Grown up in White Salmon, Washington with his mother Carol and older brother Mike, Vic Wild learned to snowboard at the age of 7 at Mt Hood Meadows, Oregon and never looked back.
Unlike the most snowboard kids back in the days the powerful athlete who is also into basketball chose the parallel disciplines and never regret his decision:
“I loved going fast and competing so it was natural to get on a race board. Once I learned how to carve I was hooked,” he recalls.
13 years later, at the age of 20, Wild became a member of the US Snowboard Team but was forced to step back four years later when the United Ski and Snowboarding Association shut down its alpine snowboarding programme.
It's obvious that he still looks back in anger on one of the most frustrating days in his life.
“It is sad to see what USSA has done to alpine snowboarding in the USA. There are so many young kids with talent that have a very difficult road ahead of them. In all snowboard disciplines USSA simply poaches the talent once the athletes get him or herself to the top.
They do not build, instead they leach off of talented athletes who can financially support their dreams. Though the USSA is a non-profit organization they left alpine snowboarding out to dry and focused on more profitable areas of snowboarding. It definitely hurts me to witness it.”
However, when Wild married Russian snowboarder Alena Zavarzina, a World Champion and Olympic medallist, in 2011 he opted for a second chance to make a living from his sport applying for the Russian citizenship although this also meant to be sidelined from the action for a year due to the change of citizenship.
“It wasn't hard. I mean it sucked to watch the races but I knew I needed to step away from competition and develop my skills. I made the most progress of my career in that season.”
True words! When he came back to compete at the World Cup circuit Wild earned his first ever podium spot finishing third in the parallel giant slalom at Carezza, Italy right away.
Another appearance in the small finals followed in Bad Gastein, Austria a few weeks later right before things heated up at the 2013 FIS Snowboard World Championships in Stoneham, Quebec where Wild claimed Bronze in the PGS event for him – and his new home country.
One year later, with his first World Cup win under his belt (Bad Gastein, 2014) the US-born Russian racer became the most successful snowboarder of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games winning Gold in both, the PGS and PSL event.
Three years after his career seemed to be stuck in a dead end street due to the loss of his US funding and support, Wild, now the first Russian snowboarder to win an Olympic title, told the Sochi media: “I have chosen the harder path to success, and I have walked it all the way.”
And it seems that one of the most dominating racers of the past years, who impresses with powerful and dynamic turns, strong legs and a stubborn will hasn't reached the end of his road yet.
“The Olympic titles have changed it in all the ways you can imagine: money, some fame; its all new to me but I have adjusted well and have had a lot of fun with it. But I can't wait to get back into the rhythm of training and trying to perfect my craft.”