With the thermometer rising as we hit the heart of the summer, it’s hard to imagine strapping one’s boots to a snowboard and dropping down the mountainside from over two miles up. For Puyallup Tribal member Devon Bryan, this has become just another part of his daily life.
For a young man who hasn’t even started seventh grade yet, Bryan is already doing the sort of things that many folks can only dream of.
After appearing in the Tacoma Weekly, the Puyallup Tribal News, as well as a spot on KING 5 News in recent months, Bryan picked up a sponsorship from Arbor Snowboards and Bleach, Tacoma’s independent clothing and skate shop. Word is getting out on this daredevil and we’re getting the feeling that he’s only scratched the surface.
For those playing catch-up, Bryan made a huge splash this past spring on the national snowboarding stage. While events such as the half-pipe and big air competitions gain most of the snowboarding attention, there is another event within the sport that really turns it up a notch.
It’s called “freeriding,” and it is not for the faint of heart. If you have ever imagined climbing up to the top of a mountain, and then basically jumping down into the thick of the powder at a severe incline, then this may be the sport for you.
However, chances are that you’d be better off just sticking with it as just a fan. It takes nerves of steel and the sort of mental make-up that only a tiny percentage of people, let alone athletes, have between their ears. You have to be able to truly go for it, and at the end of your run, want to turn back around and do it again.
Bryan is the son of Puyallup Tribal Councilmember Annette Bryan and Nancy Haack. They have been encouraging the young man’s drive and desire to be the best in the sport, and it’s already paying off.
In April, Bryan placed second in the 12 to 14 age bracket at the IFSA North American Junior Freeride Championships. By the time the number were tallied at the end of the event, Bryan would claim third place in the overall standings. This also included riders who are 15 to 18 years old.
After a short break from competition, Bryan continues his quest to be one of the best in the world at his daredevil sport. On Monday, June 11, Bryant dropped in from over 12,000 feet at the Beartooth Mountains IFSA Freeride Regional Competition and came away with the gold medal. Recently, Bryan has been working on his high-altitude endurance by running the stairs at Stadium Bowl. Up next for the youngster is a July run to Mt. Hood, followed by a trip to New Zealand in August.
Keep on shredding, Devon!
*This story appears in the July 13, 2018 print edition of the Puyallup Tribal News.