FMX rider Rowe turns to snow

AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

Jack Rowe never made it to X Games on a bike, but now he's set to realize his dream on a snowmobile.

No shortage of freestyle motocross talent will be evident Jan. 24 when when the X Games roll into Aspen. Shortly after news dropped that Jackson Strong was set to compete in Snowmobile Best Trick, it was announced that fellow pro FMXer Jack Rowe would be there in the Snowmobile Freestyle event.

The 24-year-old Chicago native, who spent the majority of his FMX career on the International Freestyle Motocross Association (IFMA) tour, joins not only Strong but also Heath Frisby and Daniel Bodin who too enjoy success on a dirt bike.

After hearing whisperings that Rowe had only been on a sled for a couple of months prior to his invitation, we had to hit up Rowe to get to the bottom of the story. Enjoy … Jack Rowe, how have you been man?
Well, I have been on a mission, man, to say the least …

Enough small talk [laughs], let me get this straight for all the freestyle motocross fans reading this; you are riding in Winter X on a snowmachine. OK, so tell us how the heck you ended up on a sled.
A good buddy of mine, Chuck Whitesell, is a rad dude that has helped me for a long time. He is big into sleds and for the past few years he's tried talking me into getting on one. So about two months ago, he gave me one of his sleds to try. So I decided to give it a shot and see if I could figure it out. It's been a wild ride ever since!

I don't know what is in the water this year … but Jackson Strong decided give it a go in the snow too. What is with you FMX guys?
[Laughs] I don't know. I ride bikes all summer. But I generally am bored out of my mind in winter months. I am traveling to where it is warm so if I wanted to stay home, I needed something to do in the snow. Now here we are …

After years of riding FMX, what is the main difference on a sled compared with a bike hitting ramps?
The biggest difference is probably the weight when jumping. Bikes feel light and typically land smoothly. While the sleds being heavier, generally feel like old worn-out tractors and hurt when you land with them.

Did you use a foam pit to learn any of your tricks?
No, because I don't have one and there isn't one around where I live. So I had to trust my buddies when they said it was like flipping a bike and just sent it, probably not the greatest idea I ever had. But I landed it; so I guess I can't complain.

Plus I don't really like pits, just because there is fluffy foam, doesn't mean you still won't get hurt. So I don't try riding over my head and I just take it slow, learning step by step to dirt the same way I always have.

So back to Winter X, we are just around the corner from the opening in Aspen. What is the goal heading into competition?
I am just super pumped to be going. Riding X Games has always been a dream of mine. I guess I just never focused in on what machine I was riding. If I make it out healthy and ride like I know I can I will be happy no matter how I place.

You rode International Freestyle Motocross Association events and demos for years. Do you think that will help with you nerves going in?
Yeah, for sure. I've been blessed with a pretty rad life being able to travel all over the place and ride in front of a ton of people. I think as long as I can just stay focused and let my body do what I trained it to do … I'll be just fine!

Well, it is a pretty cool story you got going on here. Did any companies jump on board to help you?
Since I was invited [two weeks ago], it's been a pretty hectic. I got a handful of things going on right now and I am not really sure what or who I will be riding for … but I have an awesome team at home helping me. And GLX Snocross built me a set-up so I could finally ride on snow. Now only time will tell.

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