03/03/2014 | by tristan
She certainly looks like she loves it – Aimee is one of the few women to regularly go inverted in her slopestyle runs, and her laid-out backflips are something of a trademark. One of them earned her her first action cover on Whitelines’ February issue, another landmark achievement in an impressive season. Given the casual way she talks about it and how comfortable she looks in the air, you might think that Aimee was just lucky enough just to be born with these talents. But while she is undoubtedly naturally gifted, it’s also clear that she works hard at her riding too. “When I’m riding, and specially if I’m riding well, I go into this like crazy zone, I just don’t stop. At the pleasure jam, I nailed that run. I must have done it like 25 times or something. I wasn’t even talking to people, I was just doing hot laps.” She takes a similarly methodical approach to learning new tricks, like that double backflip. “You just think about all the ways you like to spin and what you can do, and one trick just leads to another,” she explains. “With all the coaches and Red Bull having that airbag and stuff – I couldn’t have had a better time to try it. I had one day on the airbag, and ripped 10 to 15 to my feet, and the environment they create there, it just felt so safe trying it. So I gave it a go!”
Aimee is clearly head over heels in love with her snowboarding
Of course, just because it’s calculated and well-thought out, doesn’t mean that Aimee’s riding isn’t gutsy. She’s never been shy of just giving stuff a go – explaining how, without having ridden tons of powder, she learned cab underflips off a big booter in the Chamonix backcountry. But even that was – to her at least – a considered choice. “It’s just a backflip taking off switch, so I thought why not?” That kind of thing might be beyond most shredders, but for Aimee it’s a natural step that fits her measured, mature approach. She’s certainly not one to “huck and hope”.
In snowboarding, more so than in most sports, having good sponsors – ones who are willing to invest in your development – can make or break a career. Tales of super-talented riders who have failed to take off professionally because of a lack of sponsor support are all too common. Like her backflips, Aimee’s rise up the pro ranks looks (on the surface at least) to have been fairly effortless. She’s never had to shift sponsors, having been on Roxy since she was 16; she’s represented by Friday, one of the snowboarding world’s best management companies (with a roster that includes Jake Blauvelt and Eero Ettala); and the day before our chat, she signed for one of the best- respected and most supportive sponsors out there, Red Bull – a move she thinks will do great things for her riding. “I want to try a few different variations on the double backie. We’re looking at creating some opportunities with Red Bull.” She’s coy about the exact nature of the ‘opportunities’ they’ve been discussing, but admits “I’d like to try a cab double 9, and double rodeo.” She laughs and adds “And there’s a few other things but I’ll keep those to myself until I get them!” Given that it was Red Bull who built Seb Toots a special kicker to learn triples and funded Shaun White’s private pipe,we reckon the ‘opportunities’ could be pretty special. But while it might appear that these things just fall into Aimee’s lap, it becomes clear over the course of our chat that that’s not the case.
Like her riding, Aimee’s sponsorship choices are carefully considered. When “it all started kicking off” Roxy weren’t the only company competing for her signature. Nor were Friday the only people who wanted to manage her. “The first year I went to the Euro X Games there were lots of outside forces, people going: ‘ah, you should do this, you should do that’. Aimee though, despite being young, was far from impressionable. Rather than having her head turned by the money on offer and rushing into something, she “waited until [she] found the right people to work with.” Of course she had people advising her. As well as Lesley McKenna – Scotland’s former Olympian and now Roxy team manager – she mentions Jenny Jones (“a huge inspiration, I still look up to her now”) and Jeremy Sladen, the
head of TSA. But even with this advice, the way Aimee has successfully negotiated the endorsement minefield is hugely impressive. Especially when you realise she was making many of these decisions as a teenager!