What’s a Prairie boy to do when he wants to snowboard but can’t find a hill?
In the case of Brendan Luff, he turns his attention to the rail jam, a contest in which riders perform tricks on a variety of creative objects placed in an enclosed area.
The 18-year-old from East St. Paul has become a specialist in the discipline, and is hoping to ride his board all the way to the X-Games.
Luff recently finished second in the Pro Division at the Rail Wars competition at Asessippi Ski Area & Resort, and is on his way this month to Alberta for the national championship as well as a qualifier for a major event in California.
"That’s what I’m good at," Luff said of the rail jams. "I like competing in the halfpipe or in slope style, but being from the Prairies we don’t have the facilities for big jumps. We do have a bunch of rails set up, so that’s where I get the most practice."
Luff first tried snowboarding when he was 11, and got into the competitive side of the sport a year later. Ever since, he’s been learning new tricks and pushing himself to get better and better.
"I like that it’s not a team sport," he said. "You train and practise on your own time and you push yourself. You can just use the creativity of your mind to snowboard anything and have fun doing it. You don’t need mountains. You can bring it to the streets. There’s endless possibilities what you can do snowboarding, so you never get bored of it."
Luff has collected sponsorships from Roaring Lion energy drink and Boarders Anonymous, and hopes to eventually make a living on his board.
"That would be nice to do," he said. "I think it would be achievable. You’ve just got to put your blood, sweat and tears into it like I’ve been doing."
Sometimes that means heading to the mountains, as there’s only so much a boarder can do in dead-flat Winnipeg.
"You can’t bring the mountains to Manitoba," he said. "I’ll go to them every once in a while. You just go with it, do the best you can do here with what you have."