03/03/2014 | by tristan
“At Bromley dry ski slope there was only one snowboarder, and he’d always bomb down from the top and do a little ollie method over the knuckle. I always thought ‘I wanna do that, that looks cool!’”. With her parents working in Washington DC, Aimee got the chance to try it out herself on the small icy slopes of nearby Pennsylvania. “The local hill was an hour and a half away, so I started going every other weekend, and then it would be motocross in between. But motocross was less easy to get to out there, and I preferred snowboarding, so then it became most weekends.” The Appalachian mountains of the East Coast are not particularly high, but they tend to make up for it with quality parks. Right from the start it was this aspect of snowboarding that attracted Aimee. “I’d ￼￼go up with my friend and we’d just hurl ourselves off little jumps and rails – we couldn’t even really turn, we just went straight to the park and started chucking ourselves off stuff!”
But while her talents were growing, being so far removed from an active dome or dryslope scene meant they were going almost entirely unnoticed in the UK. On top of this, her mum and dad were about as far from the pushy parent archetype as you can imagine. These days, Aimee says, they’ll watch the comps and they regularly pop up on her Facebook with encouraging comments, but for ages “they didn’t really know that much about it. It’s only really this last year that they’ve started to understand the scene and they’re starting to get to know everyone.” At the same time, although she knew she loved it, Aimee had no idea how to develop snowboarding as a career. “I never really realised it could go that way, doing comps and stuff.”
Things could well have stayed that way, with snowboarding being just a hobby, for after three and a half years in the US, Aimee’s parents would be moving to Belfast. She explains: “It’s not like anyone snowboards there. I was like ‘can I even do it?’ I honestly thought that when I moved back that it might be it, that might be me finished with snowboarding.” Thankfully, fortune was about to interve and help her riding get the recognition it deserved. Lady luck in Aimee’s case came in the form of Roxy rider Erin Comstock. “I’d begged my mum for like a year and a half to be able to go to a snowboard summer camp, so they eventually packed me off to High Cascade. We were moving back to the UK in September, and in the August I went to Mount Hood. Erin was my coach for the week.” Although Aimee describes herself as “a total punter” something about her riding and her attitude obviously impressed Erin, and she put in a good word. A few weeks after arriving back in the UK, Aimee had “a random call” from Stine Brun-Kjeldaas, Roxy’s European team manager, inviting her out on a Roxy camp. “So like two weeks later I was off to Switzerland, to Saas-Fee. And pretty much from that camp I got sponsored by Roxy. I still can’t believe they sponsored me! But I guess they must have seen some potential.”
I was a total punter, I still cant believe Roxy sponsored me!
Whatever Aimee might have thought of her riding at the time, Roxy’s talent-spotters weren’t wrong. In just a few short years she’s gone from being that “total punter” to being a key member of Roxy’s global team, and one of the best riders on the women’s circuit. Last winter she stood on the top step of a major comp podium for the first time, winning the Pleasure Jam in Dachstein with a run that blew the likes of Cheryl Maas and Sarka Pancochova out of the water. She also claimed third behind Jamie Anderson and Cheryl Maas at the Roxy Snow Pro in Saalbach. Most impressively, a few weeks before our interview, a video emerged online of Aimee landing a double backflip at the Red Bull performance camp in New Zealand. She is one of only four women to have ever done the trick, although of course, she modestly plays down her achievement. “It was amazing, but I guess I’m an upside-y down kind of person. I enjoy all the other stuff, but I guess I just really love going upside down, it gives me a real kick.”