Andrew Matthews already has an impressive resume. He's represented Canada at World Cup events three times now, and represented Canada at the last FIS World Championships in big air, where he placed 23rd.
But Matthews wants to take his riding to the next level, and that means spending more time on snow learning newer and harder tricks. That means travelling to early season camps more frequently and spending more money on coaching.
To raise the money, Matthews is one of the new batch of Canadian athletes using Pursu.it (http://pursu.it.com) to "crowdfund" his athletic ambitions. The website has been extremely successful in the past raising money for athletes, with most athletes generally exceeding their goals.
"I will be really, really working hard on my trick development this year," said Matthews, who hails from the Northwest Territories, but has been riding and training with the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club (WVSC) since 2007. "In past years my goal has been to get onto the national team, that's been my goal for awhile, but now I'm taking a different approach and telling myself that these are the tricks I need to learn to have a chance of getting to the next level, and getting into some bigger competitions."
Matthews says his ambition in the next few years is to be able to place in the top 10 at nationals and to get more starts on the World Cup circuit and six-star TTR World Tour, and make the finals consistently at every event.
Matthews focuses on slopestyle, which just happens to be the discipline where Canada arguably has the most depth right now. Canada's male slopestyle team is easily the world leader these days with standout athletes like Mark McMorris, Sebastien Toutant, Charles Reid, Antoine Truchon, Maxence Parrot, Tyler Nicholson, Matts Kulisek and others lighting it up on the international scene. His WVSC teammate Darcy Sharpe has also been turning heads lately, placing second in the FIS Junior World Championships last season.
But Matthews — who's looking to raise $11,000 through Pursu.it and is just shy of the halfway mark with 20 days to go — is confident that he can move up through the ranks.
"The whole key to learning tricks and developing is to get on snow early, before the main season gets underway in January," he said. "I've just come back from New Zealand, and I'm hoping to use the money to be able to train in Austria and Colorado, which potentially would be the most training I've ever done on snow before the competition season starts. It's a relatively expensive time of year for that, it means travelling away from Whistler and Canada and paying a coach, but it's an investment in myself that I believe will be well worth it in the end.
"All the top guys are all doing it (snow camps), and if you're not in there then you're really not playing the game."
Joe McAdoo is currently coaching Matthews for the WVSC, along with Darcy Sharpe. Ideally, Matthews would like to bring both along for early season training this year.
Matthews isn't the only up-and-coming snowboarder on Pursu.it these days. Halfpipe rider Calynn Irwin is about 68 per cent of the way to her $12,000 goal. Molly Milligan, a female slopestyle athlete, managed to raise close to $7,500, smashing her goal of $4,600. Snowboardcross hopeful Frederique Joncas just started his own $10,000 campaign.
Other athletes on the list include freeskier Matt Margetts and biathletes Zina Kocher, Rosanna Crawford and Brendan Green.