Last night I had the chance to meet Ryan Hudson and to listen to his presentation at The Mountaineers 'Be Wild' Series in Seattle.
Ryan is a North Face Ambassador, a youth leader in the program Outdoor Outreach in San Diego and a professional snowboarder based in Alta, Utah. On his first mountain expedition, he rode down Denali after climbing on an expedition with Conrad Anker and Jon Krakauer.
He had a powerful message about one day in the mountains - ONE DAY - when he saw snow for the first time. In his words, he fell in love with the mountains, with snowboarding and he decided he was going to find a way to make a living from it - and he succeeded! Plus, when he's not training and competing, he's also out there leading others.
Ryan was born into extreme poverty and grew up homeless on the streets of San Diego. He met Chris Rutgers at Outdoor Outreach, a program which takes young people on outdoor adventures. It was one visit from the program leader to his school - and an invite to go snowboarding at Big Bear Resort - which changed everything.
In Ryan's words "I just did it, it felt natural, I saw the snow and the mountains, I fell in love with it all and it was a moment that changed my life forever"
There were many take-aways from his talk last night, not least the Five P's - a motivational reminder which he created while on his Denali expedition.
I'm looking forward to learning more from Hudson and Rutgers, but something that stood out in his talk last night was the importance of being patient with youth - not pushing ideas, but creating a welcoming environment where someone can develop their own love of nature, whether it be the beach, or surfing or mountain sports. He spoke of the important of just taking one person outdoors, something we can all do.
Thanks Ryan for an great talk and an amazing story. Thanks to Mountaineers for putting on the Be Wild series.
Outdoor Outreach are in San Diego. I get to visit them the day before I start the "In the Footsteps of a Saint" expedition. If you'd like to support their program - they'll welcome it. www.outdooroutreach.org
Ryan Hudson - athlete, North Face ambassador, mountaineer, musician, writer, youth-leader and professional snowboarder. Insta - @rhudsonsb