MOUNTAIN LIFE - Blue Mountains | Fall 2018

FALL 2018 ML BLUE 73 words :: Allison Kennedy Davies When Kiersten Higginson was in her early teens, she was following the path of many Ontario alpine skiers. Enrolled in lessons at an Escarpment club, Higginson got her first clue that maybe she didn’t actually love skiing. During her full day lessons, she would book it to Squire John’s to rent a snowboard, swap out her equipment and squeeze in as much one-planked bliss as her lunch break would allow. Soon after, she came clean with her family, swapped her skis for a snowboard and quickly rose through the ranks. The next few years were a whirlwind that saw her compete on the National team and face the pressures of competition head on. A nasty injury derailed her competition dreams, but she soon found a new love of snowboarding that had nothing to do with points. MountainLife: Whendidyoustartsnowboarding? Kiersten Higginson: I skied for nine or ten years from about 3 until 12. When I was 12 I saw my older sister snowboarding and I thought that was the coolest thing. It was a challenge. I remember having this feeling that I wasn’t passionate about ski racing, anytime I was with adults I was down the hill before them—I just knew there had to be something more challenging. ML: Once you committed to snowboarding, did you rise through the ranks quickly? KH: I started competing in Grade 8, at age 14 or so. My dad was really supportive. He’d take me out for Friday, Saturday, Sunday training. I started in the Interclub Freestyle program, I did a few of those, and I was too big for that program, maybe too old. Once I got my confidence up I started doing the Ontario Snowboard comps, then Provincials and it escalated from there. The season after that, I did my first NorAm at Tremblant and Nationals were in Calgary that year. My first National in halfpipe I got second in Junior. ML: So, you were competing in halfpipe only at that time? KH: Yes, and after that I kind of went through the same cycle. I got tired of halfpipe, and I started riding more jumps and rails and being more creative. I transitioned into that and I started ATHLETE PROFILE COMPETITOR TO COACH How Kiersten Higginson fell in love with snowboarding again Kiersten Higginson at Grouse Mountain, BC. ILANNA BARKUSKY