Off-Season With U.S. Ski & Snowboard - Toby Miller
As a very successful competition season comes to a close, U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes take to the off-season, each with their own unique programs. In a three-part series, we caught up with Olympian and X Games freeski gold medalist Maggie Voisin (Whitefish, Mont.) and teammates Toby Miller (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) and Hailey Langland (San Clemente, Calif.) from the U.S. Snowboard Pro Team to find out how they will mentally and physically regroup for the season to come. Whether battling back from injuries, an inevitable part of performing at the highest level of action sports, or tackling hobbies that are simply impossible to participate in when traveling across the world to compete, every rider has a different outlook on what is the most beneficial approach to their time off snow.
Next up, Toby Miller who takes us through his plans for the summer ahead.
U.S. Snowboard Pro Team – Toby Miller
Although Miller has collected a handful of podiums at FIS sanctioned events in previous years, the 2018-19 season will surely be considered his breakout season. Looking back, the stars aligned for Toby to excel this past season. In the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic season, the young rider was shadowing the legend that is Shaun White (Carlsbad, Calif.), not only attending major events with White and fellow Olympian and coach JJ Thomas, who recently completed his first season as a member of the U.S. Snowboard Team coaching staff, but also trained alongside White whenever he had the opportunity. This experience clearly reaped benefits for Miller, both physically as a rider and mentally as a competitor.
Toby kicked of his 2018 season by claiming the title of 2018 Junior World Champion in halfpipe in Cardrona, New Zealand. Carrying momentum from this victory, he wasted no time earning his first FIS World Cup podium finish with a second-place at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain in Colorado and, if that wasn’t enough, he stepped up at one of the biggest snowboarding events of the season at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Colo. finding the podium once again with a third-place finish in the inaugural modified superpipe event.
Miller’s success can be tied to a complete shift in his mindsight coming into the season, quickly realizing that to succeed at the highest level of any sport, it takes full dedication.
“After the 17/18 Winter season, I decided to take the approach of turning snowboarding into a year-round sport and try to be on snow as much as possible,” said Toby when we caught up with him. “When the winter in North America started coming to an end, I would travel to Japan, New Zealand, Mt. Hood and finally travel to glaciers in Switzerland and Austria in the fall. When I go to these places, it’s not just to ride the groomers. Every place I travel to has a well maintained 22-foot halfpipe so I can keep working on all of my current tricks and start learning new ones. I can say with confidence that doing this allowed me to have the best season I’ve ever had.”
This approach boded well for the young prodigy. While some athletes look to alternative sports and activities to keep things fresh and avoid burnout, Miller’s top off-season priority happens to be snowboarding. What’s refreshing to Toby is the different mindsight riding outside of competition allows.
“My favorite offseason activity, as crazy as it might sound, is snowboarding,” he said. “I see in-season snowboarding and off-season snowboarding as very different. During the contest season, you are very focused on competing and landing your runs when it counts. When I’m not competing there is less pressure to do these big tricks at a specific time. You go into training with a plan of what tricks you want to learn going into the next competitive season and have roughly seven months to perfect them. In between camps, I do my best to do summer activities like going to the lake or the beach, but when it all comes down to it, my number one priority is snowboarding. If I have an opportunity to snowboard and train, I take it.”
One common theme that we continue to find when speaking with U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes is the importance of family. Unfortunately, the reality is that the families of elite level athletes often do not have the luxury of traveling the world from competition to competition. Whether due to schedule, finances, or logistical challenges, it’s simply not the reality for most.
“The greatest moments in life are not concerned with selfish achievements, but rather with the things we do for the people we love and esteem.”
- Walt Disney
Miller echoed this sentiment, highlighting the important role his family serves in his career and his life.
“My family and friends play a huge roll in my offseason and in season as well,” said Miller. “They have always been so supportive of me ever since I started snowboarding. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them by my side. The time I get to spend with the people I love is priceless.”
Miller’s upbeat and positive approach to life and snowboarding makes him a truly special athlete at U.S. Ski & Snowboard. At only 19 years old, Miller has the world at his feet and limitless possibilities ahead of him.
“Toby is definitely going places,” said U.S. Snowboard Team National Development Team Coach JJ Thomas. “He has a work ethic and love for the sport that is unmatched and which has gotten him to where he is right now. If he stays on track and stays hungry, the sky's the limit! “
Don’t miss your opportunity to follow Miller through his year-round snowboarding journey on social media (see accounts below). As the rest of us find solace on the beach, in the sun, and soaking up the warm weather, Miller will be striving to prepare for the next season of competition on snow in his pursuit to be best in the world
That’s our insight into what one of U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s premier athletes will be up to this summer. Stay tuned for more of the same from Hailey Langland, and if you aren’t already following Maggie Voisin and Toby Miller, make sure you do so now by taking a look at the links below.