What’s up Murka Nation?! For this instalment of Own Roads we’re chatting with Natalie Good and just like her last name suggests, she ain’t too bad at a few things.
Natalie Good, better known as Nat, is a Lawyer / Professional Snowboarder (Crazy mix, we know). Nat has been touring the world snowboarding and more recently trying to qualify for the Winter Olympics all the while doing a double degree in Law and Finance!
Nat, Stoked to get you along for an interview. By the look of what you’ve been up to, it sounds like we were lucky to get a window in your schedule. In a couple of sentences can you tell the Murka Nation who you are and what you do?
Hi! Thanks for having me, it’s so nice to chat with old friends. I have been to what feels like every country in the world over the last 12 months on the Snowboard World Cup tour as I try qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics. It has been a real whirlwind, I feel like I am only just finding my feet now.
So let’s get this straight, you now have a double degree in Law and Finance, even though you’ve been jet-setting around the world doing snowboarding competitions?
I competed whilst studying, but in competitions that were a tier below the World Cup tour. The WC tour is the top tour and it was only after I finished uni that I got a spot on it.
Where on earth did you find the time to study and complete everything?
To be honest I don’t know, quite often it felt like I was pissing into the wind.
Did you always know you wanted to study law? What made you want to go in that direction?
Don’t laugh but I wanted to make the world a better place, my original thought was to do Law and Social Science to help build better societies. But then I didn’t click with Social Science and my dad told me understanding money is how you can make a change.
There must have been some pretty stressful times. Did you ever feel like it was too much?
Many times: third year law exams, when I snapped my femur in Japan, when I broke my foot this year, when I ran out of money, and most of all when I had to start telling people that I was trying to make the Olympics. It is terrifying putting yourself out there and openly admitting your dreams. Fear of failure can break you if you let it.
So where are you currently situated right at this very moment, and what’s happening there?
The Olympic qualifying period lasts 15 months in my sport, and we currently have three months left (the Winter Olympics are this Feb in South Korea). I am currently in Austria training at Stubai Glacier which is near Innsbruck. At this time of the year snow can only be found in glaciers in Europe. It is really beautiful here but in eight days I will travel to Milan for the first World Cup of the season. It’s a City Big Air so in the centre of Milan they make a big scaffold jump and put snow on it, it’s loose.
Wow, it sounds like some serious fun, what’s been the highlight so far on your journey?
The park at Stubai Glacier is unreal, riding here everyday has been so much fun. For me paradise isn’t tropical.
Cambridge seems to have a knack for producing really talented people, what was it like there growing up?
It’s a great little place, there’s so much going on there now that High Performance Sport NZ is located there. Growing up I love my friends there but other than that there’s no mountains, so I always wanted to leave!
Who were some of the people you looked up to when you decided you wanted to compete competitively in snowboarding?
There were two New Zealand girls who I use compete against when I was younger: Stefi Luxton and Possom Torr who competed at World Cups and qualified for the Sochi Olympics. When I saw them at the Olympics something in me clicked and I just had to push the boat out and see if I could do it myself.
We just had a look at some of the jumps you’ve been hitting and they are huge! What preparation and training did you need to do before getting on this qualifying tour?
As you alluded to before, time has never been on my side. So although it is always best to start small and gradually work your way into it, sometimes I’ve had to just man up and get it done. I have done so many large jumps now that I actually have learnt to love them.
What’s next for Natalie? Where do you ultimately want to be in a few of years?
It’s been such a massive push to get where I am now and be in the running for the Olympics that all I want to do after Feb is chill. By this, I mean spending time with my friends and family drinking gin and tonics in the sun.
In the same breath, Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Hamilton have held my job open for the last 12 months which is an unreal amount of support and I will go back to work for them in March. They are a big company so maybe, later on, I will do a secondment somewhere cool like New York or Singapore (my dad just moved to Singapore). I have a few film projects I want to work on with people I’ve meet on this journey too. There’s also talk of a girls snow trip to Alaska in 2020..
So who knows, it’s a mystery but right now I like it this way.