Jenny Jones may have stolen the limelight at Sochi, but Jamie Nicholls has established himself as one of Britain’s rising snowboard slopestyle stars. Hot on the heels of Jamie’s recently released film ‘Forged In Steel’, I caught up with him for a chat at the London Telegragh Ski and Snowboard show.
Snow.Guide (SG) – From an early age you were penned as a potential British star in snowboarding, did you feel any pressure because of this?
Jamie Nicholls (JN) – No, not at all. When I was young and started snowboarding I obviously didn’t think it would ever get me to where I am today. I was seven years old when I started and it was just a hobby that I did with my family. I snowboarded every day of the week except Sundays as my mum insisted that was a family day (laughs). I have never really felt any pressure until just before the Olympics when I thought ‘Oh my God, the whole world will be watching!’
SG – It is well documented that you cut your teeth at grass roots level on dry slopes. Do you still see dry slopes playing a vital role in the development of the next generation of snowboarders and skiers?
JN – Yeah, off course! There is no reason why not. Most of the athletes today like Jenny Jones, me, Aimee (Fuller), we all have been riding dry slopes. I started on the Halifax Ski and Snowboard Centre and I think that dry slopes still play a big part in the industry in the UK.
“I do have a massive project planned that will be based in the UK. It is going to be hard to do, but I can’t reveal anything yet!”
SG – It has been reported that since Sochi there has been a rise in attendance at the indoor snow centres, being practically a resident at Hemel, have you noticed this?
JN – I have seen it a hundred percent! I became an ambassador at the snow centre in Hemel Hempstead and since doing so, I have noticed more kids being involved and way more people going down. You should see it there at a weekend; it is hectic! They are full to capacity on almost all the freestyle nights and there is such a good vibe. The Snow Centre do a good job setting up the right things for the kids for learning new tricks. It is such a great environment and I am so pleased to be a part of that.
SG – Do you think this is just a Honeymoon period from the success of the Olympics or do you think the popularity can be sustained?
It is really hard because you can see it has had such a big effect on Skiing and Snowboarding in the UK, especially with Jenny Jones getting a medal. Everyone is really enjoying it and loving the sport but I don’t know if that will last. I think the wave of popularity can at least last till the next Olympics; I think snowboarding is recognised, finally!
SG – What do you think we can do in this country to attract more people to snowboarding?
JN – I think places like the Snow Centre in Hemel are doing a really good job to make sure they have the right things in place for the right type of person. For example, if you are young and want to get into Freeestyle they have snowboard camps like Ignite. They have all these activities for the kids to do after school and this is good for the future of the industry.
SG – Your film ‘Forged In Steel’ was released recently and was well received, do have any plans for any more big feature movies?
JN – We actually decided to do ‘Forged In Steel’ immediately after the Olympics to show how I grew up and where I came from. Hopefully it will inspire other kids to do the same thing. It was also good to look back on the Olympics because it is not really shown anymore and it is really hard to get hold of that footage. We even tried to get the run that I did in the film but it was just too expensive to buy.
I do have a massive project planned that will be based in the UK. It is going to be hard to do, but I can’t reveal anything yet!
SG – What is your favourite snowboarding film of all time?
JN – I have many! I really enjoyed watching the ‘Grindhouse’ film this year because the guys are from the UK and are all my friends. It is good to see the two different sides of snowboarding in the UK portrayed as you have riders like Will Smith and Andy Nudds putting out really good video parts in a good UK movie, then the other guys who are doing the Olympics. It was good seeing snowboarding represented on all sides so I enjoyed watching the movie.
SF – After the intense build up and training for the Olympics last season, what plans do you have for this season?
JN – I am going to Austria next week and doing a few rail comps this year. I am going back out to Tokyo for the Burton Rail Days, and a huge filming project that I want to get done and is top of my list. Just need to get the funding!
Jamie Nicholls interview by Mark Barber
Mark is also the manager of Jamie Barrow (Britain’s fastest snowboarder)