The Ambassador Series - Victor White
1) How does a kid from Barbados end up skiing for a career?
Luckily I was fortunate to get the best of both worlds growing up in between Barbados and Sweden. I guess most people would prefer Barbados, the small paradise island in the Caribbean but somehow, I always loved the snow and was drawn to it. Since I was on the wilder side growing up, always climbing palm trees and doing flips in the sand, I figured I would try it on skis. So while on holiday at my grandmother's cabin up in the northern part of Sweden, me and my cousin built a kicker in the back of the yard where I sent a backflip (didn't land it, but I also didn't die, haha..). From then on out, I was all in on skiing. I ended up attending the best ski academy in Sweden at the age of 16-19 where I got to combine studies with skiing and really focus on becoming the best free skier I possibly could be. With that said, I had zero talent, so in terms of becoming a good skier I had to work extremely hard and learn through trial and error. The reason I became good was because I had an unhealthy obsession with the sport, I would even sleep on my stomach, with my head to the right in order to get used to skiing switch (backwards) looking over my right shoulder as supposed to my natural way looking over my left shoulder in order to do switch unnatural spins.. All of the above, as well as a supportive family are the reasons why I ended up where I am today.
2) What is your best/proudest moment on skis?
I clearly remember standing on a mountaintop in New Zealand, mid/late October 2017 with the whole resort shut down - just open for national teams. In the morning as I was warming up in the cafeteria I bumped into Shaun White before making my way out to the chairlift. As I reached the top of the chair, traversing over to the big air jump where my coach at the time Brad Prosser together with Nick Goepper, Robin Gillon and Ryley Lucas were waiting on me to get the session started, I remember taking a moment to just soak everything in. Why? Well, the view was out of this world! One of the things New Zealand in particular is famous for is the views. Secondly, I was skiing with one of the most decorated freeskiers in the sport, Nick Goepper (US), and I had made friends for life with Robin Gillon (Netherlands) and Ryley Lucas (Australia). I had made it to that point in my career by being focused and by working hard. At the time I was running the Barbados national team myself which meant I had to find sponsors to even make my dream of representing Barbados on the world stage possible in the first place. Meanwhile, most other athletes could lean back and have their team organize everything when, in turn, I had to take on that job myself. That, together with being under the pressure of trying to make the Olympics back in 2018, pushing myself mentally and physically to my limits for a long period of time is something that I will bear with me for life. I'm also extremely proud of when I took Barbados' first winter sports medal in 2019 at the Europa Cup in Poland. This achievement made history for Barbados and really confirmed my ability to myself, that I’m not only this ‘exotic’ skier from Barbados.
3) What is your worst moment on skis?
The downside of being a pro skier is that it tends to get lonely at times. Traveling frequently and being on the road for 11 months of the year takes its toll. Injuries are nothing compared to losing a loved one when you’re out travelling the world with your skis - the most difficult moment for me was when my grandmother in Barbados passed away. She was my everything, so not being able to attend her funeral because I had to compete in the US to get points to do the World Cup and World Ski Championships was very painful. I knew that she would want me to push on and to not give up on my dreams, I guess I drew strength from that but standing in the start gate during that competition, thinking of her, trying to concentrate on the risks I had to take was difficult.
4) How did you deal with being told that you might have to stop skiing completely for your own health?
Oh... Like any other passionate person, I did not listen to the doctors when they told me how fragile of a state my head was in. It is not too easy to take the word of a doctor seriously when you have been working your entire life for something and that something defining most of your self-worth. So naturally I thought it would be a good idea to minimize risk by practicing my tricks on an airbag. But when that did not work, and I got concussed after not even hitting my head, I started to realize that the doctors might be right and that I probably should take their advice. However, as I said, when you have dedicated your whole life to a goal - it is not too easy to give it up. Despite family and close friends telling me to put the ski’s away, my mind wasn’t made up until I had a chat with Gary Vaynerchuk! He told me that my head is my operating system and that without it, I couldn’t do anything. That was the final nail in the coffin.
5) Do you ever see a comeback on the slopes in the future?
I put the skis on the shelves for health reasons. However, once a skier always a skier! If I don't ski, I go crazy…so I'll ski until I can't walk. My competitive days are over but skiing for fun is something I won't stop with.
6) What would be your best piece of advice for other kids from Barbados wanting to pursue a career in snow sports?
Move somewhere where you have access to your sport, in order to become good, you are going to have to practice a lot. Don't give up and don't listen to other people. Everything you see, as a matter of fact, if you are reading this, that means that someone was crazy enough to dream and create the thing that makes you able to read this. Point is, dare to be different and dare to dream big, because nothing is impossible.
7) What are your passions outside of skiing?
Spearfishing with a speargun back in Barbados. There is something truly special about diving without oxygen while simultaneously hunting in the water. You’re in another world, another turf. If you ever try it, remember to eat what you kill!
8) What does the future hold for Victor White?
Well.. I have the most ambitious yet secret project coming up this winter. Unfortunately, it is a secret, so I would suggest that you tune in to the breeze podcast on Mondays as well as my vlog on YouTube every Sunday. I'm currently studying at the Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden, so both the podcast and the vlog touch upon life as a student, but obviously I'll have a lot of wicked ski content coming up this winter.
9) Why did you choose to work with Oneskee and what does the brand stand for to you?
The whole Oneskee family dare to be different, which is why I felt like I fit right in. We have Mia Clerc representing Madagascar, Novelist, who's not a snow sport athlete at all, though the most wicked lyricist. And of course, we have the legendary Hannah Teter as well as the GB Mogul Team. I'm not just shouting out these people, they are all admirable in what they do so to get the possibility to be part of a brand who has spotted and invested in such people was a given. The Oneskee brand is more than a brand, it's a statement, a statement I proudly stand behind and represent.