The Bravest & Best aren't always at the Olympics. Many times a country may not have followed precisely all the Olympic committee protocol so there are times when the best athletes in a sport may not be at the Olympics. This story is one of those.
We visited with one kickass professional athlete named Martin Jaureguialzo. Martin is a pro snowboarder from Argentina who recently endured a life threatening injury while practicing an elite snowboard stunt called a cab double 9 (Very insane IMHO)
Martin now lives in Frisco CO and has a miraculous story as you will read below. This is part 1 of 2 . The next story takes place off the mountain in a small performance space where we will discuss his #1 passion, his singing and songs.
Martin Jaureguialzo flies over the ski village
PART I - Life on the Mountain
1. How did you arrive from Argentina to Colorado?
Long story long, as they say. Haha. After getting hooked on snow and getting my Instructor cert back home. A Canadian friend who was staying in the same house as I in Las Leñas, Argentina. encouraged me to try and get an instructor job in Whistler, Canada. 18yo myself, thought that was a great idea and soon after, I got offered a position as an instructor in the biggest ski resort in North America. During the following 8 years I juggled my time between work, training and competing. The last two turning into my main focus over time. After getting into FIS competitions and proving myself good enough. I managed to get in the Argentinian National team for Slopestyle and Big Air. At which point I quit my job in Whistler and started traveling to train and compete for Argentina, full time.
SnowParks in Colorado, are renowned to be world class. With progressive features of impeccable build quality. And they tend to be up an running before most other resorts.
It's for these reasons that myself as well as the rest of the team, come to Colorado to do some early season Park training before comp season start.
2. Where did you learn snowboarding, your age and when did you discover this may be your profession?
I first learned how to snowboard back in Argentina. In a resort called Las Leñas. Which is located in the province of Mendoza. Many people have probably heard of Mendoza because of its Wine industry. Almost all if not all renowned wines from Argentina, come from Mendoza. But Las Leñas, has made a name of itself because of its amazing Backcountry terrain.
I was lucky enough to have my grandma take me and one of my cousins on vacations to Las Leñas, when I was 15yo. We went on vacations there again the year after, and I was hooked on snowboarding. I enjoyed it a lot and thought I was reasonably good. Which I was probably not. But nonetheless, I was hooked and I started trying to figure out how to do it more often. I figured I could get my instructor cert and be on the mountains snowboarding all the time. And so I did.
Fast forward to today and a lot of determination, perseverance, obsession and the ability to not quit (or inability to quit, who knows) has got me to the so called “pro snowboarder” status. I never could have imagined I was gonna get this far. What I did know along the way, was that I wanted to be really good at what I was doing. And this instance it was Snowboarding.
3. In Taos NM there was a movement that banned snowboarding, Have you heard of such a thing and don't you think this is insane?
I hadn't heard about Taos but I did know about Alta in Utah. Where Snowboarding is still banned. Together with Deer Valley and Mad River Glen resorts.
I'm a natural overthinker, most of the times I wish I weren't. But I'm not gonna bore you with all of my thoughts on this matter. I'm just gonna say that whoever goes to those resorts for the sole reason of not having snowboarders around, is better off staying there. It's like how people would wanna eat a lot go to an “all you can eat” or how people that are too crazy go to one of those places. Can't remember what they're called. Anywho, we can all find our own piece of heaven in this beautiful world.
4. Describe your recent injury and your plan for recovery?
So, it all happened two days after winning The South American Cup for Big Air.
That morning there was a friendly event in which I participated. And after it, I just kept training. I was trying to do a cab double 9” which basically is taking off switch, doing a double backflip and landing regular. I knew how to do it and had done it twice earlier that day. But now I was trying to lay out the second flip. Timing didn't go as planned and I didn't have enough juice in order to bring it around. So after flying over 20 meters at full speed I went straight into a toe edge catch. Anyone who knows anything about Snowboarding, knows that catching your toe edge is bad news.
That moment would drastically affect my life for the following Months.
I ruptured my spleen, damaged my left kidney and my liver. I’d sustained massive internal bleeding and was taken to the ER. After an emergency surgery that lasted over 3 hours, the news were in. They had to remove my spleen, cut off a bit of my left kidney and stitch my liver. Doctors said I was lucky to be alive. After that I spent 37 days in the hospital, wit complications here and there. And then another 3 week with home nursing. At times it was really stressing and I won't go into specifics, or else this will go on forever. I will say this though. My dad was by my side each and every single one of those 37 days. And for that I'm far beyond grateful.
It's been about 4 months since the accident and recovery is going well. I've been back on snow for over a month and the future of my career in Snowboarding is looking bright again. I'm just taking it easy and trying not to risk it too much. I'll get back to competing when I'm ready, but won't push it.
5. As a Pro Instructor and Pro Athlete (this question is based on instruction) How do you remain patient with people who may not be as coordinated as you?
Haha good question.
Well, to be fair I haven't given a lesson in over three years. And I don't miss it.
I guess my trick was to, on one hand, get attached and feel responsible for people who actually wanted to learn how to snowboard. And on the other hand not get to fussed about people who just wanted to magically know how to snowboard and acted as if they were going to teach me how to do it.
6. What are your plans for 2018?
I ask myself the same question every day. I'm not planning much really. After a long journey and a big effort into trying to get in the Olympics, I'm exhausted. So I'm hoping in 2018 I'll have a bit more downtime. I won't stay away from the snow but I'm certainly gonna be a bit more laid back about it. And then 2019 is gonna be full on again.
7. Back in the day, skateboarders listened to speed metal or punk rock bands like Black Flag or Circle Jerks, What's Up w/ the fit between punk rock genre and your sport? What do you listen to?
I remember watching the early Snowboarding movies and they all had punk music. Since Snowboarding had skateboarding culture in its essence. It makes sense that both were related to the same musical genre.
I personally listen to almost anything. I have a Spotify playlist that goes from Post Malone through Calvin Harris to Sam Cooke. So yeah anything and everything will do for me.
GOLD MEDAL WINNER
BEST OF COLORADO