For athlete David Djité snowboarding is more than just a sport; it’s a way of life. Since he was three years old, he and his snowboard have been inseparable. Whether hitting kickers in the park or picking a line through the trees in the backcountry of his home resort, Laax in Switzerland, snowboarding gives him the freedom to express himself, to feel grateful and humble towards nature. But in 2015, he was involved in a serious accident that nearly cost him his life and it changed his relationship with snowboarding.
‘The first three months after the accident were a physical and psychological rollercoaster,’ David explains. On a snowboarding trip to Finland, David caught an edge after landing a trick in the park. In the initial aftermath, he thought he’d got away lightly, with just a few broken ribs. But it turned out he had serious internal injuries and needed emergency surgery. After a few weeks in a Finnish hospital, he returned to his home in Zurich and started contemplating his future relationship with snowboarding.
‘At first, I felt an extreme amount of aversion and regret towards snowboarding and never wanted to have anything to do with it again. But over time I realised why I love snowboarding. I now try to express myself and my thoughts much more with snowboarding. I see it as an art form, where I’m the artist not the athlete.’