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Checking-In with Spark Team Riders

We checked-in with 3 of Spark R&D's favorite people to see what they have been up to after their winter was abruptly cut short by the global health situation. 

 

It seems that everyone’s life has changed a lot over the last few months in one way or another. Plans have been interrupted, moms and dads became school teachers, and essential workers have stepped to the front and kept our communities safe and moving forward. Here in Bozeman at Spark HQ we had to shut down production for a month, so we took the opportunity to help make injection-molded respirator masks. For some, the changes have brought major challenges, for others, more of a nuisance as they wait for things to return to normal.

 

We checked in with a couple of our Spark R&D Team Riders just to see how they have been doing, staying busy, staying sane, and staying in shape. We mention staying in shape specifically because many of us would still like to do more splitboarding this spring! May can be prime backcountry time, but you can’t do as much if you’re completely gassed on the skin track.

Robin Van Gyn

Photos: Colin Wiseman

How have you been fairing through all the changes over the last few months?

RVG: Staying at home is a serious lifestyle change for me for sure. It was not as hard as I thought it would be, however, knowing how many people were affected and how bad it could get, staying out was the least I could do. I found a lot of time to get my life in order and pick up on things I had procrastinated on. It’s actually been a nice time to just chill and reconnect, this may never happen again, so I took the opportunity to be still for a second, can’t say I haven’t enjoyed it a little bit.

 

Where have you spent most of your time?

RVG: I was in Pemberton for the first month of quarantine. We only rented a place there, so we just moved out a week ago to go back to Vancouver Island now, with tons of work to do on our place out here.

 

What have you been doing, in general, to stay busy and stay sane through all of this?

RVG: Sleeping in and taking the time to have some empty space to be creative. I also took the time to start painting a bit with watercolors to get my mind off the news and current situation. Experimental cooking really ramped up too, somehow, I found a way to make use of every little thing in the cupboards, it’s a challenge and it’s fun to figure out what you can make with it. Every morning I take my dog Stella for a run also, just a little sip of that fresh air is nice early in the morning. I gotta have it.

Photo: Colin Wiseman

Did you have any winter plans interrupted?

RVG: Oh yeah, big time. I have been working on a project called “fabric” and basically 70% of our film trips got canceled, which is a huge bummer, but I am sure we will pick up where we left off and hit the ground running when the time is right. It’s not so bad when you remember that we are all in the same situation, no one finished the winter strong so it’s comforting knowing that we're in it together.

 

Do you have any spring split missions planned if you are able to safely get out this season?

RVG: We did tour a little bit up on Duffy Lake road in the beginning, but when we started to realize that we had no backup and if anything went wrong we would be impacting the systems that were already intensely stressed, it just wasn’t fair to continue. We had planned on going to the Tordrillos on a camping/splitboarding trip with Leanne Pelosi and Marie-France Roy - that was a 2-week mission that we had been looking forward to the entire winter. On top of that Marie and I had a plan to traverse across Vancouver Island, but again, there is too much risk involved in anything like that.

 

What have you been doing to stay in shape? Do you have any favorite exercises or routines?

RVG: I have been doing lots of at-home workouts, like dance classes with Ryan Heffington (who is the BEST), yoga, H.I.T. workouts, even started doing 10-minute abs which is hilarious….and of course, running with my dog, Stella. My favorite by far is the dance class @ryanheffington, its free and it’s a bit of a sweat and a hell of a release!

Antti Autti

Photos: Olli Oilinki

How have you been fairing through all the changes over the last few months?

AA: First, it was hard to accept that the most important part of my season would be over. I mean where I live in Northern Finland, we haven't had too many cases and you hardly notice the epidemic in health level of things. But the economy up here is getting a huge negative hit and basically everything is closed. For the big picture, I really needed to stop everything at first and figure out the scale of this pandemic to really understand what the world is dealing with right now. Once I understood the magnitude of these issues it was much easier to adapt and start looking for alternative options to enjoy my spring. Meaning I would most likely not be going to play in the mountains much during this time. Luckily though we can move freely in our home county and go do some small touring and riding etc. so that has opened my eyes to enjoy local spots much more.

 

Where have you spent most of your time?

AA: At home in Rovaniemi, Finland. I live about an 80-minute drive from bigger fjells (mountains) etc. so I can go there when conditions have been ok but generally, I've just been at home and doing a lot of things here.

 

What have you been doing, in general, to stay busy and stay sane through all of this?

AA: I like to dream about new projects and areas I want to go so I've been trying to study a lot and really think about the stuff I need to get better at. I've also started this online business school which is a good opportunity for me to get into more specific details of the stuff I want to do with my snowboarding and freeriding career.

Photo: Olli Oilinki

Did you have any winter plans interrupted?

AA: Yes, a lot and mainly my biggest splitboarding project so far called ROAM was interrupted fully because of this pandemic. Once things started to move in a bad direction with COVID-19, we decided to put most things on hold because it just got to a point where doing things we’d like to do would not be responsible anymore. I mean, in general, doing things that have a bigger risk level are not good at the moment and I felt that I simply cannot continue making a film that I would release in autumn where I would have done most of the activities during this pandemic.

 

Do you have any spring split missions planned if you are able to safely get out this season?

AA: Yes, I hope the borders in Sweden and Northern Norway open and we can go to continue making the project. The film won't be ready this year, but we will start working on it again if the current state of the world allows it. If that is not possible, I'm most likely going to go for some short camping trips in Finnish Lapland to enjoy a long evening run on corn snow!

 

What have you been doing to stay in shape? Do you have any favorite exercises or routines?

AA: I do quite a lot of training. I live only 1km from the local ski area and forest trails, so I go there to ride/splitboard a few times a week and on top of that, I run quite a lot. Basically, just keeping the momentum going on in this current situation.

Photo: Jaakko Posti 

Griffin Siebert

Photos: Jack Dawe

How have you been fairing through all the changes over the last few months?

GS: Doing alright, definitely makes you appreciate the small stuff. I have an amazing house I live in with a big backyard, and awesome roommates. Due to SLC's proximity to the mountains, we are allowed to go recreate as long as we follow the safety protocols. Without those things, the quarantine would be a whole lot worse.  

 

Where have you spent most of your time?

GS: Most of my time has been spent in my backyard to be honest, been getting super into gardening. Also, I am making a little movie coming out this fall, so it has been nice to have a creative endeavor to put some time into. I also had no idea how to use adobe premiere, so it was a perfect time to learn a new computer program, what an awesome tool it has become.

 

What have you been doing, in general, to stay busy and stay sane through all of this?

GS: My roommate and I were planning on making some raised garden beds last fall so the timing was perfect.  Been trying to turn the yard into a mini-farm with what resources we have, so we can grow some tasty plants. Been biking a bunch, whether it is just peddling around town to get errands, on the trails in the foothills on my mountain bike, or biking to our favorite local curb with our skateboards on our bikes.  We have been on the hunt for mini-skate spots, and it has kind of reignited my love for skateboarding. I get much more satisfaction out of waxing up a fresh little curb or manual pad and learning a new trick than I ever would get at a skatepark. We will also occasionally go up to the snow and go for some walks on the splitboard to get some fresh air. I am pretty good at finding little projects to work on around the house or art projects, so the downtime hasn't been too bad. Also cooking every meal has been amazing! trying out new recipes and ideas.

Grif's Garden

Did you have any winter plans interrupted?

GS: Oh yeah big time, my April/Early May was basically booked up at the time. Forrest Shearer and I were supposed to go on this really cool splitboard/bike trip in the southwest at the beginning of the month that we had been planning all winter. I was also supposed to go back to the Lofoten Islands in Norway with Nitro for almost the rest of the month of April. It's definitely a bummer but in the grand scheme of things, people are going through some really tough times, and worrying about not going on a snowboard trip is pretty selfish since we need to come together as a whole so we can get through this public health crisis.

 

Do you have any spring split missions planned if you are able to safely get out this season?

GS: Yeah always wanted to go shred Shasta in California, I have friends that go ride it almost every spring. I usually cannot go due to prior springtime obligations, and my summer job starting up in May. But, this year I have no summer job and no trips so hopefully the stars align.

 

What have you been doing to stay in shape? Do you have any favorite exercises or routines? 

GS: We call them jailyards at my house, basically, it just means working out in the yard haha. We have been jumping rope, juggling the soccer ball, doing workouts on a yoga mat, lifting mini weights with rocks and soup cans, doing shoulder PT with bands, lots of pushups and pull-ups, and right before the quarantine kicked in I went out and bought a hangboard so having that has been nice to keep the finger strength up a bit for climbing when everything mellows out.  My local skier friend Johnny Collinson is crazy strong, but he has been posting creative cool workout routines that you can do on a yoga mat at your house with no weights that I have been hyped on. So, thank you, Johnny!

A big Thank You to the Spark Team Riders who took a moment to check-in and let us know what they've been up to. We hope everyone reading this is staying healthy and hanging in there!

 

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