Whitehorse snowboarder Max Melvin-McNutt will continue to shred at Mount Sima and perform in videos, but his competitive career is over.
With a hip injury keeping him off the circuit this past season, Melvin-McNutt has decided to retire from competition, he told the News this week.
It was “absolutely” a hard decision to make, he said.
“I didn’t find out how series the injury was until the end of last summer,” said Melvin-McNutt. “Originally it was thought it was just sprained and strained muscles. But I ended up getting an MRI in October and I found out I torn my labrum. I need to get surgery for that…
“I decided not to compete this year because the functionality of my hip is not the same and it’s painful and it effects everything around my hip … I’ve decided I’m not going to go back to it. I lost a lot of ground with my progression, I lost my spot on the Canadian team, I missed all my contests because I was injured. So I just want to move on to other parts of my life.”
The 22-year-old, who is arguably the most accomplished boarder to come out of Yukon, tore his labrum at the Stoneham World Cup near Quebec City at the end of the 2014/15 season. Despite the injury, he went on to compete at World Cups in Czech Republic and Bulgaria, suffering a concussion in the latter, which turned out to be his final competition.
He’s had more than his fair share of injury throughout a career that saw him become the first Yukoner to make the B.C. provincial team in 2011 and then the national development team in 2014.
In his first two seasons with the B.C. team he racked up some fantastic results before a broken collarbone took him out of action both years.
“I have my hip (injury), and I’ve got my ankle, which is not doing too well … My shoulder as well. It’s really taken a toll on my body,” said Melvin-McNutt.
“I still want to snowboard and I’m going to get involved in coaching this fall with Snowboard Yukon.”
Melvin-McNutt broke onto the national scene with an eighth-place finish in halfpipe at the 2011 Canada Winter Games. He went on to log numerous first-place finishes at B.C. Snowboard Provincial Series Slopestyle comps.
He also rode to a fifth-place finish in men’s slopestyle at the Canadian Freestyle Snowboard Championships in March 2014.
His personal highlight is a third place finish at the Dew Tour M Series – the highest amateur-level event in Canada – at the end of the 2014 season, putting him 13th in the national slopestyle rankings.
“My decision to retire from competitive snowboarding has been a difficult one, but the time has come for change, and for myself to pursue new goals and ambitions,” he said in a letter posted to Facebook.
“I have gained much from my experiences as an athlete, and I am very proud and grateful for the accomplishments and opportunities that competitive snowboarding has brought me. I met so many great friends that I will have for the rest of my life, and I had a ton of fun. Snowboarding has enabled me to travel across Canada, the United States, and Europe, representing the Yukon, as well as Canada …
“Although I am leaving competition, I am by no means leaving snowboarding. I fully intend to remain a prominent figure in the snowboard community. I may now share my learned wisdom and expertise with young snowboarders wishing to do as I’ve done, and further. I’m looking forward to taking on a coaching roll with Snowboard Yukon, and to snowboarding for fun, and continuing to film and progress. I also look forward to being a part of Yunika Snowboards, a grassroots snowboard company combining eco-friendliness with superior board durability.”
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