Scotty James has one impressive resume for the humble 25-year old Warrandyte boy he is. Not only is he an X Games gold medalist, a bronze medalist in the men’s halfpipe category at the 2018 Winter Olympics and the youngest winter Olympian in over 50-years, James also happens to be one of the nicest guys you’ll meet – an upstanding role model destined for great things on and off the slopes.
Heading up to Mount Hotham in Victoria’s premium Alpine Region, we spent the weekend with Oakley to test out its PRIZM Lens Technology – a scientifically-backed lens revolutionising sport – whilst taking a few snowboarding lessons with the champ himself, Scotty James.
Here’s what went down over the weekend at Mount Hotham with Oakley.
Chatting with an Olympian
It’s not every day that you get to board one-on-one with a professional snowboarder. Scotty James accommodates with a smile and friendly high-five, as we sit and chat before tackling the slopes.
“From sticks [Warrandyte] to the Olympics; it’s still a pinch-myself moment to be completely honest,” laughs James as we reminisce over mutual neighbourhoods.
“My family were passionate skiers and snowboarders and my brother was a really good ski racer. Fortunately, we would travel around quite a bit to support my brother. I remember a trip to Canada where I would be doing laps around the park while I waited for my brother’s race. From there it just took off.”
At 13, James left home in Melbourne to travel overseas to begin the training and preparation that would one day see him compete in the Olympics. Along the way, he signed a partnership deal with sporting conglomerate Oakley, who have been with him every step of the way since.
“It’s been a whirlwind to date. I don’t get to come home often as I’m always training and preparing for the next competition,” says James.
“It’s my pre-season right now, so I have two months of physical training before heading to Europe in October where I’ll get back into the halfpipe and get turning for the 19/20 season which starts in December. I ebb and flow from having a normal life to training like a maniac, so it’s important to have a healthy balance.”
And although a gruelling schedule awaits the 25-year old, he’s allowed to have some fun in the meantime – while he still can. At Mount Hotham for the annual Oakley Prizm Palooza, James entertained eager fans who lined up for hours to get a glimpse of the superstar.
But it’s not just Oakley’s star athlete that turned heads. Over the course of the weekend, skiers and boarders were welcomed to try out the newest range of Prizm lens technology, amid less than ideal weather conditions; a true test for the revolutionary technology.
“Yeah, we’re up here with Oakley testing out their Prizm technology and giving everyone some experience with Prizm lenses, which is what myself and a lot of other athletes wear on tour,” explains James.
“Where I see the benefits with Prizm lenses is that we spend a lot of time in different weather conditions and Prizm is really good at enhancing the contrast of the snow, no matter what the elements throw at you. Visibility is scarce at the best of times, so to have such a great variety of lenses that we can use in different situations to enhance our abilities to do what we do best is awesome.”
Prizm lens technology
Not a new product by any means, Oakley have developed its patented Prizm lens technology in-house for years, helping both rookies and athletes alike in a number of circumstances.
For the purpose of our weekend at Mount Hotham, where conditions weren’t enchanting, the possibility of utilising a pair of Prizm lenses that enhance what you see (and can’t see) is truly beneficial, as we learnt first hand.
But how exactly does Prizm lens technology work?
“The best way to explain Prizm lens technology is that it is similar to what a photographer would do to a photo with contrast, saturation, clarity, etc. The Prizm lens, when you are looking through it, is doing the same thing by filtering colours; tuning colours up and down,” explains Nick Horvath, Assitant Brand Manager at Oakley.
“What that achieves is better clarity: you can see trees, rocks, roots, dirt, but also the contrast of the bumps when skiing down the slopes. There is definitely a safety precaution associated with it but also a performance aspect which is what it’s renowned for.”
When you get an athlete like Scotty James launching in the pipe, it would make sense that the goggles he uses would need to assist him with spotting his landing, no matter the conditions.
Although Prizm lenses help those under pressure, there are other aspects James takes into consideration that keeps him performing at his best.
“For me, dealing with pressure really comes down to my preparation in the lead up to a competition,” says James.
“I think it’s also important to switch the idea of pressure being a negative to a positive. Using the X Games for example, there was a lot of hype along with the bright lights, the screaming fans and it can all become a little overwhelming. But experience definitely helps with pressure.. and listening to ABBA pre-comp.”
A man of style
Beyond the athletic gear, James is quite the man about town, attending the 2019 Met Gala in a bespoke Tom Ford number.
But it’s his understanding of what it means to be a man in 2019, that is truly admirable – and speaks at length to his character.
“In 2019, I think style is an important trait to have more than ever. It’s an opportunity for us men to portray ourselves a little more with how we see style to be,” says James.
“It’s also a cool way to be creative, which I can resonate with my snowboarding as well. Above all, I think to be a man in this day and age is purely about having respect for one another. And just enjoying yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously.”
Eloquent words from a humble man who doesn’t consider his trophies and celebrity the be-all and end-all. With a growing profile that resonates globally, partnerships and deals with some of the world’s best brands and a world of opportunity at his doorstep, James remains grounded and thankful for the opportunities he’s had to date.
“My proudest moment to date is to say that I stand strong with my own two feet. I have believed in what I wanted to do all these years, through many doubts and curveballs that were thrown my way in my career,” explains James.
“For me, it’s more the mental challenges I’ve overcome and the commitment it’s taken that has gotten me to where I am today. To get to those special moments, like the Olympics, is also truly special and something I remember and carry with me every day.”
To learn more about Oakley and test out its Prizm lens technology for yourself, head to the website here.
Man of Style was a guest of Oakley at Mount Hotham