WHO THE F*CK IS GAZ VOGAN?
I’m never sure how to write these kind of sections.
I’m a snowboard judge.
I run a video marketing company.
I’ve launched an app.
I am, in the purest sense of the word - a Freelancer.
Welcome to my world.
I've been snowboarding since I was about 12 or 13 - I can't exactly remember when I had my first lesson. A snowdome opened up near where I used to live, and my mum asked if I wanted to get some lessons.
I said yes and within weeks - I was hooked.
I think my poor mum just thought it would be good for me to try a new activity, I don't think she ever expected me to turn it into a career. Through my teenage years, I told everyone I wanted to be a professional snowboarder, so I put all my effort into making that a reality.
And I failed. Kinda.
I was never good enough to go pro - I wasn't even close. But what I did manage, through enthusiasm and passion, was find a hobby that paid me to go snowboarding - which I think is pretty damn close to being a professional, just maybe not in the way I was hoping for as a kid.
In 2014, I broke my spine in 2 places, and when the doctor told me I couldn't snowboard again I was pretty bummed, to say the least. A good friend of mine (Shell Quaile) was organising competitions in the UK for the British University scene, and she suggested that I become a judge for those competitions so I could still stay involved. I did some training, started judging, and haven't looked back since.
I then attended the FIS International Judging Clinic in Switzerland the next year - where I knew absolutely no-one, and was a little nervous to say the least. Rather fortunately, not knowing anyone - I went down for breakfast and sat with Sandy MacDonald and Iztok Somatic, who are (unknowingly to me at the time) legends of the judging world. I sat with them because they were only guys speaking English, but that moment probably kickstarted my international career.
Since 2018, I started travelling the world to judge competitions - and it's become my priority. I started off doing just 1 or 2 weeks a season, and then when it got to the point of having to take 10 or 12 weeks off work a year to travel - I realised I had to quit my full-time job and enter the murky world of freelancing, just to ensure I had the flexibility to travel to contests when I wanted to.
I first launch Vogan Creative, a social media marketing company and I managed clients social media accounts - before Covid hit and I realised I was sick of social media. So I shifted my focus to video marketing and created Inversion Media, and realised I much preferred creating content for other people. A year into the pandemic, I also came up with the concept for Fantasy Snowsports, and launched it as a second company with my good friend Nate Wilde.
So here I am. 2 companies, a paid hobby and a wildly different career than what I could ever have guessed growing up.
This blog is my opportunity to write about snowboarding, and hopefully (in all transparency) help earn some cash along the way.