Wednesday, January 13, 2010
    When the news broke on December 31st that Kevin Pearce had been knocked unconscious and was being life flighted out of the pipe at Park City, Utah, the snowboard world took a collective moment of silence. After working on his X-Games and probably Olympic pipe run he took a hard landing while attempting a double cork. Kevin hit his head off of the frozen pipe wall and was instantly knocked unconscious. He was then rushed to the hospital at the University of Utah where he was listed as in critical condition until last this week. It was and still is unclear as to how Kevin will recover from his accident, but as he regains consciousness his doctors have been very hopeful that he will be able to recover. Kevin's family has started a facebook page to keep everyone updated on his condition and to give encouragement and prays from Kevin. As of right now the word is that his breathing tube has been taken out, and he has been slowly regaining consciousness and responding to some commands. His status has also been moved down from critical condition to serious condition. We wish Kevin a quick and full recovery!

By every measure, Kevin Pearce is a contest kid. As we push toward the Olympics in Vancouver, Pearce stands squarely atop the list of American medal hopefuls for halfpipe. But as snowboarders, we should ask ourselves why the best competitive riders in the sport are still coldly referred to as “contest” guys? Are they and the contests they do part of some less-cool substrata of shredding? Hell, no. Since the earliest days, competitions have fueled technical progression and built up the framework of what we’ve come to know as “pro snowboarding.” To be at the top competitively right now is a serious affair. It takes discipline, physical stamina, and mental fortitude, to say nothing of the freakin’ tricks. And all these things take a hell of a lot more work than our collective “ride pow with my bros” ideal. Fact is, the contest haters are riders who wouldn’t make it through the first round of qualifiers. So, as we head into the Olympic Games, let’s show some solidarity as shredders and give these “contest guys” their due. Pearce is killing it right now, and someday, when he walks away from the contest circuit for powder pursuits, he’ll be your favorite backcountry dude, so you might as well start backing him now.

Do you have any pre-contest rituals or superstitions?
I’m not really superstitious or anything, but I do like to get onto a regimented schedule before a contest. Like, do the same thing every day—going up to the hill at the same time; if I have a set plan and stick to it for a few days, I feel like it gets me in the zone. And when I do that, I compete a lot better. Making sure I get up early, get to practice on time—they never give us enough practice—and get a good warm-up is important. There’s so much waiting around at contests these days, like the X Games and Dew Tours. Unfortunately, I haven’t really found a great way to deal with all that waiting around yet …

That waiting must mess with you.
Yeah, especially after practice, you get in this rhythm of taking all these runs and you’re all stoked and you got your energy flowing, and then they’re like, “Okay, sit around for a half hour.” I’m like, “What am I supposed to do now?” Sure, I can stand around with my buddies and rap out with them, but we want to go and ride—and do this. It’s tough when you’re in it, then you gotta wait around—try to warm yourself back up … it kinda sucks.

Have you gotten the visit for Olympic drug testing yet?
We’ve been on that program—USADA [United States Anti-Doping Agency]—for about a year, but I haven’t gotten drug tested yet. They haven’t come to my house yet, knock on wood …

Why knock on wood?
Well, just ’cause it’s such a hassle. You have to give them a time—an hour every day when you will be at your house, and they can just show up whenever they want. I have seven to eight in the morning, so I know there’s a good chance I’ll be at home sleeping. But basically, they can come into your house and pretty much take over—totally exploit your space. I think I must be kind off the radar though, maybe because I’ve never been to the Olympics and never did too well in the Grand Prix.

How do you feel about your chances of making the Olympic team?
It’s going to be tough, but I’ve definitely been trying to put the work in. No matter how you look at it, the U.S. is stacked and everybody knows that, but I feel like I’ve been focused on pipe for the last eight months or so. And it’s tough to focus so much on that because I love to ride everything. But I feel like it’s worth it to buckle down and take the time now and give it my all. I feel like after last season, I put myself in a good position to make it happen, which feels good, because last time around I wasn’t ready.
And you’ve got some new tricks going into the season.
Well, yeah, you saw the New Zealand Open, everyone knows about the doubles. That’s what’s happening. And we had that pipe in Mammoth, so I got to learn a couple there. For me, it’s just getting my head around those tricks, getting the rotation down—it’s just fully committing to those new tricks. And it’s so scary, just because I haven’t really done these before—just the fact of doing two flips, it’s pretty hectic … I feel like when doing a double on a jump it’s a lot easier to save yourself, but in a pipe, there’s such a small zone to land it right. You’ve gotta really dial that shit in. Mine aren’t a hundred-percent dialed in yet, but …

Make sure to check out the rest of the article at Transworld Snowboarding

Get well soon Kevin!