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by Piotr Szwedowski

I have been snowboarding and mountain biking for over 20 years now. I was born in the Sudety Mountains in Poland but due to my parents' choices I have been living in a big city since I was three years old. My grandparents still live in the mountains and when I was in school...holiday at my grandparents' place was the only thing in my head. Mountain biking and snowboarding were everything for me since I can remember so having grandparents in the mountains was a blast.

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As we get older, things are starting to get harder to change: there's the job, the bills, the loans - everything is connected, and everything seems to hold you back. So four years ago my wife and I decided to change almost everything.

We moved out from the big city and swapped an easygoing city lifestyle for more modest living in a small cottage. The first thing I did after moving here was build a pumptrack in my small backyard. Imagine your whole life in an apartment block and then suddenly you can build jumps behind your house!!!

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Morning coffee and a couple of bracing pumptrack runs, that's a good start to any day. But the greatest privilege for me is to have amazing trails just a minute from my place. Trails that I was thinking about a million times while sitting in a traffic jam or during boring school lessons. Trails that were a weekend event before, now are my everyday...

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Living close to nature has also changed my perception of our environment. Suddenly I've begun to recognize different kinds of rocks, plant species, bird species - I even know where animal dens are close to my trails.

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Doing some simple maths, this season I had more or less 250 days on the mountain bike and over 60 days on the snowboard.

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No matter how you add it all up, the best word to describe it is HAPPINESS.

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We have got only one life and we have to live it to the fullest, do not waste time on things that are not important to us. Life is short. So when people ask me "You moved there just because of the mountain biking?”, I proudly answer "YES I DID".

Photos by Michal Kuczynski unless otherwise noted.


Piotr Szwedowski had a bad ATV accident in 2007. He went trough clinical death, spent five days in a coma, lost two liters of blood, injured his heart muscle, lungs and brain. He suffered multiple fractured bones, including the femur which was split open, received 8 blood transfusions and went on the operating table 8 times. He could not walk for a year. For the following five years Piotr was struggling with more injuries and surgeries, as he was attempting to get back to normal. Since 2011 he has been working with great orthopedist who is also a mountain biker. He set up a 5-year recovery program for Piotr and 2013 was the first season that he was able to ride almost everyday. Piotr knows he still has a long way to go to get back to 100% but he also knows now that he is on the right path! Check out more of Piotr in this edit:

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