Finch’s faith: Truckee snowboarder Andy Finch stars in Christian film
Religion may not be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of snowboarding. For Truckee pro snowboarder Andy Finch, faith has everything to do with his sport.So much so, when he wasnt traveling or competing last year he was filming for ONEYEAR, a Christian snowboard movie produced by Nations Foundation, a nonprofit based in Seattle.Whenever I was home we would film and every time God opened up a window for us to shoot, the 27-year-old Finch said as he hosted an impromptu local premiere at his house in Truckees Olympic Heights earlier this month. The project was just blessed.The film took Finch to Bariloche, Argentina, in August, where again conditions were ideal fresh snow and bluebird skies.It was sunny the whole time with deep pow, Finch said. You couldnt have planned a trip like this.Funded by donations, the movie did not have a big budget like many in the ski and snowboard industry.Finch did not receive a penny for the movie, and one of the directors, Jaro Savol, had to sell his car to keep the cameras rolling.This is strictly for the Lord, Finch said. Its about building and honoring a relationship with God.What may be more surprising to some is that Finch and his faith are not alone on the pro circuit; many other big-name riders have turned to God to help them navigate the pressures of a sport that has a reputation for partying over praying. Pro riders like Kelly Clark, Tommy Czeschin, Matt Hammer, Janna Meyer and Dave Downing also expressed their faith by doing the film for no pay.Finch said he was raised in a Christian home, but wasnt living the life until his early 20s.Consequently, when he rediscovered his faith, there werent many by his side on the circuit.When I started (snowboarding) I didnt know any [Christian riders], Finch said. Its pretty amazing the riders that have been saved. Now when everyone starts getting belligerent I go home and wake up refreshed.The movie differs from the common ski-snowboard porn, which is known for all action, no feeling, Finch said, smiling.The films title is its theme what can happen in one year and focuses on Finch, who nearly lost his father Cliff last year.In the fall of 2007, Cliff Finch was involved in a high-speed police chase. The elder Finch fired two shots at police and in response was shot seven times three times in the head.Miraculously, Cliff survived, and his sons faith became even stronger.In the film, the younger Finch talks openly about his father days in the backcountry are interspersed with clips of him at the hospital at his fathers bedside.The coming year also brings challenges as Cliff, still recovering and lacking movement in most of his right side, still faces attempted murder charges.Its only through my faith in God Ive gotten through this year, Finch said. Theres no anger just sadness.Finch, a halfpipe specialist who already has one Olympic Games under his belt, said his job is to honor his father and his faith by doing what he does best.And that means getting back on the mountain. A packed December has already taken Finch to a World Cup event in Switzerland followed by a Grand Prix/Dew Tour stop in Colorado. Looking further ahead, Finch has his eyes set on the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C. But even on tour, he said, hes found something more important than the podium: During his recent trip to Switzerland, the weather was bad and Finch almost couldnt compete because of International Ski Federation logistics.Finch questioned why he was even there. Halfpipe training was on hold and, ready to pack it in and jet home, Finch happened upon an 18-year-old girl who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Finch and the girl talked, and he helped lead her to Christ, he said.It made the whole trip worth it, Finch said.