When people hear the name Elena Hight, the first woman to land a 900 in a snowboarding competition comes to mind; not to mention she was only 13-years-old when she landed it. But then she pulled another first for a woman with the alley-oop double backside rodeo in the halfpipe this past year. It’s no wonder why she’s known as one of the most progressive riders in the sport.
This week, Hight, a Team Toyota athlete, will be wowing the crowds again at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado starting tomorrow, December 12, and will go on through December 16, 2012. I had the opportunity to do a Q&A with this amazingly talented young woman to get a glimpse of her career as a professional snowboarder.
Action Sports Examiner: Who was it that introduced you to snowboarding?
Elena Hight: My dad taught me how to snowboard when my family relocated from Hawaii to the mountains.
Examiner: What was it that made you want to get into competitive snowboarding?
EH: Snowboarding was just a huge part of my upbringing. I learned when I was 6 years old and began doing amateur USASA events at 7. Those events were the highlight of my weekends as a kid, so I just continued competing as I grew up.
Examiner: Who was the athlete that you looked up to the most?
EH: I was a huge fan of Kelly Clark, Tara Dakides, Jamie Lynn, Gigi Ruff and Danny Kass.
Examiner: It must’ve been quite the rush to be the first woman to land a 900 in competition, and at age 13! What was going through your mind as you were pulling the trick and how did you feel when you landed it?
EH: I was just having fun. When you are that young you have no fear or reservations. I was just so excited to be pushing myself and doing something new for me that I didn’t really realize how much of an impact it would have on the snowboarding world.
Examiner: Fast forward 10 years, and you pull off another first for a woman with the alley-oop double backside rodeo in the halfpipe. You had to’ve felt pretty fantastic after that. Were you already thinking of what your next “first” would be after you landed that?
EH: No not yet! I just want to really dial this trick in before I start thinking about anything else!
Examiner: What is your most favorite trick to do?
EH: I love doing methods. The method is arguably the hardest trick in snowboarding, but it is also one of the most fun!
Examiner: Can you give an idea of what your training regimen is like?
EH: During the season I ride about 5 days a week. I also do a lot of yoga to stay flexible and keep from getting too sore from riding. In the off season I do a lot of strength training in the gym, surf, run, and hike to stay in shape for the season.
Examiner: Do you get nervous before a competition? What do you do to prep yourself until it’s your turn to tear it up?
EH: No matter how many contests I enter I always get nervous. One of the main things that helps keep me calm and gets me ready before a contest is listening to music.
Examiner: This past summer Volcom launched a line of clothing with six pieces you designed. Did you enjoy helping with the designing? Are there plans of more inspiring designs from Elena Hight for future clothing?
EH: Helping design my Volcomunity line was really fun. It was something that I had never done before so it was really cool to get to experience the whole design process. It was amazing to see something go from just being an idea I had to becoming an actual product! I hope to be able to work with Volcom again in designing in the future!
Examiner: You’ve accomplished quite a bit for someone so young. It is very inspiring and surely puts a spark in the eyes of future hopefuls. What kind of advice would you give to those that are thinking about going into a competitive sport?
EH: Remember to always have fun. Your passion and enjoyment will shine through what you are doing and that is what leads to success.
Hight will be among several pro athletes this week at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships, so if you’re in the area and have a chance to witness this spectacular event, don’t miss the opportunity. While you’re there, stop by the Team Toyota tent in the Dew Tour Experience as Hight will be meeting with fans and signing autographs throughout the weekend. Good luck Elena!
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