The Gnar: Shred It or Be Shredded
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The Gnar: Shred It or Be Shredded

K-State student's passion for skiing & his advice to all the first-timers out there

The Gnar: Shred It or Be Shredded

Christian Bright was just four years old when he fell in love. For Bright, junior studying journalism, it wasn't so much love at first sight as it was love at first being thrown off a mountain— but it was charming just the same.

It was at this wee age that his father first took him up a mountain to hit the slopes. According to Bright, there was some screaming and some serious tears involved, not too dramatic of a response considering the little tyke had only learned to walk three years prior. However, in the end this was his first date with the mountains—a relationship that is still going strong today.

Over the years, Bright has been an avid skier, answering his call from the mountains and heading out to Colorado whenever, as he said, his mom was picking up the check. He has tried his hand at snowboarding but has always returned to his first love in skiing. Bright has become quite good at his sport, and he even gives the most difficult runs, double black diamond, the green light. This guy is a mountain man over a beach bum and as a result he treks to Colorado every time he can, settling in any place with slopes and snow, including Winter Park, Copper Mountain, and Breckenridge.

Think there's only one type of snow? Well you're straight up wrong.

"I can get really into talking about snow and people will be like, 'Hey snow is snow,' but no," Bright said.

One thing he's learned from his time on the trail is that there is good and bad snow. According to Bright, you don't want any ice in your snow, and you don't want it to be super compact, but you don't want it to be too light either. He said that even though the different kinds of snow may look similar, there's a distinct sound that lets him know when he's dealing with some premium powder.

"You may not always see ice, but you can hear it under your skis," he said, describing the crunch and scratching noise of a waxed board against rough ice.

Bright has brought his mountain passion to the flatlands of his hometown Wichita, Kansas, where he works at The Slope, a local ski and snowboarding shop. He has worked there since he was 15 as a rental employee, dealing with the precious cargo—all the skis and snowboards. Through this job, Bright has learned just about everything there is to know when it comes to equipment for skiing, and he even works with his boss fixing and repairing skis. At The Slope he helps Wichitans get everything they need to have an enjoyable experience on their trips one state to the left. He adjusts their ski boots to make sure they're comfortable, gives advice on how to avoid blistering and keeping your toes warm, and does his best to convince them to wear a helmet.

His advice to anyone interested in hitting the slopes is simple.

"When you get your skis, go shorter because you'll have more control. Don't compare yourself to other skiers on the mountain. Have confidence, have fun, and get out of the pizza," Bright said, referring to the pizza as the triangular shape many people shove their skis into when heading down the mountain, where the front tips of the skis meet at a point and slow down your speed.

In the future, Bright wants to continue going downhill—on skis that is. He hopes his love for the mountains will translate into a job. He would love his passion for mountain sports to couple with his background in journalism and lead him to work as a videographer for mountain athletes competing in sports such as skiing or even mountain climbing. For Bright, this means his next goal is learning how to ski backwards. This seems to be quite a gnarly task, but as they say, shred the gnar or get shredded by it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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