Things I’ve Learned: Trennon Paynter

Things I’ve Learned: Trennon Paynter

Trennon Paynter, Olympian, Canadian Halfpipe Coach, Daredevil. Squamish, British Columbia.

Trennon Paynter in Tignes, France.

Yoga and Pilates? What are you talking about? We're skiers, it's all about squat thrusts and gondola parties.

Filming for 13 was awesome. It was such an exciting time in the sport and there was a lot of creative energy going around.

I did my first double [flips] on a pair of 198 Dynastar 4x4s, they must have weighed 10 pounds each, I had to set the tricks so hard. I'm still not sure why I was wearing sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt for half of my shots.

I had a feeling that it would be a great movie, Johnny Decesare was so passionate about the project, but I didn't realize that it would be seen as such an iconic movie years later, we were just having fun.

The vibe back then was awesome, it was such a small group of skiers doing it that you pretty much knew everyone. There was good support from some of the Whistler snowboard crew too, they were stoked to see what we were doing.

Trennon with Justin Dorey in Tignes, FranceSkiing in the 2002 Olympics [in moguls] was a life changing experience, I will never forget it.

I messed up in the semi-final and didn't make the finals, which was a huge disappointment. Still, just being a part of it was amazing, I had big expectations but it exceeded them all.

I don't get emotional too easily, but to this day, watching a winning performance at the Olympics, and the reaction of an athlete when they win, can bring me to tears. It's such a powerful moment.

Ski halfpipe should definitely be a part of the 2014 Olympic Games because I know for certain that the overwhelming majority of halfpipe skiers want it to be there. As for slopestyle, I feel the same way; as long as the majority of the slopestyle athletes want it to be there, then I think that their opinion should be one that the rest of us in the industry support.

Snowboarding paved the way for ski halfpipe to get into the Olympics, the fact that the venue is already there makes it a much easier argument for us.

It was more of an organic process than a specific plan, but being able to continue traveling the world and skiing even after my competitive career ended is awesome. The travel schedule can be both a blessing and a curse, but it keeps life interesting and makes for a lot of great adventures.

I don't really have any secrets to staying this healthy for my age (I'm actually 76!). I just really like doing fun things outside, and learning new tricks is still just as fun as it always was so why would I ever want to stop?

Look at Kelly Slater, he's 40 and still is totally schooling every surfer in the world, in both the heaviest waves and the air game. 

I choose Hot Dog over Aspen Extreme, much better use of a gondola.

I try to treat all events as important, but I do feel like I end up putting more energy into the big events like the X Games, it's hard not to.

Waxing and tuning are so important for halfpipe. It's funny how few skiers realize how much of a difference it can make.  

The best skier in the world is my Mom, seriously. She is so good and so smooth in any terrain, any condition.

The Canucks will win a cup. Let's just hope it's sometime soon.

In the 2010 X Games, none of [my] guys made it through semi-finals and I was super depressed about it for days.

In the same context, when they succeed I get so stoked that you can't wipe the smile off my face, it's the best reward you could ever hope for, and makes the job so enjoyable.

All-time favorite movie is "True Romance." Tarantino really hit it right on that one: killer cast, great dialogue, sex, violence, and the catchiest theme song ever.

The whole "coaching in freestyle" thing has a couple of critics, but in a sense, everyone out there has a coach.  It doesn't have to be an official thing. If you finish a training run and ask one of your friends "hey how was the grab on that 900?", then you are getting some coaching.

Some of us just get a little more in-depth than others.

I think the ski media is pretty tuned in to our sport for the most part, but you sure see some funny stuff from non-endemic media. The Fox news guy introducing Tanner Hall as the "X Box Games Freeskating Champion" ranks right up there.

Obviously getting to the Olympics with this team is a huge goal, but after that it will be interesting to see how I feel about continuing. I love what I do but the travel schedule has it's drawbacks, makes it tough for relationships. 

Trennon getting familiar with some flatspins

Trennon getting familiar with some flatspins.

Whatever happens I'm pretty sure I will always be doing something that lets me be outside having fun as much as possible.

I think some skiers do sometimes get judged against themselves to an extent. 

It's a tough one because all our judging is subjective, and when a judge knows what someone is capable of, it can put an expectation into the the equation. I don't think any of the judges do it consciously, but I've seen it happen.

A lot of things that people attribute to luck can be handled by good planning. If someone who doesn't bring a backup pair of skis to the top of the pipe for the contest, breaks their skis in training, they think it's bad luck, but in reality it's just not being prepared.

If I had to pick one coach as a mentor I would probably go back to my ski racing coach Marty Hansen who coached me and my friends when we were 14 or so.  He just had the best view on keeping skiing fun, we worked hard, but we also always went freeskiing on powder days, and he would help us build jumps and hit them with us. I think he really had good priorities because you have to be having fun with it, or else what's the point?

It sounds cheesy but it's true, winning is not the most important thing.

Yeah, we want to win, for sure, but it's the overall adventure that is the most important thing. Challenging yourself, the process of improving, dealing with successes and failures, learning from yourself, your teammates and your rivals, in the long run these things are worth more than medals.

If I was stranded on a desert island I'd want a quality machete, a good quiver of surfboards, and of course a beautiful girl who wasn't scared to paddle out with me… maybe a trampoline, too, for when the surf gets flat.

The best thing about living with Mike Riddle is that he lets me borrow his sled… that and he really knows his way around a barbecue.

 Go outside. Do fun stuff, learn new things, that's the secret right there. 

Is surfing better than skiing? How can you compare two perfect pastimes? I probably do crave surf more often, but I think it's just because I don't get as many days in the water as I do on snow.  

It's hard to pick the best competitor in our sport, but at the moment Kevin Rolland is on fire, he always hits his best run of the week in the competition.

Sure it would be nice if we were all making more money, at least enough so that athletes who rank in the top ten in the world weren't struggling to work bush jobs in the summer to try and afford to compete. But whatever, I would still take it over a high paying desk job any day.

Frequent flyer programs are a life-saver. Free excess baggage, priority check-in, and free vacation flights on points, what's not to love?

There are some things I can't do, walking slow is one of them. I get super frustrated when I get stuck behind slow walkers, it's weird.

To kill time, I sit and think of ways to become a superhero or super-villain… either way, soon I will be invincible! 

Trennon with 3/5 of his team at the US Grand Prix at Copper Mtn., CO.

Trennon with 3/5 of his team at the US Grand Prix at Copper Mtn., CO.

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