This poultry farmer’s son is no chicken. He gained the confidence to fly because of his work in the barn, in the fields and behind the wheel of a tractor.
By Will Stillman | Photos By Will Stillman
Time has stopped, he’s in the zone and on autopilot.
Body is square to the jump, knees bent as he pops up and off at 25 mph. Flying high into the air, body twisting, contorting in different directions at once—gazing skyward, blind to the ground and seemingly out of control.
Air squeezes puffs of snow spray out as the board and rider land as one, straight and true. The jump is nailed.
Mitch Keet says he still revels in the feeling of when he has nailed it, or “stomped it,” even thousands of successful jumps later. “It feels so good. You just know that your hard work has paid off and you’re not hurt. You feel proud, happy and relieved,” he says.
Whether he’s snowboarding in winter or wakeboarding on water during the summer, each attempt at a difficult jump is a dance with disaster. The 17-year-old knows that split-second timing and a few centimeters can mean the difference between a successful landing or a wipeout.