In the world of snowboarding, amazing athletes like Shaun White seem to get the majority of the spotlight (and the TV time). But there are many women who are rocking the slopes too, who can also pull off fantastic tricks and pull in Olympic gold.
Get to know...
- Kelly Clark, snowboard superpipe competitor, the only female to win three US Open halfpipe events, Olympic gold (Salt Lake City) and bronze (Vancouver) medal winner, founder of the Kelly Clark Foundation
- Spencer O'Brien, snowboard slopestyle competitor, 2009 Dew Cup champion and female athlete of the year, X Games silver (2009) and bronze (2008) medalist
How did snowboarding become a passion of yours?
Kelly Clark: I grew up in a small mountain town in Vermont with not much else going on! I was on skis at age 2, and began snowboarding when I was 7. I found it really fun and loved the element of creativity involved.
Spencer O'Brien: My dad used to take my sisters and I skiing, then taught us all to snowboard. It was really a family activity.
What does a typical day of training look like for you?
KC: I'm riding from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., grab lunch, then go to the gym for a few hours. Some days I Spin—it's good to get the lactic acid out and relieve soreness—and other days I walk or use the trampoline.
Read on for the workout moves that will make you a better boarder.
What strength moves really help you stay strong for a long day of riding?
SO: Plyometrics and core exercises. I do planks—30 seconds of holding a regular one, then hold for 15 seconds on each side and repeat the whole rotation. And I also like stability ball roll-ins. With my hands on the floor and my shins or the tops of my feet on the ball, I bring my knees toward my chest.
What has been the most exciting moment of your career to date?
KC: I won the gold in Salt Lake at age 18, missed the podium in Torino and won the bronze in Vancouver in 2010. The bronze is actually more precious to me than the gold because it represents all of the hard work I put in to make it back on the podium.
SO: My first professional win was at the Dew Cup in 2009, and that was a breakout year for me. The Dew Tour offers women equal prize money and a lot of TV time compared to other events. It's amazing that snowboarding offers equal money for male and female winners at most events, which is rare in pro sports, but men often get more TV time.
What gear keeps you happy all day on the mountain?
SO: My Nike Vapen boots are so soft and comfy out of the box.
What is your top tip for boarding newbies?
KC: Get a helmet! Start with lessons and think about what you can control. There's no such thing as losing focus—you can just focus on the wrong things at the wrong time.
SO: Snowboarding requires different balance than you're used to, so give yourself a few days. The progression goes much faster after that first learning curve.
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