Great Scott: The rise and rise of Scotty James
He’s a world champion. An overall World Cup champion. The youngest Australian male Olympian in 50 years. He competed at two Games before his 20th birthday. And if you had any questions about whether he could really mix it with the big boys – he answered them with a third place in stacked fields at the Red Bull Double Pipe and Dew Tour events last northern hemisphere winter.
We are of course talking about Scotty James, who kindly took time out of his schedule – and from posting a number of sneaky/styley snowboarding clips on his Facebook page from his recent travails at Perisher (more on them later) to speak with The Snow Gauge.
The Snow Gauge: What have you been up to and what are your plans for the domestic season? Are the NZ Winter Games on the agenda? And then what about the next northern hemisphere season?
Scotty James: I’m planning on spending most of my winter season in Perisher, they just had some fresh snow, so it’s looking like it’s going to be an awesome winter for us in Australia. Not heading to NZ for the games, I have the Mile High Event, and the Volcom team are coming out to Aus this winter. From there I’m back in Breckenridge; the Dew Tour is coming up and I’m looking to try and better my podium finish from last year!
TSG: Two Olympics before you even turned 20 is pretty amazing. What were those experiences like and how many more Games do you feel you have in you?
SJ: All my focus is now looking forward to the Games in South Korea. I like to take these things one-step at a time. Putting on the green and gold is such an honour, and I can’t wait to represent Australia again.
TSG: Last time we spoke you suggested things seemed pretty good re getting support from the national team. I’ll take it that’s all resolved and you are all on the same page re competing and getting the best possible results no matter what competition you are at?
SJ: The support from OWIA has been awesome, we’ve really moved forward as a team. Like all athletes, I always strive for the best result possible, regardless of the competition.
TSG: Speaking of the Olympics, World Cups and the like, do you ever see snowboarding coming under one umbrella for the TTR and all these events? It’s a bit confusing for outsiders I feel to get a handle on who are the best riders out there sometimes given how splintered it all is.
SJ: All snowboarders wonder the same thing at times. I would love to see snowboarding come under the one umbrella so that everyone would understand our sport more, in particular, Australians. The more Aussies that get behind snow sports, the better!
TSG: What about big air coming into the Games – a positive development? Something that interests you potentially? Anyone else in Australia particularly good at this discipline?
SJ: My main focus is halfpipe. With snowboarding developing at the rate it is, its hard to do more than one discipline. There could potentially be some Aussies that suit big air really well – so that will be exciting to see.
TSG: With that in mind do you think people will just specialise a bit more these days? It was tough for you doing slopestyle and halfpipe, and even more difficult for Torah doing the three events in Sochi.
“All snowboarders wonder the same thing at times. I would love to see snowboarding come under the one umbrella so that everyone would understand our sport more, in particular, Australians.”
SJ: I can’t really speak on behalf of other snowboarders, but I definitely prefer to focus on Halfpipe and work on my riding in the one discipline. It was tough doing two, however, it was a good learning experience.
TSG: And how is Torah these days? She seems to be enjoying herself!
SJ: We have different home mountains; I’m up at Perisher so I don’t get to ride with her in Australia all that often. In saying that, I know that she’s doing well back at home.
TSG: Tell us a little bit about the snowboarding scene in Oz at the moment, any other good young shredders coming through. Names we should we be watching out for?
SJ: It’s a really exciting time for Australian Snow sport. I’ve noticed a lot of great young talent coming through, too many to just name one or two.
TSG: And what does the future hold for Scotty James? What do, or what would you like to see for yourself over the next 10 years?
SJ: Since moving home after the World Champs, I’ve signed with the team at Volcom. They’ve been amazing to work with. The awareness of snow sports in Australia is on the rise, so I’m looking forward to seeing that impact on the next Winter Olympics Games. Obviously I’m aiming to keep competing a global level too, and opportunities like training at the Red Bull High Performance Camps allow me to continually develop my skills and work towards defending my world title. Overall though, I’m so grateful to be able to travel the world doing what I love.
A little of what Scotty and his mates have been up to in Perisher lately …