Jamie Anderson needs no introduction. She has taken back-to-back golds at the last two Olympic slopestyle events and, with 19 medals, she is the most decorated woman in X Games history. Jamie has been wholly dedicated to snowboarding for years - and is so successful - it was fascinating to learn what snowboarding has taught her. This piece is an articulation of that. It describes the lessons Jamie has learned about her mind, body, and spirit through snowboarding.
by William Fraser
Like many young people, I always aspired to travel. I wanted to see the world. I feel so fortunate that snowboarding has allowed me to do that. I have learned so much about myself and others through travel. One of the most impactful places I've been was Indonesia. When I was there, I learned so much about Buddhist culture. It was eye-opening. I saw so much peace and contentment in their lifestyle. That experience really shifted my understanding of the world. It reminded me, and continues to remind me, of the true essence of life and that the things that bring joy are really the simple things, not the material things—which I can definitely get caught up in. In general, trips like that have expanded my mind and helped me realize the importance of compassion and understanding while showing me that the world is such a beautiful and friendly place.
Another lesson I learned from snowboarding came when I was 17. This was a big one. At that time, I had started to win many events, and I started to accumulate a lot of material gain. And, I don't know if it subconsciously got to me, but there was this one time at the US Open where all I had to do was drop in to win the overall world tour prize of $100,000! There was big money in snowboarding at that time. But I fell. I had somewhat of a freak accident, caught my edge, and ruptured my spleen. I spent 10 days in intensive care. I couldn't walk. I couldn't really do anything. It was horrible. Through that injury, though, I learned to appreciate my physical health and wellbeing more than ever. With it, I learned about Chinese medicine and other Eastern medicines. I learned about my organs and about tonic herbs to take to support them. I got into yoga. And, I got into tai chi. It all helped me with my injuries and my overall well-being. Through that serious injury, I really learned how to take care of my body, which has really helped me have a long career.
In snowboarding, I have learned over and over again how to trust my intuition. I have learned that when I don't listen to myself, things happen, kind of like that US Open accident. So, now when I have an intuitive feeling that the slope on a mountain range does not feel right, for instance, that's powerful. I listen to it. Listening to that is the most important thing people can do, even though it can be hard. At times there can be so much chatter in your head. And like expectations from photographers, sponsors, videographers, the whole nine yard. It can distract you from honing into yourself and your spirit, and getting quiet. I think that this is one of the most important things I have learned. Through trial and error, the common denominator was often me not being attuned. Of course, we need to push through that stuff at times, but it's also okay to say no and listen to yourself. In the long run, someone is guiding you, whether that's your essence, or a higher power. Learning to trust that has been a great lesson.