Photos by Phil Young
We’ve joined forces with Nikon, who’ve just released the brand new KeyMission 360 Degree action camera, to create a series which focusses on the missions that drive those at the cutting edge of action sports. Here, Mpora’s editor-in-chief Tristan interviews Neil McNab, a snowboarder who’s made it his life’s mission to help people appreciate mountain environments – and explore them safely.
Neil McNab is not a man who is easily panicked. As the only British snowboard guide to hold the coveted UIAGM guiding qualification (awarded by the Union Internationale des Associations de Guides de Montagne), he’s made it his life’s mission to study the mountains and help people to enjoy them safely. But two years ago, while guiding a group on the Kamchatka peninsula, a fantastical land of incredible snow and active volcanoes in the far east of Russia, McNab found himself, if not panicking, then definitely beginning to get worried.
“One of the guys [I was guiding] went off the line I had ridden and he triggered an avalanche. It came down this huge gully, and it caught two of the team. It went down for about a kilometre in length – it was massive – and both of the guys got buried.”
“I thought I’d lost someone to an avalanche, and it was just the worst feeling ever.”
“We found one guy really quickly but the other one I was searching for on my own for a while, following the avalanche down, and I just wasn’t getting a signal. I thought: ‘I think I might have missed him?’ Eventually I picked up his signal and I found him but for an instant…” McNab’s voice tails off as he remembers the incident. “I thought I’d lost someone, and it was just the worst feeling ever.”