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Russell Heenan


Back in the 90s, rock music was changing into a more grungy vibe and I was turning from a dorky kid into a whole new version of my former self that was as grungy as the rock scene. I will be straight in that I found school life hard. Not being an academic I really didn't suit sitting in a classroom and i was a kid that always thought there was something out there for me that would feel amazing. It was this lack of academic prowess that led me into the snow and skate world.

Fortunately for me, I lived in Tamworth and Europe's first Snowdome had not long been built. My school, in probably the worst choice they ever made invented a system called modular studies This was basically for the kids who were bad at foreign languages, it was designed to offer vocational courses, one of the options was 'skiing'. I'd done a few of the courses like welding, photography,media etc. I was after the last course a few guys from the other side of my year said, come snowboarding with us......... O.K. then I thought. My first day I paid my fee of £5 for a few hours but that included slope time and no lessons. My Buddy Chris Orchard said 'I'll teach you', so up i stroll up 3/4's of the way up, strap in, and no word of a lie, my first lesson went like this. I got a shove off Chris, and a shouted instruction to point it straight. Now this would have gone well if there was not a 1ft cheese wedge ramp hidden that of course I flew over head first, heard a snap and later found cracked two ribs, but as I lay winded on the floor, I knew this was for me. I had a Saturday job so quickly went and picked some kit up from Subway in Tamworth and once I had my own stuff and a rad cousin (thnx Dawnie) that worked at the Snowdome reception, I was there most nights. I made a lot of good friends through the Snowdome and as we all got a bit better we struck a deal with the snowdome to become 'The Ramp Boys'. We would sort all the ramps in exchange for riding snowboard only nights on Tuesday's and later Saturday's.

From my shockingly bad memory, the crew consisted of me, Chris Orchard, Adam Gendle, Matt Maltby-Russell, Matt Coy, Dave Thompson and regular visitors, Tim Warwood, Duncan Carr, Faye Greenaway and many many more.

I can attribute a little of my style to each and every one of the people I was honoured to ride with. I think most skaters and snowboarders are the same, watching videos, getting stoked and giving it a go.

Most of my skill came from repeated battering myself until it worked, I had no fear or care so would give anything a go. That continued on until I was roughly 24 when I fulfilled a long time ambition of becoming a police officer, still riding and skating occasionally, I had it all, the job I always wanted, a dream side sports that was more than a hobby,still had companies flowing me kit but it was to end just a couple of years later after an injury on duty that disabled my left hand and damaged my nervous system. 

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