Mia Brookes: Metal And Medals
By Colin Bane
By Colin Bane
Mia Brookes has goals. “My first year in Aspen didn’t go the way I wanted, so since then I’ve been waking up every day just blasting music and manifesting: I’m gonna win X Games this year! Everyone’s going down!” she says. “I’ve got nothing against anyone, I just want the gold!”
The 17-year-old’s confidence is hardly misplaced -- Brookes has bolstered her credentials significantly in the year since XG Aspen 2023. In February, she captured the FIS World Championships slopestyle title in a major upset thanks to the first 1440 landed by a woman in a contest.She also won the 2023 FIS Crystal Globe for overall Big Air points.
“It was definitely a hectic year,” Brookes says. “Some things that happened for me in 2023, including my first X Games invitation, were things I grew up thinking would take my whole career to achieve.”
...grew up taking an unusual path to a snowboard career. A native of Sandbach, England (complete with a thick Chesire accent), she rode at indoor ski domes near her home. But Brookes admits “grew up riding at indoor ski domes” is a vast understatement. Her parents, Victoria and Nigel, met in the 1990s while they both were working in Chamonix, France, to finance their snowboarding adventures. For two decades before Mia was born, her parents spent their winters living out of a small camper van to chase powder in the Alps. Mia got on a board before her 2nd birthday, and the family upgraded to a 6-wheel motorhome and kept at it.
“It was just the cheapest way to do it, so we’d live in the motorhome for most of the season,” Mia says. “It’s not quite as spacious as the apartment-sized RVs in America. It’s nice and cozy!”
She took to the sport immediately and has made major strides in the past couple of years. The secret to her new medal-collecting superpower? Metal. Heavy metal, played loud. Metallica. Black Sabbath. Megadeth. AC/DC. All of it. But especially Metallica -- Ride the Lightning is her favorite album. Her pick of the six guitars she has collected and plays is the Gibson Flying V, made legendary by Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield. She says her next snowboarding dream after winning X Games gold is to release a full snowboard video part set to the instrumental track “Orion” from Master of Puppets.
"Anything heavy and aggressive...
...with really brutal guitar and drums gets me so hyped to go snowboard,” the teen says. “I’ll be at the top of the run fussing with my music until I’m like, This is it. This is the song.And then I’ll feel like I can do anything.”
Take that Cab 1440 at the World Championships, for example. It was the first one landed by a woman snowboarder in any contest, anywhere. Usually, huge new tricks debut in Big Air before moving to slopestyle. Not for Brookes, who casually tossed it right in the middle of her slope run.
“That was the first time I’d done it anywhere,” Brookes says. “I’d tried it once before but didn’t land it. My coach was like, ‘It will come to you when the time’s right.’ So I decided to go for it in the contest. I just wanted to win! Riding away, I thought: I can’t believe that worked. I was crying through the rest of the run it was so mental. I’m still crying.”
In Aspen she’s looking forward to her first Big Air start and dreaming of a Slopestyle run with a 1080, a 1260 and a 1440. Or who knows what.