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The best of both worlds

Benjamin Lowy

This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's Feb. 2 Music Issue. Subscribe today!

AFTER SOCHI, I was saved by the band. I had an outlet playing guitar with Bad Things, something to do instead of sit and feel sorry for myself after not medaling. It was nice to go directly on tour, but it freaked people out. They thought I was done in the sport, which is not true. It has been difficult to do it all: training and competing last winter, touring in the summer, then being the voice and face of Air + Style this winter. But it made sense for me to buy Air + Style and bring it to the U.S. Now that we have three stops [Beijing in December; Innsbruck, Austria, in January; and Los Angeles Feb. 21-22], it's a true series. And it's everything I'm about: music, sports, fashion, art. Of all those things, though, music really showed me my path in life. When I first started playing the guitar at 17, I remember thinking I was going to be the best guitarist in the world. Then I saw a video of Jimmy Page, and I was like, "Being the best guitar player isn't going to happen for me." It was the first time I came to terms with not trying to win at something. So instead, I set out to be the best guitarist I could be. Music also gave me a group of friends and social interaction. It's a language that spoke to me. "Oh, you play? What kind of guitar? What strings do you use?" Snowboarding was never this for me, the camaraderie, even in the beginning. All my friends are here.