Article by Kai Turrific, High Canada
High! Canada met up with Ross Rebagliati, snowboarding gold Olympic medalist. Rick is now a spokesperson for medicinal cannabis especially in relation to sport injuries and pain management.
Ross, how old were you when you figured out you love snow boarding?
It was the summer of 1987. I was a skater and a couple of my friends went down to the states and came back with snowboards in the summer. Being a skater we were landlocked from any way to surf we figured snowboarding would be our way to surf. That’s why I got into it, by the end of the summer I had found my own snowboard. It wasn’t like you could just go to the store and buy a snowboard in those days. There were no snowboard stores or anywhere to buy them. You had to be really into it to really be able to ind one. I started riding that year. We had to go to the states though because no mountains in Canada allowed snowboarding yet. We hit up Mount Baker a lot and the next year Whistler had a place open up for snowboarding. We were off to the races after that.
Having won a gold medal that was taken away and then given back to you, how do you feel snowboarding will adapt to the legalization of cannabis?
Well looking at the whole picture from my perspective, I’ve lived through the whole prohibition; I have lived through the stigma and stereotype of it as well. After Nagano coming back with the weed gold metal so I think moving forward we are going to see less stigmatism. I think the whole stereotype of who smokes cannabis is going to change also. The ultimate goal is for it to no longer be an issue. For cannabis to become a common concept with athletes to substitute for some of the pharmaceuticals they are exposed to due to injury or multiple other reasons.
Will you tell us about your Ross Gold brand?
Ross Gold is our cannabis super brand. We started it about 5 years ago. Were vertically integrated so we have everything from the storefront to production facilities. Were also coming out with our own line of nutrients and dirt. Were basically doing a licensing and branding deal. Were launching our store model in Calgary in May. We really want to set the gold standard. We think it’s what the future is going to look like.
Can you tell our readers about your book Off The Chain?
I guess were going on about 10 years ago now. It was something I did during the prohibition when I wasn’t allowed to be out and doing what I’m doing now. I was in construction at the time and I thought that would be a good chance to put together my career I had in sports. We talked about the cannabis incident but it was really more about a journey through my career, how I got started where I was lead, living in Europe and the after math of everything.
Do think if the events in Nagano never happened would you still be doing what you’re doing now or would you be more involved in snowboarding?
I would have been more involved in snowboarding then I am now. I’m not allowed into the states. At the time I was irst banned from the states was right at the time of the X games, so I would have made that transition from the world cup tour into the X games. That would have been a natural progression for me. Even if I would have been able to pursue that I was already a frequent cannabis user.