Canadian Athlete Feature: Alpine Snowboarder, Megan Farrell
Hometown: Richmond Hill, Ontario
We reached Megan while she was home in Ontario to learn what the life of an alpine snowboarder is like and how sponsorship helps her to achieve her goals.
How did you become an alpine snowboarder?
My parents were avid skiers and all my cousins were on the snowboard race team at our home club. I was the youngest and of course I had to do everything they did. I started skiing at two and snowboarding at four. I’ve never looked back.
What drives you?
I’ve always been so competitive. I’ve been racing every weekend since I was four. Every year I was upping the ante and every year I got better. There was never a doubt for me about what I wanted to do. Never been any other option. I still enjoy it.
Bothwell has been sponsoring you for a few years now, yes?
Yes. They started in 2015.
What does Bothwell’s support allow you to do?
Everything! My sport is extremely expensive. Sponsorship allows me to be competitive: I have new equipment, I can test new equipment, I can enter races, I can train year-round, I can travel to the places where I can train. We’re talking about a sport where .001 seconds is the difference between qualifying for the Olympics or not. Having a sponsor that allows me to be competitive in all aspects is essential.
When you say “expensive,” how expensive are we talking?
Well, for starters, I have to fly everywhere. Last year I was in Europe three times, South America, Asia and Russia. And of course I have to pay for accommodations and food while I’m there. Then there is my equipment. My board cost about $5,000. Then there is training and physio…
What about other forms of funding?
For athletes who don’t have sponsors, there really is no other funding that they can rely on. Last year, Sports Canada’s program didn’t have enough funding for all of the snowboarders who met the set criteria at the beginning of the season. They try, but there wasn’t enough to go around. There were snowboarders who had worked their butt’s off to qualify and in the end, it didn’t come down to how good they were, it came down to lack of funding.
What did you do before Bothwell became your sponsor?
I was not as competitive. In terms of training enough and having the right equipment to be competitive. Mentally, my stress levels were really high. I wasn’t focused on my sport. Before a race, I was busy worrying about things like ‘can I afford wax for my board?’ Whenever I raced I was worried about finances and about how I would find a sponsor. That kind of mental state burns you out. My parents are my other main source of funding. My mom still hasn’t retired and that doesn’t make me feel good. She and my dad are my biggest supporters, but still. Having Bothwell as a sponsor takes a lot of the financial burden off them.
What achievement are you most proud of?
In terms of standings, my best result of 17th at a World Cup. But in terms of my self? After 2018 I was not selected for the Olympics. It was awful! But I picked myself back up. I went on to compete. And I won eight North American races back-to-back and North America overall. I’m most proud of that.
What’s next for you?
Long term goal is to win a gold medal at the Olympics. Beijng 2022! But when you have such a big, long term goal, it can seem out of reach. Short term goals keep you focused and move you toward the longer ones. In 2020, I plan to work more closely with a sports psychologist so that I race like I train. My goal is a top eight result at the World Cup.
What one piece of advice would you give to those of us who don’t compete like you do for a living, but who want to up our game in life?
Being self-aware has helped me to be competitive. My sport requires a lot of sacrifices. I had to decide what I wanted and if I was willing to sacrifice what it takes to get to where I want to be. I think we all need to decide what we want. We have to decide what we are willing to work for and what we are willing to sacrifice to achieve what we want.
Want to learn more about Megan’s career?