in our time, for the first couple of years, you would be out killing everyone on the mountain [laughs], so it wasn’t taken to very kindly. That only really happened for a couple of seasons though, and then, as people started getting better, the skiers became more aware of it and it wasn’t so bad.


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