By Kyle Miller
What’s it like to be in a snowboard film? That is a question I was finally able to answer last Thursday night as Sweetgrass Films rolled into Seattle to show its highly anticipated new film, Solitaire. I was standing in front of a large audience with all eyes on me, a complete contrast to my life nearly 12 months earlier. As the lights dimmed and the crowd became silent, I was overwhelmed with anticipation. How did I do? How did the Bolivia segment turn out? I had been waiting for this screening ever since leaving the country last summer and I was about to find out. This experience represented so many firsts for me: first film, first premiere, first sponsored travel, and first time in front of such a large crowd.
Once the segment started, I was flooded with emotions reflecting on one of the hardest times of my life: dealing with my father’s death, having high altitude sickness and losing a tooth. Then the excitement built up from seeing the trip through a new set of eyes and seeing the crew’s final vision. Quickly a sense of pride came over me that YES, I was there, and YES, we made the best out of challenging conditions.
The night of the premiere I met so many kind people who were excited to meet me, which felt both odd and unusual. I have had people approach me before, but it was never on this scale. For so long I have focused on what was in front of me that I didn’t even realize there were others watching as well. I felt honored to be in this situation, but there was an awkwardness from the stark contrast of what “is” and what “was.”
Traveling to South America was one of many experiences I went through this year as I quickly transitioned from ski bum to professional athlete. A new world had opened its doors, and it has been interesting to adjust to a new reality.
All of a sudden I have travel budgets, social events, signings, and premieres, which is such a huge contrast to the “how-can-I-get-the-biggest-bang-out-of-$100?” lifestyle. I am no longer stressed on how to finance gas and food for a trip. Instead the focus has changed to how can I come up with a great trip that both the outside audience and I will truly enjoy.
When it comes to these missions, I now have an arsenal of clothes—none of which are covered in duct tape or from the local Goodwill. But one thing has not changed: my love for the mountains, and my wanting and willingness for adventure. Stay tuned.
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