Snowboarding is all about having fun and living happy. It is an individual sport that is much more enjoyable when you do it in groups of friends! Riding park, competing, and performing can be exciting but only if it’s done in the right environment. Everything starts with your coaches, and how they can inspire you to get better not only on your snowboard, but as a human being. Today we introduce you to Nichole Mason, Head coach and founder of One Team INTL in Colorado, who’s been nominated International Coach of the Year by US Ski and Snowboard. This is a certification that does not come without hard work and dedication. We are honoured to partner up with Mason and highlight her awesome contribution to the snowboard community. We caught up with her to find out more about the challenge of building a coaching business, the advice she likes to promote and the incredible program she runs for Adaptive Actions Sports. Nichole is all about giving back to the sports that shaped the outlines of our lives and for that, we couldn’t be happier to support her movement by providing natural healing solutions.
So Nichole, thanks for taking time to share your story with us. So first and foremost, tell us why you got into coaching and what were the challenges of starting your program.
There are a few reasons why I followed the path to coaching. First, my father always took time to coach my sports teams growing up. Even though he worked 50+ hours a week to support our lifestyle, he showed up as my coach and biggest supporter. He never let me shy away from being the only female on an all boys team and that gave me the strength to excel. Secondly, my love and passion for snowboarding. Being able to give back what was taught to me. There is something so special about this community and the camaraderie that comes with it. That feeling and stoke has to be handed down to the next generation of rippers! The biggest challenge of starting the snowboard program was launching it mid pandemic. There were some definite adjustments to be made and new challenges that arose. However, it led to some beautiful new partnerships, tough athletes and supportive parents.
That’s awesome. Shout out to the rad dads out there, we cannot wait to see the next generation grow up. What does the program look like this season? Any cool trips or events to mention for anyone interested to join this winter?
The program is multi-faceted. We are offering a full and part time program for athletes at the NorAm and World Cup levels. This program will be supported by a staff of two coaches, a sports therapist, access to physical therapy, personal video review, basic guide on nutrition, basic guide on personal prehab, rehab & work outs along with one day a week of tumbling with a professional coach at WoodWard Copper to increase body awareness & flexibility. Our program takes more of a holistic approach to being an elite athlete and what it means to achieve peak performance when it matters most. We are open to international athletes. Registration is still open for the 2021/2022 season. Outside of our November-April training, we offer elite camps at premier locations to supplement year-round training. We will be headed to Europe in September for a month and a half of training to prepare for the season. This involves attending both sessions of The Stomping Grounds, Saas Fee. A top rated private park to prepare for the upcoming season of World Cup competition. This trip has been filled to its full capacity. Upon availability, we offer private coaching and drop in days.
Wow that sounds like a very complete and exciting program, congrats. You started coaching in 2011. What main changes have you seen happening in the coaching world over the last 5 years?
Honestly, the coolest turn over in the last 5 years is seeing ex pro snowboarders turn into really good coaches, really fast! It’s always great to see an ex pro wanting to give back and share their first hand experiences with the new generation. Not only that, they ride and sesh with their athletes and that gives the athletes a whole new level of appreciation and progression.
Interesting. It’s always inspiring when the coach can show how it’s done. Outside discipline and performance, what are the main values you want to share about snowboarding that could also be helping your team members cope with real life problems?
Show up. It doesn’t matter what kind of a mood you’re in, what events of the day lead up until that moment of strapping in, crispy, first thing in the morning. It all goes away when you slide on snow. There’s a feeling you get from being supported by your teammates and greeted by your coach. It’s comfortable, it’s familiar, it’s what we live for. Creating that safe, healthy environment & providing resources for them to be their best selves is what we ultimately strive for.
This leads to a very “do you think snowboarding has a positive effect on mental health and why?
100% I believe snowboarding is extremely therapeutic. Being surrounded by a beautiful landscape & backdrop with all your buddies. Laughing. Progressing. Growing. Being challenged mentally and physically. The battle of learning that new trick and the mental discipline it takes to slam and get back up. Overcoming fears. Not only that, there is an entire other side to it being a therapy. Seeing snowboarding being integrated into the Veteran and Adaptive community. Seeing someone going from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs, just by being on a board and out of an office. Words can never describe that feeling.
Since you are on the hill everyday, your body must take a toll. How do you manage dealing with injuries and soreness to keep up with the kids?
The biggest aspects of staying healthy while traveling and being demanding of my body on a daily basis is more of a holistic approach. I am big on recovery, routine and the belief of fueling your body with healthy food and products. Eating plant based proteins, organic, non-gmo foods and staying gluten free to reduce inflammation. I do yoga several days a week, stretch everyday, warm up before activities and cool down. A big part of my recovery routine is CBD.. I don’t know how I would operate without it! The CBDayz OG Muscle gel with 2000mg of CBD has been a lifesaver and been helping me a lot with an over-compressed ankle and multiple left shoulder surgery soreness. With the amount of travel that goes along with the job, I find I carry a lot of stress and tension in my upper back/neck. I have started using the CBDayz OG muscle gel on that area before bed, which in turn has helped me to relax and get to sleep faster. After a good night’s rest, I wake up in the morning, apply the CBDayz OG muscle gel on my ankle, left shoulder and I am good to go for the day!
This is always nice to hear, thank you for trusting our CBD product in the first place. Seems like you are doing everything to complement the CBD with a balanced lifestyle and good habits, that’s the way to go! To finish, let's talk about something that really caught our attention. The Adaptive Program you are running, we thought it was so rad, could you tell us more about that organization and your involvement?
We have a partnership with Adaptive Action Sports out of Copper Mountain. They have been an established organization there for about 10 years now. I worked with them when I first started coaching back in 2012, right before their Paralympic debut in Sochi, Russia. They are riders with permanent physical living disabilities. Amputees, Veterans, MS are some quick examples. After a few years with them, I went on to pursue my career in able body riding. After returning from the US National Team level and starting this business, it allowed me the flexibility to come full circle and coach the adaptive riders again. They are incredibly inspiring, hard working and face many adverse challenges. They have been through such traumatic events, we can’t even begin to relate to. Found snowboarding as a therapy to return to sport and have a competitive outlet to work through it while being supported as any other athlete would. They train full time, year round and are currently working towards qualifying for the Paralympic Games in Beijing 2020. Give them a follow @adaptiveactionsports and look up their website.
Definitely will, I don’t think any of us can imagine what our lives would be like without these sports and we shall be grateful everyday we are on the mountains. I hope this inspires people that are just lazy to get up earlier next season to get the true fresh tracks! Nichole, thank you so much for being a positive element to our snowboard community and making sure the core values of our sports don’t get crushed by outsiders who don’t have such passion and experience as you do. We will also make sure to follow Team One intl @one_team_int to stay updated. Wishing you a fun and snowy snowboard season!