Learning to snowboard went hand in hand with listening to Nirvana and trying to be cool around the older riders – but Olympian Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin knew it was the sport for him from a young age and as soon as his parents could find a board small enough for him he was hitting the slopes.
The world champion’s favourite memory of the snow is an old one – his father, who owned a ski shop in Victoria’s snow country, attached his three-year-old son tobogganing to the back of his ute and towed him along the icy road.
‘You wouldn’t be allowed to do that now – but even though I was so young, and I have had so many more great memories of the snow – this one still sticks out as my favourite,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
Olympian Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin learnt to snowboard as soon as his parents could find one small enough for him to ride, when he was a young child
The snowboarder, pictured here with his mum, says his best snow memory is being towed behind a car on a toboggan when her was three
The athlete, pictured with his girlfriend Ellidy Vlug who he misses terribly during his winter season on the road
Growing up in the snow country, and with a ski-shop in the family, Chumpy, who is 30, was always going to have a go at what the winter sport world had to offer. ‘When I got on my first board I knew it was going to be my thing, I felt like I had come home, it was so natural.
‘And there is no feeling like surfing the mountain – It makes like you feel like you’re flying,’ he said. The Winter Olympian is one of Australia’s ‘gold medal favourites’ for the upcoming games in North Korea in February.’
He has been training hard on Mount Hotham in Victoria, and overseas to make sure he is well prepared for the games.
‘I will be as prepared as possible by the time the games come along, and I know when I walk through those gates we would have done everything possible to be ready,’ he said.
Being a professional athlete does have a downside – he is often away from his family and girlfriend (pictured)
The couple catch as many glimpses of each other during the hectic snow season as possible, pictured
When Chumpy isn’t snowboarding he likes to hang out at the beach surfing with his partner
Skilled at boards of all types the snowboarder enjoys getting out in the surf in the summer time
But being a professional athlete does have a downside – he is often away from his mum, dad, sister and girlfriend Ellidy Vlug.
‘I have to spend a lot of time away from the people I love which is really hard,’ he said. ‘But I do love what I do and I couldn’t be happier with my work.
‘When I do get to be at home, with my girlfriend in Sydney, we spend all of our time together – I am 100 percent present, we go surfing a lot and have a lot of fun.
‘I have to spend a lot of time away from the people I love which is really hard,’ he said. ‘But I do love what I do and I couldn’t be happier with my work’
Chumpy showing off his skills during a training run at Mount Hotham in August – after a great snow season in Australia
‘I will be as prepared as possible by the time the games come along, and I know when I walk through those gates we would have done everything possible to be ready,’ he said
‘There are a few months in the year when there is no snowboarding so I can have that time with my family – between the seasons.’
When the season is on Chumpy’s training schedule is grueling.
‘He lives in a house with four athletes and two coaches who he works alongside everyday – improving his technique and fitness.
When the season is on Chumpy’s training schedule is grueling when he isn’t snowboarding he is at the gym
Pictured here taking part in one of his difficult workouts – which can take up three hours of his day
His day usually involves a few hours of ‘flying’ down the mountain followed by an intense gym session in the afternoon
By 7.30am he is out the door and warming up his muscles for the long day of physical activity ahead.
His day usually involves a few hours of ‘flying’ down the mountain followed by an intense gym session in the afternoon.
The team eat together and by 6.30pm they have their spare time – which Chumpy uses to play his guitar – or have sing-alongs with his housemates.
The young Australian has two Snowboarding World Championship gold medals, a silver medal for the Winter X games and a gold medal from the New Zealand Winter Games – all in the challenging sport of snowboard cross. He has been on the professional circuit since he was 17.