5 things you should know about John Kucera...
by Michael Mastarciyan
Here’s a few things you probably already know about Canadian Cowboy John Kucera...
He made history at the 2009 World Championships when he won the downhill becoming the first Canadian male ever to claim gold in that discipline at Worlds.
His Super-G resume includes World Cup finishes on each step of the victory podium...two of which came at Lake Louise (a first and a second) the same gorgeous Canadian Rocky Mountain alpine winter wonderland that will be hosting the first speed races of the new World Cup season very shortly!
He’s broken the tibia in his left leg twice - first in November 2009 at a World Cup downhill race in Lake Louise and again while he was forerunning at a NorAm race in Aspen, Colorado last February.
He missed skiing for Canada at the Vancouver Olympics because of his first broken leg incident but nevertheless impressed 30-million Canadian television viewers with his superb on-air TV hosting talents and a really cool new hairstyle he debuted in front of a national audience.
He’s got a terrible itch he needs to scratch badly and the only way he can scratch the itch is by returning to racing on the World Cup tour.
“I’m definitely itching to race again. Training has been going well. My technique is more or less in the right place, maybe a couple technical kinks to work out, the only thing that’s lagging a little bit right now is my confidence, but every time I get out on the longboards it gets better and it improves so all I need is some time and some miles and I think I’ll get there,” Kucera says.
But there’s more to John Kucera than going really fast down some of the most treacherous alpine slopes on the planet...here’s 5 more things you should know about him...
1. John thinks social media is getting out of control!
“Okay I don’t want to rant and rave and I’m not a technophobe but I think the current popular obsession with electronic social media kind of takes us away from personal contact with other people and skews our perception on some things. I think cell phones in general are good, they obviously make staying in touch with people easier for sure - I just don’t like it when people take it into overdrive. People are way too concerned and stressed out about things like how many friends they have on Facebook and that kind of thing, and not concerned enough about real life. People don’t really talk to each other anymore, face to face or even on the telephone. All people do now is e-mail and text message and nobody seems to know how to talk to another real live person, especially in person, face to face.”
“It’s almost like people can’t last more than ten minutes without using their cell phone to text someone. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to have a one on one conversation with somebody and they’re parked there on their cell phone. Not only is it incredibly rude but it totally kills the social dynamic of people just communicating with each other and just enjoying each other’s company. It just seems like there’s always something more important going on than what’s right in front of you and I think that’s just nuts, because you need to start paying attention to what’s going on in front of you sometimes. With social media, people are spending so much time supposedly talking to each other, but they’re not really involved and they’re not really there.”
2. When John’s not going fast on skis, he’s usually going fast on a dirt bike.
“ Dirt biking is my hobby of choice, it’s my life away from ski racing. I love to ski and what I do on the snow, but I really love what I do when I’m on my dirt bike, it’s freedom on two wheels, that’s where my passion is in the summertime. The sport’s awesome and I really love it in general, but most of the fun in riding comes when I out with my closest friends and my little brother. We go out on these seven, eight hour rides in the bush and it’s just mayhem, just an adventure every time, it’s just awesome good fun.”
“I spend all my money on my ‘money pit’ which is my dirt bike, it always breaks, that’s the rule, when you go out, be prepared to spend some money because you’re probably going to break something. I ride a KTM 300 XC which is a big bore two stroke. I do all the repairs myself, I’ve learned that it’s really expensive to take that stuff in so everything I’m comfortable with doing I’ll do myself, like I’ve re-built the motor and all that stuff. The only thing I really won’t touch on my own is suspension, because it’s really intricate and I haven’t quite learned how to do that properly yet. So I’m still learning in that department but everything else I’m pretty much good to handle on my own, and I’ve got a pretty good man-cave at home (he laughs) with lots of great tools.”
3. John’s all-time ultimate meal includes three different food items - steak, steak and steak!
“Nothing beats a well-prepared, well-marinated, well-spiced, perfectly grilled piece of steak, there’s nothing better than that. You can make it so many different ways it can taste different every time. I don’t think I’d eat it every single day, but I’d have it several times a week with no problems. I like my steak medium rare, you can’t overcook it. The second you overcook your steak you might as well use it as a paper weight, it’s done! And Alberta beef where I’m from is Grade A, it’s as good as it gets and it’s world renowned. I’ve had good steak outside of Alberta, but nothing’s cooler than being thousands of miles from home in a restaurant and finding out they’re serving Alberta steak, that’s pretty cool.”
4. Nothing irks John more than slow drivers in the passing lane!
“Since you’ve given me this great opportunity to vent and share, let’s move on to something else that I really can’t stand. I really don’t like it when slow drivers clog up the fast lane on the highway when I’m driving, it’s super frustrating some times. I think what’s really frustrating sometimes is when you go to Europe, for example on the Autobahn, and you’re in the left lane, the passing lane, you come up on someone driving slower and they move into the slower lane and it really helps the traffic move along nicely and everything flows. But then you’re driving in some other places and it gets a little bit more frustrating. You’ll be driving in the passing lane and your basically trying to get by the guy in the right lane but the guy in the left lane is going the same speed as the guy in the right lane and for some reason he can’t pull ahead or behind him at the same speed so he’s causing all kinds of mayhem. This always seems to happen when your in some kind of hurry. It must be some kind of a driving variation of Murphy’s Law or something (he laughs), it’s drives me up the wall, just makes me go bonkers! Europeans are generally better and more conscientious than North Americans drivers in this department, I have to say that too.”
5. John’s favorite way to relax on a holiday usually involves a rod, a reel and a boat.
“There’s an awesome trip my buddies and my brother and I have been doing for five or six years now. We usually go up into the north of Saskatchewan, there’s a lot of lakes up there and the fishing is always epic! There’s one lake in particular that we go to, we just rent a boat, set up a camp site and have an awesome time up there. It’s a good time to catch up with friends, it’s full force guy time. A few years ago we went up and caught about a hundred fish between four people, so we have a lot of fun up there. The fish we usually go for are pike and walleye which is big up there, and we’ve caught a couple of twenty pound pike up there which has been pretty impressive. We usually have a fishing derby and put beers or money on the line to see who catches the most fish. It’s just a great way to get away, no cellphones up there, it’s just you and you’re in the middle of nowhere and just epic fishing and a lot of fun.”
“We’re there for sport fishing so it’s mostly catch and release, we’re not really up there for the meat, we’re there for the experience. If we catch a big monster we take a good picture of that bad boy and that’s enough.The only ones we usually take home or cook are the ones that don’t survive the process of getting brought into the boat. We don’t actually keep the full day’s quota, we just keep the unfortunate fish that don’t make it. We bring them home and eat them later.”