Montana State University student Michael Mawn is representing the U.S. at the Freeride World Tour 2022 in Spain.
The competition will start on Saturday local Spain time, weather depending, for the competitors (late Friday night for Montanans). Mawn has been snowboarding since he was five years old and competing ever since.
Mawn tried several different disciplines, including half-pipe, but felt a passion for freeriding. Freeriding is not an Olympic sport because of the scale and terrain type needed, according to Mawn.
“You can kind of think of it as backcountry skiing and riding; essentially there is a face of the mountain with a gate at the top and a gate at the bottom and as long as you go through both gates,” Mawn said, “you can take any line down the mountain you want.”
Competitors cannot practice on the mountain that will be used for judging; however, they may examine the face that they will be riding from afar. Using binoculars, Mawn is able to see where that starting gate will be and decide which line of the mountain he will use.
“I’m going to go for a trick in the middle of my run that I’m really looking forward to, that pushes me a little bit—it’s always a personal battle. You’re always competing against other people, but you’re also competing against yourself,” Mawn said.
Mawn is one of two men representing the country on the world stage and feels honored to do so.