Fisher looks to net more gold at Winter X in Aspen
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” As snowboarders go, Steve Fisher isn’t flamboyant or flashy.
He doesn’t have the flowing red locks of Shaun White. He doesn’t appear in a rap video like the charismatic Louie Vito.
Fisher is, well, rather ordinary.
“I really don’t have a catchy image,” he said. “I just have my talent.”
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In that, Fisher’s far from average.
He’s among the favorites in the superpipe competition this weekend at the Winter X Games in Aspen. Fisher ” or “Fish” as he’s known ” has won two golds at Winter X, including an exalted win over White at the 2007 competition.
“Definitely being one of the only people ever to beat Shaun White is something to put on the resume,” said Fisher, who also took top honors in 2004.
The 26-year-old snowboarder will be pushed this weekend by the likes of Vito, Danny Kass, Danny Davis, Mason Aguirre and Kevin Pearce, not to mention White, the defending champ.
And that’s just the American contingent. Finland’s Antti Autti and Janne Korpi and Japan’s Ryoh Aono are threats in the pipe, capable of winning at any venue.
“The talent out there, it’s unbelievable,” said Fisher, a member of the U.S. snowboarding team. “You have to be on your game at all times.”
Right now, he’s on his game. Fisher finished runner-up at a U.S. Grand Prix event in December, then took second during the Dew Tour stop at Mount Snow, Vt., two weeks ago.
“When Steve is going down the pipe, heads turn. He’s super fun to watch,” U.S. snowboarding halfpipe coach Mike Jankowski said. “He’s got that smooth style but also that amplitude and explosiveness.”
Fisher doesn’t have a lucrative energy drink deal or cola contract, those companies coveting more flamboyant boarders.
“I’m quite possibly the lowest paid pro snowboarder that’s accomplished what I have,” said Fisher, whose top sponsor is Sims Snowboards.
That’s because he’s plain in a sport that craves splashiness. But he can’t change. Fisher simply doesn’t do flashy.
He’s a clean-cut kid who walks his dog, an Akita-lab mix named Guru, around a golf course in Breckenridge, Colo., where he owns a condo. He shuns an iPod when he competes, preferring the ambient sounds of the crowd to amped-up songs.
“I don’t try to be a rock star. I’m who I am,” Fisher said. “I’m not going to pretend to be something I’m not for an image.”
He can’t quite understand why an easygoing, friendly persona isn’t more marketable.
“If you go up any hill, any mountain, the people who actually who pay for products are more along the line of my image and personality,” he said. “They do it because they enjoy being outside and being on a board ” not to look cool. I just don’t fit the image of what people think snowboarding is.”
Fisher is all about causes, throwing his support behind Athletes for a Cure, a foundation that raises awareness for prostate cancer. It’s a crusade near to him since his father started successful treatment for prostate cancer in 2003.
Fisher also rounds up clothes and gear for the Snowboard Outreach Society, a charitable organization that creates a mountain adventure-based program for at-risk youth.
“Just trying to get the word out there,” he explained of his involvement.
Fisher has taken 17-year-old Ellery Hollingsworth under his wing, teaching her the ropes of snowboarding. His girlfriend, Tricia Cole, helps Hollingsworth with her school work.
Fisher enjoyed the same kind of support and good will when he was coming up in snowboarding, learning the tricks from older riders.
“I think it’s important to keep your head on straight,” Fisher said. “I remind the new group of rookies there’s still an entire world that doesn’t know what snowboarding is ” not to get too ahead of themselves.”
Fisher grew up riding the rails in a snow park near Minneapolis. It was there he developed a zest for snowboarding. He surrendered another passion, skateboarding, at 14 to devote all his time to riding the pipe.
He won’t, however, hand over his hockey stick. Fisher still plays in a league in Breckenridge, a right wing with a fierce slap shot.
“It’s just a bunch of old high school players that still feel like they can make it (in the NHL),” he said, laughing.
Unlike snowboarding, where he’s already made it ” just without the flash and flamboyance.
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