By Grant Johnson
Photo copyright Oliver Kraus
Steamboat Springs, CO -
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A. Focus on the matters that you can control. There is no sense in worrying about something that is out of your hands.
Q. What are some of your favorite runs in Steamboat?
A. North St. Pat’s, Rabbit Ears, and I always love a burner down Why Not.
Q. Do you have any superstitions?
A. Yes. When I do well in a race, I remember the specific articles of clothing that I had been wearing. I consider those articles lucky. If I fall or do really poorly, I tend not to wear those clothes again while racing. This goes for socks, underwear, long johns, shirts and necklaces. This practice has actually spilled over into school. I now wear lucky clothes on test day.
Q. What’s your favorite career moment so far?
A. Placing 12th in Russia in front of my dad and younger brother. It was the first time my brother had ever seen me race in a World Cup, and I was so proud that I could pull through after they had gone through so much to get to Russia. The entire experience of the Olympic test event is one I will never forget, and I am so glad that I could share it with a few members of my family.
Q. What does a typical day of training look like for you?
A. During the winter, I will hit the gym in the morning and snowboard in the afternoon. On snow, I work on my deficiencies and areas of discomfort. I lap jumps with my team, and spend time carving and breaking down my turns, testing the boundaries of the board. In the off-season, I spin in the morning and go to the gym for around two or three hours in the afternoon.
Q. What’s your favorite thing about your sport?
A. I love that the ride is different every time we take a run. Each venue has a different course, which keeps us on our toes. We don’t know what to expect until we get on the course. Within a race, every heat is different. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, so we end up racing a different combination of people every time, depending on which strengths the course feeds. Another aspect that is very satisfying is overcoming fear during the first run down a course, and likely even in subsequent runs. During inspection, it is very intimidating to stand next to an 80-foot jump, wondering if you will have the speed to make it. The first whole run through is exhilarating.
Q. If you weren’t a professional athlete, what would you want
A. I am currently on the road to becoming a doctor. My years of witnessing injuries and suffering my own have left a strong desire to be the one to diagnose and heal those who are in pain. I hope to perform research that could make our sports safer, especially regarding head injuries. I am astounded by the number of traumatic brain injuries in my sport alone, and once I am finished snowboarding I intend to attend medical school.
Q. What’s your favorite junk food?
A. French fries. I looove French fries. Though I am quite the baker, trained by my grandmother from a young age. I make a mean chocolate cake.
Q. Do you prefer small towns or big cities?
A. Big cities. I grew up two hours from New York City. I have been there dozens of times, and I am never bored. There is always something new and entertaining to do. I am, however, a bit afraid of the volume of people. I would like to live in an area close enough that I could go into the city for an afternoon, but far enough away that I am not overwhelmed.
Q. How do you rebound from a bad run?
A. I understand that it is the nature of the sport. Every run is different, and a bad run in no way predicts the next run.
Q. What is your favorite concert venue?
A. I have actually only attended two concerts in my life, and they were over 10 years ago. I’m not much of a fan of concerts; I’d much rather see a movie.
Q. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past year?
A. That is a tough one for me. I am a huge movie buff, and I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite movie. “Django Unchained” is the first one that comes to mind. I think Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz were excellent, and I enjoyed the new take on an old subject. I also really enjoyed a French film called “The Intouchables,” which I highly recommend for people who are looking for a funny and touching story, and don’t mind subtitles. Finally, the film that really surprised me was “Seven Psychopaths.” I am a fan of dark humor, and I found the movie hilarious. The acting, story, and script were top-notch. And, as a psychology major, I find psychopaths particularly intriguing.