Ben Kilner

Golf course proves to be launch pad for snowboarder Kilner



Golf course proves to be launch pad for snowboarder Kilner

03 December 2015 / 09:49

Forget the majestic beauty of the Alps or the mysteriousness of Whistler, the third hole on Banchory golf course is where Scotland’s Ben Kilner first got hooked on the sport of snowboarding.

To find out more about Ben, visit his homegrown heroes profile here

Nine years old and armed with his sledge, Kilner joined others in heading to the golf course after a spell of wintery weather covered the various holes in a layer of enticing snow.

While there, he saw a group of individuals making the most of the undulations on the third hole to enjoy a spot of snowboarding.

Immediately fascinated, Kilner was soon swapping his sledge for a snowboard himself, competing in his first competition a year later in the Rider Cup series in Scotland.

The rest, as they say, is history with appearances at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Sochi just the tip of the iceberg in Kilner’s career to date.

However the former Banchory Academy pupil, who has snowboarded at the golf course again since, is definitely not one to forget his roots.

“I try and get home to Banchory as much as I can,” said Kilner, who is incidentally also a keen golfer.

“I remember when I was nine and it actually snowed down in the town so I went to my local golf course, the third hole, as that’s where everyone went sledging.

I saw these snowboarders riding and I was like ‘I really want to do that, they look so cool’

“I used to try standing up on my sledge and it just went from there.

“I remember speaking to the pro in the golf shop later that summer saying that I had been snowboarding on the course and he told me I needed to watch out for the greens!

“Once I started doing it as a career though then they realised that it wasn’t too bad, and I think they were more proud, especially as I’d used their course as a starter point!”

During the course of the last 12 months the 27-year-old has spent an increased amount of time back at home in Banchory as he underwent rehabilitation on a broken pelvis suffered in a training accident in Colorado on New Year’s Day.

But now back to full fitness, he is back out in America preparing for the new season to get into full swing in 2016 – although a quick trip back to Scotland for the festive period could well be on the cards.

“I think I’ll be home for Christmas, I have booked flights to come home so I’ll keep the family happy I reckon and come back,” he added.

“I use my spare time as much as a I can to catch up with friends and family. My family is all over the world so we’re finally in one country again.

“There’s a really nice community in Banchory. I’ve done quite a few talks at school and I’ve attended a couple of sports days as well where I’ve been handing out a few medals as well which has been great. You get completely mobbed but it’s fun.”

Still a big kid at heart, you get the impression Kilner will be back out on the golf course with his snowboard if the wintry weather returns again later this month.