Burton Presents: Kimmy Fasani
Life's most defining moments almost always come in the face of adversity. How you handle the rough stuff is what makes you most, well, you. For pro snowboarder Kimmy Fasani, this challenging -- and ultimately defining -- moment came two years ago in the form of a cracked pelvis and fully blown knee (ACL, MCL and PCL) after a bad crash in the Mammoth park.
The road to recovery was brutal: three months bedridden and 11 months off snow. For a lesser athlete, it might have been career-ending. But during rehab, Fasani gathered her courage and took a hard look at her relationship to snowboarding. The result is a stronger, more determined rider who is much more in control of her mental game.
Fasani's first full season back on snow was more than a trial run. It culminated with her very own full part in the "Burton Presents" series. (Mark McMorris is the only other rider with the honor of a stand-alone segment.) Here's what she had to say about her season, her triumph over the fear demons, and the hard-won video part that just dropped online.
XGames.com: You're one of only two riders to get a stand-alone segment in the "Burton Presents" series. That's a pretty big deal!
Fasani: Yeah, I feel so lucky. This season was an amazing experience. I was coming back from a big injury, and I think there's gonna be a storytelling element to the segment -- seeing what I was able to do, how I prevailed and found my place again, and how being off snow for a year changed the way I look at snowboarding.
Back when I got hurt, I decided that when I came back I didn't want to be the same person. I wanted to push my snowboarding further, I wanted to step outside my comfort zone -- to hit the jumps I saw guys hitting...
How's your body feeling?
I'm doing great. I'm 100 percent now. This season was steppingstones, baby steps, and just trying to figure out how to do it all again, building up endurance and strength.
What about the mental game?
Actually, the mental side I focused on a lot last summer, with mountain biking and road biking and just trying to challenge myself in other ways so that when I got back on snow in November, it wouldn't be as challenging.
Did you get a sports psychiatrist to help you with any of that?
No. I have a physical trainer who also did all my rehab. But more than anything I read a lot of books -- self-help books, if you will -- just trying to figure out why fear exists, and what fear is, so that by the time I got back on the snow, I wouldn't be mentally limited by my injuries, only by rebuilding my strength.
As far as the riding in your segment, were there any pivotal moments for you during filming?
Yeah, for sure. On my first day in Whistler, I went out with my husband to see how the snow was. It had just snowed and was a beautiful bluebird day. Ironically, we didn't have a filmer with us, but we found this jump called Stepmother -- it's about a 60-foot step-down that I'd been wanting to hit the year prior to my injury. It had never really lined up because there was always a crew there. But this time there was no other crew. So my husband and I built the jump, and the next day we went out with the film crew. I hit it maybe four times.
For me, it was such a pivotal moment, because my doctors had advised me not to hit jumps, and I knew I might not be strong enough yet. But I knew my mind was strong enough. I knew that it was ambitious, but I finally had the opportunity, and I had to make it count.
It wasn't a success story -- I didn't ride away from anything -- but the best part is that I was able to get over the fear of "what if" and "I don't want to get hurt again." Instead, I was just thinking, "I'm gonna do it because I really think I'm capable." I got so close. It was one of the best moments of my season.
And everything turned out OK.
Exactly. I was completely fine, and that set the bar for the rest of the season. My body could take really hard slams, and that taught me more about where I'd come in my recovery than any perfect landing could have.
Falling is the most humbling thing you can go through when you're trying to film a video part. You get shot down and shot down, and you know you only have a few days to make it count.
Back when I got hurt, I decided that when I came back I didn't want to be the same person. I wanted to push my snowboarding further, I wanted to step outside my comfort zone -- to hit the jumps I saw guys hitting, just to see what it feels like, to see if I could do it.
Even if you don't land, I think it gives you more confidence and more growth. You learn what you want to do the next time.
So the part is mainly backcountry?
Yeah, there's a bunch of Japan powder footage, some Whistler footage, and then Amusement Park, in Mammoth. That was honestly the first time I was able to get back into the groove of trying my tricks and hitting park jumps, so that was exciting. I felt like I ended the season where I ended my last season before the injury, and now I'm really excited to just move forward. I know that I'm stronger than I've ever been, and that park shoot definitely gave me more confidence.
Amusement Park's your event. How did that come about?
About four years ago, I was hoping to learn a couple new tricks with my girlfriends, and I thought, what better way to do it? Mammoth in the springtime! We can just session together and push each other and just focus on getting photos -- a fun vibe, with no pressure.
How do you pick who comes?
I ask a lot of the girls who have been before about new girls coming up through the contest circuit. We usually invite, like, five amateur or rookie girls that stood out over the season and then about 10 established pros.
Are there any other women's projects you are psyched on right now?
Definitely. Leanne Pelosi and Hana Beaman always do a great job of documenting their snowboarding and including other women in their projects. Their P.S. webisodes show a really relatable style of snowboarding, but it's still really progressive.
And I love that Jess Kimura can have a part with the guys. It's really important to have female riders interact with the guys and be represented with them -- it just gives us a louder voice. Desiree Melançon did a great job with her part last year, too. I'm guessing it'll be even better this year.