Checking in with Byron Wells

Checking in with Byron Wells

img_0245.jpgByron Wells is helping lead the charge of next generation superpipe athletes. At least he was until an ill-timed knee injury took him out of the running this season. We caught up with Byron to see how the Kiwi has been spending his down time and when we might see him back on the ol' horse.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW YOU WERE INJURED, FOR THOSE THAT DON'T KNOW? I was at Cardrona for the opening of the new Poma lift that they decided to name "The Wells Pipe Platter." After a quick run through with cameras rolling it was straight into training. Tim Pierce was up there and we needed a few more shots for the [Winter of Wells] documentary, so thought I should do some dub 12s. After landing one without a grab I went for another but set wrong and landed back seat. I had a grade two rupture of my ACL, a tear on my MCL, a little tear in my meniscus and a bunch of bone bruising all over my left knee.

DOES IT FEEL WEIRD TO BE A WORLD APART, WHILE THE REST OF THE SKI INDUSTRY IS, YOU KNOW, SKIING? Yeah, it's crazy not being there. Definitely feels like I'm missing something. I talk to the boys every now and then but it still isn't quite the same.

HOW'S SUMMER DOWN IN NEW ZEALAND? Summer is epic. The last summer I had I was 10 years old. Kinda forgot how pimp they are! It's been one for the books down here. Only rained a few times all summer.

HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOU'VE MISSED A NORTH AMERICAN WINTER… OR THE MAJORITY OF IT AT LEAST? I have been coming to the States for the past seven years and had a season in Italy before that. It has been a while so I'm keeping myself busy!



Winter of Wells ep. 21. Byron skis with Mike Riddle at Park City.


CAN YOU PUT THE RUMORS TO REST, THAT YOU INDEED, HAVE NOT QUIT SKIING. I KNOW THE TWITTER WORLD WAS ABLAZE AT X GAMES ABOUT THAT. [laughs] Yeah a friend told me that Mike [Douglas] said at X that I was back here being a helicopter pilot. Thats only half the story! I am back here becoming a heli pilot but I'm only here because of my injury. As soon as I'm strong enough I will be back over there. 
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING IN YOUR OFF TIME, OTHER THAN REHAB? As I said I'm becoming a heli pilot so most of my time has been either flying or studying. I have had to do six written exams and 50 hours of flying. As of now I have another 28 hours and two more exams. Other than that I have been trying to enjoy the summer experience here in Wanaka. I also just got back from Melbourne, where I was there with Mum watching tennis. So epic! 

Byron competing at Winter X Games Europe in 2011

WHEN CAN WE EXPECT YOU BACK ON SKIS, AND WHEN CAN WE EXPECT YOU TO BE 100-PERCENT BACK? I have this nifty little countdown thing on my phone, so as of today I can ski in 19 days [fig 1 & 2], although I'll wait until I am a little stronger. And in 109 days, I can be jumping again! Getting that itch. So excited.

WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THE COMP SCENE? WHO IS SKIING THE BEST RIGHT NOW? Far out, everyone is skiing so well. You know I'm going to say Jos' [Wells] is killing it. Torin [Yater-Wallace] has be slaying everything and of course [Tom] Wallisch is on one!
counter.jpgANY PREDICTIONS FOR THIS WEEKEND'S DEW TOUR? HOW ABOUT RED BULL COLD RUSH? Ooo, I think Elias [Ambühl] will pull it out of the bag. I hope Jos' does well. But you know Kevin [Rolland] might just jump in there again! Cold Rush… going to have to say Sean [Pettit] will win it with a 96.5. Just sayin'.
YOU'VE PROBABLY CHECKED YOUR FAIR SHARE OF MOVIES SINCE YOUR INJURY, GOT ANY GOOD ONES? I watched 13 Assassins, that's a pimp movie. It's in Japanese though. And I'm off to watch War Horse soon. Quite pumped for that one. But what's getting me going lately is Sons Of Anarchy.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE SUPER BOWL THIS WEEKEND? I missed the Super Bowl. It was 34 degrees [93.2 degrees fahrenheit] here so it would have been rude to be inside. I spent the day at the lake wake surfing instead. My bad. But stoked for the Giants!

WHAT'S THE BIGGEST THING YOU MISS SINCE BEING INJURED? The ability to do everything! I haven't been able to go hunting yet. I only just got cleared to wake surf, can't ski. Its been a big eye opener for me to picture life without skiing. Its crazy!

AND WHAT'S THE SILVER LINING TO BEING INJURED? THE BEST THING YOU'VE DONE WITH YOUR EXTRA TIME? Would have to be the flying. As I said I haven't been able to do much, but to be able to get my heart and adrenaline pumping like it does when I ski is unreal and I look forward to it every day. Plus flying a heli is pretty epic in itself. Can't wait to take homies for a spin!

Byron having a little fun before WSI Slopestyle in 2011

ANY LAST WORDS? Big shout out to my physio Ginny Bush! Also my trainers Jon Turnbull and Shane Crowther. Mum for putting up with me for the past six months. My boy Harry Pettit for going through rehab with me. All the homies in Wanaka for helping make it a great summer. Can't forget the CMC for showing me how pimp riding a bike is and Jos' for letting me use his!



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