Meredith Eades is our newest and FIRST female Sponsored Thug. She recently took 5th at the Subaru Freeride Series freestyle skiing competition at Snowbird Resort, in the women's category. Of note, she has had some pretty serious bone breaks and injured numerous other body parts over the past 2.5 years, yet she's back up and killing it. She kindly spent some time answering the many, many questions I had for her. I don't throw this word around a lot but she is one inspiring lady, and we at Thuggies are thrilled to have her on our team!
Kim: When did you get started skiing? When did you start competing?
Meredith: I started skiing when I was 2. This is my first year competing in big mountain events.
Kim: Home mountain?
Meredith: Whistler Blackcomb, BC ( Ed. note: where the Thuggie was born!)
Kim: What gear do you use?
Meredith: Atomic automatic skis, Arcteryx outerwear, Oakley goggles, Smith helmet, Dalbello Boots
Kim: How did you get hooked up with Thuggies?
Meredith: Brad, one of the owners and I have been friends since university. I was one of the only non-sorority girls that hung out with the frat boys. His friend Keith and I had all the same classes so I met Brad by default and we've been friends since. Brad had some parts for my car that I needed before my trip to Utah and on my way out he asked if I would wear a Thuggie when I was there. The rest is history!
Kim: When people see you in yours, do you think they are jealous, judging, a bit of both or…what?
Meredith: I think unsure what to think at first, Utah was my first time ever wearing one in public and everyone that saw it was pretty stoked and wanted to know where to get one!
Kim: Best skiing memory thus far?
Meredith: I mean, there are a lot of great days that have been had. Placing 5th at Snowbird was a great day. But any day that I’m with a crew of good friends where I’m laughing so hard goes down in the books!
Kim: What are your nicknames?
Meredith: There are a few that have circulated over the years... Mer is what most that meet for me the first time use. Dith is a name my friends from home call me, which has caught on a bit here too. Brad and crew call my MERDY. (Ed. note - MERDY, hence forth)
Kim: If you could be one animal, what would it be?
Kim: Favorite place to compete?
MERDY: Well I've not competed a lot recently, this year I liked the Snowbird venue. And Whistler obviously has a great night life post comp.
Kim: From what I know, you had a pretty bad series of injuries relatively recently, and yet have not only recovered, but are competing again in huge competitions, and ranking high. First off, what happened?
MERDY: I’ve had a lot of bad luck with competitions in the past. In 2007 I was invited to compete at WSSF for the “If Ullr Were a Girl” competition. The last run of training day I came off a rail poorly and broke my ankle. This required surgery, 8 weeks of crutches and rehab. 5 months later I moved to Australia for school and ended up doing a couple comps down there. Subsequently I was invited to a Redbull Big Air comp. My last practice run I did a Lincoln loop 180 and landed a bit too far forward. I didn’t realize it at the time but I had broken my tibial plateau and blown out my PCL and LCL for the second time. The nature of the injury and because I’d already blown those same ligaments before made it a 2 surgery, hip bone graft, 29 weeks on crutches over a 2.5 year period, recovery. I also broke my foot in between surgeries. Thomas (my physio) was not impressed!
Kim: How on earth did you recover, physically? Like, what sort of rehab did you go through?
MERDY: I guess it’s just something you know you have to do, so you do it. A lot of time at the physio, my physiotherapist pretty much knows my whole life story! I’m also exceptionally good on crutches. I crutch faster than most people walk! Lol! (Ed. note - skillz)
Kim: What did you do to recover mentally? Breaking both of your knees for anyone, competitive athlete or not, is a huge thing to come back from. Did you ever think your career was over?
MERDY: Mentally is a bit more challenging. Injuries are pretty hard on you. Go from being really talented at something that you love more than anything, to not being able to do it at all, and wonder if you’ll ever be able to do it again at that same level. I blew that same knee for the first time when I was 17. The doctors told me I wouldn’t ski again, let alone compete. That is pretty devastating to hear when you’re 17 and all you want to do is be a pro skier! The mental recovery for me I guess comes from how much I actually love doing it. I’m pretty competitive and always want to try harder more challenging things and ski with people that continuously push me. I have such a great group of friends that believe in me more than I do sometimes and that support is the best thing I could ask for!
Kim: Biggest accomplishment?
MERDY: In terms of skiing, I'm pretty happy about my 5th place finish at Snowbird. I've done a lot of comps and injured myself at the majority of them. Finishing a solid run, and placing rather well with minimal skiing compare to my competitors was pretty satisfying!
Kim: Most afraid of?
MERDY: Not making the decisions that will make me the happiest I can be. Hurting myself so bad I can’t do the things that I love and make me the happiest.
Kim: What music do you listen to when you ride?
MERDY: I'm too much of a talker to listen to music when I ride... But the odd time I'm alone and not chatting up randoms on the lift, ill put in some glitch mob, digging the new Macklemore album these days as well!
Kim: What do you like better, sloths or sea turtles?
MERDY: Sea Turtles
Kim: Where is your career going next? Any particular hopes, aspirations?
MERDY: I'm just hoping to ski on the qualifying tour, have fun, remain injury free. I usually ski the best when I'm having fun with my friends. It would definitely be cool to gain some sponsors (other than Thuggies of course) make the big tour, travel to some new places and ski, but I'm just taking it one step at a time. I still work full time in the mining industry so need to best manage both.
Kim: Where would you like to ski and haven’t yet, and why?
MERDY: Jackson hole Wyoming, Chile, Alaska, Japan are a few that come to mind. Whistler is close which makes it financially easier, after this season the friends I've made from Jackson have me convinced I should move there! Getting time and saving the cash to go are always the challenges.
Kim: Do you have any creepy fans yet?
MERDY: Haha none that I know of!
Kim: If you know yet, where are you competing next year?
MERDY: I haven’t seen a schedule of the tour yet, but I would definitely like to check out the first event in Chile this August.
Kim: Who is the athlete who most inspires you?
MERDY: Well I knew Sarah (Burke) since I was 15, she was definitely someone i aspired to be like and someone who did great things for women in skiing. I definitely think about her a lot.
Kim: Who is the person in your life who most inspires you? You can have more than one, if need be. It’s hard to pick.
MERDY: There are so many people that inspire me. Those that do what they love and make a living out of it. People that are living to the fullest making the most of their days… its easier said than done when responsibilities of “being a grown up” kick in and just the day to day lives we live.
Kim: Have you ever skied in a Thuggie? What about a Funzie?
MERDY: Not skied in my Thuggie/ Funzie yet, but I feel like spring skiing might be my calling!
Kim: Thuggies. Pants on or pants off?
MERDY: I'd like to try no pants at the bar and see how I fare before making that call!
Kim: Anything else you want to share with me? And your adoring fans, of course.
MERDY: Just thank you! Every positive, supportive and encouraging comment I see makes me the happiest girl in the world! Thank you so much!
No, thank YOU. Keep your eyes on this one. If she can beat two broken knees, what can't she beat? But seriously, what?
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