How did you get into snowboarding?
"I feel really fortunate. I grew up in the mountains near Lake Tahoe. I’m one of eight, I have five sisters and two brothers. So, financially, getting into the sport was pretty difficult. But, through hand-me-downs and family friends who donated some equipment to my sisters — that stuff got handed down to me when I was nine, and that was the first time I got to go snowboarding. I remember I just fell in love with it right away. There was something special about being on the mountain and hanging out with my friends. And, as soon as it clicked, and I started to be able to actually snowboard and go a little faster, I just fell in love with everything the mountains had to offer."
Amazing. And, you had a lot of success very early in life, correct?
"So, right away I started competing. After a few years, when I was 13, I qualified for the X Games. I believe I was the youngest athlete that had ever competed. I went for boardercross, which is six people racing down the course at once, similar to motocross. I liked that, but it wasn’t my favorite. My favorite was always slopestyle, which is what I compete in now. And, a few years later, when I was 15, I qualified for the X Games in that event. I just slowly followed my passion. One thing led to another. I got a bronze medal at the X Games, I signed with my first sponsor, Billabong, and at that point, things really started moving.
"And, then, just in the last year, they added a slopestyle event to the Olympics, which was super-exciting. Of course, I’ve always dreamed of being an Olympian and having the opportunity to go there and compete at that level. But, the events that were in the Olympics before, I wasn’t very passionate about, and I didn’t want to force it. But, the new event brings a different creativity and new energy, a little bit of a different crowd."
"It’s a very friendly community. The guys support the girls, etc. But, I definitely had a few girl snowboarders that I looked up to and was really inspired by. But, there wasn’t a lot. And, I wasn’t one of the first, but I was definitely one of the girls that was both pushing the sport to get more younger girls involved and pushing the level of riding. [There] definitely was a lot of masculine energy, so it was a little difficult trying to be your feminine self. I’ve tried to find that balance of still being a woman and being feminine and beautiful but doing these extreme sports. So, it’s fun, it’s crazy, but it’s all about finding that balance."
So, how do you find that balance between being feminine and an athlete?
"Working with Olay has been amazing to embrace that freshness of Fresh Effects, the beauty aspect of the sport, knowing that everyone wants to feel good and look good. It shows when you take care of yourself and nurture yourself and use good products to, you know, have the final topping on the cake."
You're obviously remaining really active with your training. Are there certain diet plans you follow?
"Being in the winter seasons a lot, I think naturally your body wants to put on a little bit more love. I try to embrace that, I try not to be too focused on being skinny. It’s such a thing nowadays, but I really just want to feel healthy and make sure I’m giving myself what I need — my protein, my carbohydrates. I eat a lot of vegetables. When I’m home, I’ll do mostly plant-based food, but when I’m on the road, I’ll tend to eat a little bit of meat and some more bread and cheese and things like that."
"But, it’s so nice when you’re home and in your own kitchen, you can really cleanse and start fresh and embrace feeling good because it makes such a difference for anyone and everyone. You want to feel good. So, just being conscious of that, but not being obsessive or too attached to anything."
"Exactly. And, I’m in the winter all the time. Then I go into the summer months, and I’m inspired to eat more fresh, living foods. When the winter comes, I try to eat seasonally with squash and root veggies. But, it’s definitely just finding that balance and feeling good in your own skin, regardless of what the scale says or what you’re thinking, just loving what is and knowing that you can work towards your goals, and it’ll all come together."
In terms of your fitness routine, do you think it’s variety that helps you when you’re not snowboarding? What do you love to do at the gym?
"I’ve never been a big fan of the gym. That’s why I have a trainer. I’m like, 'Tell me what to do — I just want to get in and out of here as soon as possible.' But, with yoga, I’ve really fallen in love with the philosophy aspect: connecting the mind, body, and the spirit, and working through any challenges in life through breathing, letting go, and being at peace with what is. Not trying to fight reality, you know? It takes so much energy, and at a lot of these events and (with) traveling, you have to learn to accept what is."
"You don’t have a lot of control over weather, schedules, and things like that. So, it’s really about trying to find peace and serenity, wherever you are. With snowboarding, it makes me so happy being on the mountain, cruising, exploring, and riding with friends. It’s just my calling. I feel so blessed to be able to have that as my profession right now. And, aspects of [my] life will hopefully inspire people to do what they love, to enjoy this life, and enjoy their journey."