“Snowboarding’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.” These are the words of local talent Matt Williams, who lives and breathes competitive slopestyle riding.
“The Little Matt” is an 11th grader at Mammoth High School, and a full-time student of the Independent Learning Center. A native of Alaska, Matt spent the earlier years of his childhood riding at Alyeska, just outside of Anchorage.
The young athlete started ripping on snowboards at the ripe age of five. He played ice hockey for five years as a youngster also. Matt said of snowboarding, “It allows me to feel like I’m flying down the mountain, and have fun. It gives me a sense of liberty and escape.”
Matt arrived in Mammoth Lakes in 8th grade. What separates Matt from a good number of his single-plank friends is that Matt not only enters competitions, he flat out wins them.
Williams recently took first place in the Mens Age 16 – 21 Division of the Peanut Butter Rail Jam at Boreal Mountain on January 4. I asked Matt what acrobatic feats impressed the judges enough to hand him the gold: “Cab-180 on backside-180 out,” “Front-on into a down-flat, down-donkey cab-360 off,” and, lastly, “Double board slide pretzel 450.”
Translated into the English you and I speak, it means the kid controls his board on a metal rail.
Matt really enjoys slopestyle riding because, he said, “It is always changing, and you have a different course than the last place.”
This is his third season competing in slopestyle. The winter of 2011/12, The Little Matt won the USASA Slopestyle Series for ages 14 – 15, hosted at our one and only Mammoth Mountain. Last season, he took second place in the PBR Qualifiers in Mammoth. This season, he is aiming to qualify for the Junior Worlds. He heads out to Pennsylvania this week for the Revolution Tour, competing on Wednesday, February 3.
Our town is behind him. It’s more than this local paper that has recently highlighted the local snowboarder. On December 2, 2013, he was named by Monster Energy as the “Monster Army Captain Athlete of the Week.” He told me of being featured on the main page of monsterarmy.com, “It stoked me so much, because so many people have seen it. I just learned that my profile reached over 10,000 users.”
This kid is getting ready to break though into the big leagues. William’s sponsors include Rome, DC, Smith, Neff, Monster, Replay, and P3.
I asked Matt’s head snowboard coach Nacho Dudeski about his talent. “He’s a good kid, with a good heart, and he wants to progress every day. He’s got the eye of the tiger. He’s goal oriented, and always wants to reach his goals. Matt’s really good on rails, and he keeps it fun.” Dudeski has been coaching Matt for three winters now.
Matt’s ultimate goal is to become a professional, self-supporting snowboarder featured in “big time” snowboarding movies. He has college in his sights, with the aim of attending the Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge to study the filmmaking of snowsports. This dream may also explain why his favorite professional sport team is the Denver Broncos. Colorado is calling Matt’s name.
Matt’s words of wisdom for you: “Do what you love. Have fun in life.”
Matt Williams is more than an athlete. He is just simply a really good kid. You can follow him on Instagram @thelittlematt.