What I love the most about snowboarding are the emotions. You go through multiple feelings: excitement, stress, focus, fear, and joy. It’s a rush of adrenaline every time and it also helps reset your brain. You toss your professional or personal problems aside and all you can think of is going downhill, doing some tricks, and not crashing!
My name is Stéphane Baudry. Currently, I am a freelance software engineer (SWE) in Îles-de-France, and I previously worked for a Big 4 Consulting company in Paris as SWE.
I started my tech journey with a data science program sponsored by Microsoft, where you can learn about data management and A.I. algorithms. I was fascinated by what A.I. could accomplish. Also, I move around a lot and I like the idea of being able to work from anywhere in the world. Few jobs can give you that freedom.
I come from an island in the South Pacific called New Caledonia – my parents come from Tahiti and Metropolitan France. New Caledonia is a beautiful place with warm waters, white-sand beaches, mountains, rivers, blue lagoons, and good food!
France is my latest “long” stop (the previous one was Sydney, Australia). I wanted to travel to Europe, and I knew I had not seen my brother for a long time – it turned out, he was living in France. I have been here ever since.
Outside of work, I love Snowboarding. I first became interested in snowboarding when I was a kid – my mother and I traveled in the south of New Zealand for skiing. Since I was into skateboarding at the time, I figured that snowboarding was the best choice. It took me about half an hour to get the hang of it and off I went, going down on hills way too steep for my level … but I learned a lot very quickly!
My biggest snowboarding inspiration is a very close friend, Tom Hannecart (aka Tommy Dawkins), whom I have known since university. I like to say that he is a pro too lazy to turn pro. He needs very few attempts to accomplish difficult things (high jumps, high speed, flips), and he pushes me all the time.
When it comes to snowboarding styles, I like freeriding a lot: going fast, hard carves, and splashing walls of snow when it’s fresh.
I used to never wear helmets when snowboarding until one of my friends in Australia hit his head while attempting to slide a box sideways. Even with his helmet, he was stunned for the rest of the day. So now, I always wear a helmet. My other equipment includes classic sky gear (goggles, gloves, and beanie). For the board, I go for a stiff, light, and cambered board for speed and hard carves.
Some of my favourite snowboarding destinations are:
- Coronet Peak and Remarkables in New Zealand, which were good places to start.
- I also like Jindabyne, in New South Wales, Australia.
- Grenoble in France has some amazing spots, like Les 2 Alpes and La Plagne.
- I heard Japan has some gnarly tracks too!
I like intense sports such as snowboarding for the feelings it generates. So, while it might be a bit late to foresee any professional career in the sport, l will for sure test the snow of as many mountains as possible all over the world.
I see a few similarities between snowboarding and my job as a software engineer. Work can be boring, fun, or challenging; just like snowboarding. If the trail is not too hard, you just take it easy and enjoy the ride. Now, if I stretch it a little bit, talking about a more challenging set-up (backcountry, black runs), then maybe I could argue that getting to the bottom of that hill in one piece is the problem to tackle.
There are other similarities, such as:
- You gather as much data as possible at first (visibility, people, snow density, obstacles, etc.)
- You draft a plan in your mind with direction, speed, trajectory, etc.
- Finally, you go down, you acquire new data along the way which can modify your plan, and you re-evaluate and re-execute (slides, splashes, jump, grab, etc.)
Snowboarding helps your mind focus on something other than code and computers. It works out your cardio and your muscles, releases endorphins, and is just a nice reset. Hence, if you want to have a long and great career in tech, or in any stressful environment, you must find a way to reset your mind – why not try snowboarding?
My advice to anyone interested in snowboarding is to just go for it! Perhaps get a feel of your balance on a skateboard first (standing sideways) and then give snowboarding a try. You might hurt your butt cheeks at first, but once you have tamed the beast, it’s a lot of fun!
There is always more than tech. Our jobs are a part of our lives. But there are many other things that contribute to our journey on earth: it could be music, writing, songs, travels, helping others, or physical activities. Working in tech can easily become nerve-wracking with deadlines, fundraising, complex problems, team management, and so on. It is never too late to take a step back and try something new and exciting, make new friends, enter a new community of enthusiasts, learn new things, and just enjoy life.
So come on next winter – you too, dear reader! Hunt some snowy mountains! Gear up! Hit the slopes! And show us what you got! 😀