The moment that changed it all: A true life story from Lucas Debari on Temple Cummins

A true life story from Lucas Debari, as told to Nate Deschenes

When I was about 12 or 13 years old, Temple Cummins was riding Baker a lot. I don’t think he had kids yet and had the time to ride every day.

He and his buddy Chris Fulton were putting up all the sickest lines at Baker. These are lines that I now have to compete with 30 other people to get, but back then Temple and Chris were riding these alone because the scene hadn’t really arrived in force yet. It was a super cool time. Occasionally, I would see them up there and they’d invite me to go take some runs with them. Keep in mind, this was at a time when I was trying to pursue the Olympic thing and my goals for becoming a professional snowboarder were based on contests and that sort of thing. I’d do a lap here or there and they’d show me a line, but it was always in the afternoon after they had already gotten their shit done.

One morning they called out and told me to jump in on the second run of the day. So I ditched my parents and we went up Chair 5. They took me out on the Elbow, which is the sidecountry of Mt. Baker. I’m like 12 years old and I’m pumped out of my mind. I’m riding with Temple; I’m gonna go fast! I rip out of the gate and I’m straightlining down this really fun section of about 500 vertical feet — there’s no way anyone’s gonna catch me — and I’m pointing it.

lucas debari
Illustration: Mark Kowalchuk

Then I see Temple pass me. Making turns. I remember being so blown away because he comes around me on his toes and is literally pumping every micro feature the slope has to offer, gaining speed with each turn. And I’m looking at him wondering, “How can you possibly be going faster than me? I’m straightlining!” Keep in mind, I was not a scrawny kid; I had some weight to me and he flies by turning! He was using the terrain in a way that I had never seen before. It wasn’t like there were crazy rollers or anything, just slight undulations, and he was able to use all of those minor variations in terrain to gain speed through his turns. After he peeled around, he made a toeside turn into this chute, popped off a pillow on one side and did a frontside 90 over the whole chute before nailing this tiny transition and rode away like nothing even happened.

For me, that was the craziest thing I had ever seen. He was able to generate speed by turning in a foot and a half of powder and then he just owned that line afterwards. That moment had an effect that changed the way I went out and rode my snowboard every day. For me, it was an eye-opener as to how one could ride and get the most out of it. When you are interacting with the terrain like that, you reap so much more from the experience than just hauling ass and straightlining through something. Since then, I have had a photo published on that hit and have probably ridden it 100 times. When everything is said and done, all I’m trying to do is ride like Temple did that one day when I was 12.

Watch also: Full film: Mica to Greenland with Lucas Debari and The North Face

Originally featured in Snowboard Magazine 12.2: The Intrinsic Issue

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