At the start of 2013, doctors told him to forget about snowboarding. Four months later, he had his first record. Jamie Barrow, class of '92, from an English family but born in Switzerland, first pulled on ski boots when he was just 18 months old. A love of snow was born, of that feeling of control those two long strips of material give you, in sharp contrast to the slippery ground beneath. "I could see the mountains from our doorstep, so my passion developed completely naturally. Then, when I was eight years old, I tried snowboarding for the first time and never went back to skis. Not long after, my parents sent me to a summer snowboarding camp, though actually it was more than just a camp: it was the try-outs for the English national team. And that changed everything: I was selected for the English Junior Team. I set off for a series of freestyle competitions across Europe, and when I returned I fell in love all over again: I wanted to do boardercross. So I switched." When he was just 15, Jamie was good enough to beat the senior team members in the boardercross category and at the end of the year became the British Youth Boardercross Champion.
His career's upward trend continued until 2013. Then came an accident and a back injury. The verdict of the doctors was clear: no more snowboarding and goodbye to the team. "It was devastating but I decided I wouldn't quit. On 18 April of the same year I became the fastest ever downhill English snowboarder, with a record of 151.6 kph. Then I broke the World Indoor Speed Record with a speed of 69.4kph. Later, I broke two more records in a single day: I was the first person to use electric jet enginse for propulsion and I also broke the speed record while being towed by a car on Lake St. Moritz."
Our limits exist so we can go beyond them, "the challenge of my life is to see how far I can push myself," Jamie explains. Which is how he set a second record on Lake St. Moritz, once again being towed by a car. To surpass his own record, Jamie needed better preparation both in terms of his own equipment - with a specially designed snowboard - and the car itself. Barrow chose a Maserati Levante fitted with Pirelli Scorpion Winter tyres. The SUV's 350 horsepower, assisted by the tyres - which transferred all the force available to the ground - pushed Jamie beyond his own limits and on to a new world record. On the 19 February on the frozen St. Moritz Lake, Jamie recorded a speed of 149.65 kph, almost skimming across the sheet of white and adjusting the stability of his board every millimetre of the way. "The need for speed never leaves you, you always want more. The important thing is to do it in the safest way possible: start accelerating, but if you get scared, you have to slow down and then start accelerating again a bit at a time. During the second record I only had two thoughts in my head: 'Wow, this is really fast! and "It's amazing how this car can accelerate and have traction on powder snow."
A new record in the hands of Jamie Barrow. His last record. Until next time.