“Brothers aren’t simply close; brothers are knit together.”- Robert Rivers.

No matter the board you ride from skis to skateboards, action sports are a big part of the spirit of Rossland. The attitude and culture are similar for both skateboarding and freeride skiing, and it is their inclusivity that makes them popular. While both sports started for young people to find new and creative things to do on wheels and boards, a great deal of learning is involved to bridge the gap between novice and pro.

Freeride skiing and skateboarding consist of riding unique lines and performing tricks. Another commonality between the two is the Joyce brothers. Wyatt is in Grade 11 at Seven Summits Centre for Learning, and Jake is in Grade 8. They are brothers in extreme action sports. As with most extreme sports, younger siblings learn through imitation. From takeoff to knockoff, these action sports are awesome, but better with a bro who is in the know.     

Freeride skiing is a niche sport often referred to as extreme skiing. Freeriders ski challenging “lines” through steep and featured terrain. Jumps, drops, tricks, and turns through natural terrain obstacles make the sport a challenge. The mission is simple: go where no one has gone before and successfully send the slope.

This past winter, Jake could not find a freeride ski coach, so he turned to Wyatt, who had originally introduced him to the sport. “That’s the good thing about having an older brother. I’m never alone to face problems–he can’t solve them all, but I just follow his lead and put my own spin on it,” says Jake. “I let him think it’s all his idea–and, well, it usually is.” 

In February, Jake competed in the Canadian Open Freeride Championship at Red Mountain. He scored thirteenth position on the first day. Then, with a few ideas and coaching tips and tricks from Wyatt, he soared to sixth place in the finals. “I just knew he could do it. I believed in him and his abilities,” said Wyatt. “I told him this and said Just give ’em the beans and send it hard!” 

Wyatt also competed and received a ninth-place for his efforts in the 15 to 18 age division. “It’s a matter of knowing the line, staying positive, throttling your abilities, and staying in control fluidly to take on the big moves.” These all-season siblings take their recreational sports seriously. Wyatt mentored and motivated his little brother to bridge the gap. 

As the seasons change, Wyatt and Jake’s energy is redirected to the skate park. Skateboarding is a sport that requires advanced balance, coordination, and timing. Originally used as a method of transportation, the skateboard has evolved into an entertaining yet competitive sport. The history of skateboard culture is intriguing, innovative, and most of all-inclusive. Skateboarding, like skiing, transcends the generations with the only limitation being one’s personal choice. 

Sharing the same passion for conquering complicated tricks and terrain from freeriding, the Joyce brothers also enjoy the physical physics of skateboarding. “Skateboarding is a natural progression from freeride skiing or snowboarding. I especially aim to promote the sport and get many new young riders involved to share the adventure and reduce the conflict from stigma,” says Wyatt. “Unfortunately, skateboarding has been associated with negative rebellious connotations that I work towards breaking by normalizing the sport.” By addressing conflict and making the activity of skateboarding mainstream, many of these false accusations will be disbanded, thereby bridging the gap. Making himself available as a role model for not just his brother but other interested riders, Wyatt looks to offer his skills to coach both sports in the future. 

Like all siblings, Jake has the last word regarding Wyatt’s goals, “I will always have a coach because I have an older brother. Older brother for hire; just make all payments to the younger brother, of course.”

Seven Summits Centre for Learning