Living his BAÏSTLife.
We are continuing to highlight our BAÏSTLife Crew, made up of several talented athletes who push our brand to the limit and always live their BAÏSTLife. We recently featured Alexis Audisio, and now we are highlighting Matthew Vankka, a free skier from Calgary, Alberta. Alexis started skiing at the young age of two at Kickinghorse Mountain BC, a true thrill seeker's resort. He ski raced for about six years until making the switch to competing on the IFSA JR big-mountain circuit. Want to know more? Read on and get a peek into Matthew's life:
Do you have any funny stories or special memories of being on the slopes?When you ski with some of the craziest personalities that I do, you tend to have some memorable moments. One of which stands out. My friend and I were hitting a jump side by side. I specifically told him that the lip of the jump was very kicky and NOT to take an overwhelming amount of speed into it. However, my advice was not heeded and he overshot the jump, hit a tree, and plummeted face-first into the cat track. To top it all off, a stranger came off of the same jump and slammed into him. To say the least, we were all in tears from laughing and no one was injured, miraculously at that!
How do you start each day and what does your morning routine look like?I start most days the same, following my little routine/schedule.
I enjoy waking up and listening to music throughout my morning, this helps set the tone for the day and wakes me up a little! After completing all of the personal hygiene necessities, it’s time for breakfast. Admittedly, I am not a big breakfast eater but I try to make something healthy and tasty, I love making omelets or Eggs Benedict! Some mornings, I'll help my parents out by walking the dog or waking up my siblings. Usually, I will make time to go to the gym before school or stretch before skiing. This gives me some time alone to reflect on myself, organize my thoughts, and think about my goals for the day. After which, it's either off to school or skiing!
What makes your riding style different from others?
I believe what makes my riding style different from others is my mixture of technical and aggressive big-mountain charging with a playful and energetic flow.
What is your home mountain and what are your favorite parts about it?
My home mountain is KickingHorse, which is located in Golden BC. I would have to say that my favorite part of the mountain is a secret zone called the Heavy Metal Shoots. It’s relatively steep, and always deep! It’s also the same hike as the T1 hike, meaning that I can head up to some other rowdy terrain if need be.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever traveled to ski?
I have traveled to California, yes the Golden State, for NORAMs. Simply put, it was the longest and most painful drive of my life — mainly because I tore my patella and meniscus tendon in my right knee, this doesn’t bode well with a 25-hour drive.
What do you do in the off-season to stay in shape?My off-season is quite hectic, I usually joke around and claim that I never have an off-season. Typically, you can find me in the gym six days a week for anywhere between 2-3 hours — it can be time-consuming. In the gym, I try to focus on the fundamentals for my strength and structure. This is where a lot of the grunt work takes place. One of my big rules is TRAIN LEGS. I know it seems drab, but it’s so key to creating a strong foundation for things like stomping big airs and straight lining through bad snow, among other things. For example, the first week of Christmas, I hit a back squat personal record of 475 pounds! However, this does not cover the bulk of my cardio and endurance training. For this, I try to mix it up and have fun, whether it’s playing lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, swimming, or something as simple as running an insane amount of stairs. On top of all of this, I train water-ramps, airbag, trampoline and dryland with my ski team! It is important to remember that a strict diet is crucial to maintaining a physique which suits my lifestyle. All of this ensures I get the most out of my body when I need it!
What hobbies do you have other than skiing?
Among other things, I enjoy philosophy, reading, looking at/taking pictures of the stars, going to the gym, hiking or just being in the mountains in general, investing, listening to music way too loud, debate, and trying to learn piano at a late age — currently, it is not going that well.
You are headed out to the hill: What's in your pack? Tell us your 5 must-haves.
Good question, I see this as relative to whether I am going to the hill or the backcountry. However, I shall answer as if I am going to the hill, seeing as that is where the majority of my riding occurs. Five things that I simply cannot live without are a set of radios, a shovel (for shaping and building), an extra pair of lenses/goggles (you never know when you’ll need them), a pair of PitVipers (in case of emergency), and some tools (in case I need to crank my DINs to 16 for optimal performance).