Alvin Kamara vacationed this week in Montana, that great Western state home to mountains and cowboys and ranches and oil fields, and not very many people. He tweeted all about his newfound obsession with Big Sky Country, admiring the crisp mountain air, the snow, and the solitude one can only find in a state so sparsely populated.
But Kamara didn’t just enjoy the snow-covered Rockies while sitting indoors at the warm fire of a luxury lodge. He grabbed a snowboard for the first time in his life and did not look at all like a person who had never tried snowboarding before.
I mean, look at this!
I’m a skier. The only time I have ever tried snowboarding was in eighth grade on a middle school ski trip, and my friends and I couldn’t even get off the chair lift without ending up in a pile and forcing the lift to stop operating until we could untangle ourselves.
Meanwhile, Kamara landed a jump on his second day!
And a rail trick! On his second day ever! Pro athletes are insane!
I wanted to understand just how impressive Kamara’s snowboarding debut was, so I reached out to pro. U.S. Olympian and Winter X Games medalist Taylor Gold, who watched Kamara’s videos and declared the newbie a star in the making.
“The way he rides, he looks comfortable,” Gold told me. “He looks good when he is riding, which is another thing you don’t really see in beginners. He keeps his arms low, and his body is real quiet. He is not making a bunch of crazy movements with his arms.”
Gold said the athletic skill set of one of the league’s best running backs transfers easily to the mountain. “The balance is a huge part of it, the agility, being able to shift your weight quickly and adjust the way you are standing to keep you upright. The other thing would be being able to read terrain quickly, because when you are running through a bunch of defensive players that is a lot to process in a short amount of time as you are moving forward. That is similar to snowboarding through trees especially, you have to really be quick at basically figuring out the terrain and what you need to do to get through it.”
Kamara’s manager David Raymond told me that after seeing the videos of his client snowboarding like a pro, he asked Kamara to come clean. Was this really his first time on a board?
Yes, really, Kamara told him.
Perhaps not unexpectedly, the Saints have been in touch this week to make sure that Kamara comes home from his mountain adventures in one piece. (You’ll notice Kamara is not wearing a helmet …) Raymond said the Saints asked him if Kamara was getting paid to be out there, and if so, could he please remind Kamara that the Saints pay him more money to stay healthy. Raymond told them that Kamara was not, in fact, being paid to shred some pow but that the Georgia native had the idea on his own to visit Montana and try his hand at snowboarding. Like any good manager, Raymond did clarify that if any marketing opportunities arise organically from this, Kamara wouldn’t say no.
Sean Payton acknowledged Kamara’s new talent with a Mr. Krabs GIF, which could be interpreted either as teary-eyed pride, or I-want-kill-to-you-but-I’m-smiling-through-it.
Kamara did have his share of big falls, and Gold says usually that will strike some fear into a new snowboarder and make them more cautious. Not Kamara.
“I was very impressed actually,” Gold said. “He was sending it, which for somebody in his profession, it isn’t too surprising that he’s aggressive right off the bat. Lot of confidence there. He was going really fast, like I don’t think I have seen a whole lot of people on their first day go that fast.”
Contrary to his tweet, Kamara does not in fact live in Montana now. To the relief of the Saints, he flew home from Montana unscathed on Thursday.