MMSA hosts Toyota Grand Prix this weekend
The Sheet talked with two Mammoth locals ahead of their competition at the Toyota Grand Prix on Mammoth Mountain. Abigale Hansen and Josh Bowden, both 20-year-olds, are competing in the halfpipe, Abi on skis and Josh on a snowboard.
First, Abigale Hansen.
The Sheet: How is your season going?
Abigale Hansen: My season has gone awesome actually. I did pretty well at the Dew Tour in Breck in December. Then I went to the China World Cup at the future Olympic site and got fourth there. I was an alternate for the X-Games, and that got me invited to worlds in Park City after that. I fell on my first run at Worlds and smashed my face pretty good and had to go to the dentist to get some work done. But I recovered pretty well and got 7th in Calgary after that.
Sheet: What’s it like to smash your face?
Hansen: It gets in your head, especially because I fell on something I never really fall on. I still have a wire in my head.
Sheet: How long have you been competing professionally?
Hansen: My first World Cup was in 2013. It was weird and scary because during my first World Cup I was just old enough to be in a World Cup. It was like, “I look up to all these women.”
Sheet: How long have you lived in Mammoth?
Hansen: I spent the first seven years of my life in June and then I moved to Mammoth.
I was homeschooled for a while and then once the independent learning center at the high school took over I went to high school there.
Sheet: How does it feel to be competing on your home mountain?
Hansen: It feels really good. I haven’t competed at Mammoth since last year. It’s always interesting competing here because the weather is temperamental.
I mostly love competing at Mammoth cause I have a lot of family and friends and people who have supported me here
Sheet: What is your goal for this competition?
Hansen: Not get blown away. Just kidding. Try to get in the best run I can. It’s tough coming to Mammoth cause we know the weather is going to be tough. The best thing to do is to keep a positive attitude and do the best you can.
Sheet: What tricks are you planning for your run?
Hansen: I haven’t really decided fully. I’ve gotten into the habit of doing a different run each contest and a different run for the finals than the qualifiers. Right now the plan is left 540 to straight air to left 720 to a switch right 540 to a switch left 720 and it’s hard to say after that. I haven’t figured out the bottom part of my run. When I do a competition it depends on the pipe conditions and how fast it is. It can change my air time and that can change what I’m going to do that day.
Sheet: What is your favorite restaurant?
Hansen: Hmmm. It’s hard.My two favorite restaurants, I absolutely love Ohana’s, it is my favorite place to eat in the world. I love Toomey’s, Toomey’s is amazing.
Sheet: What do you like doing in the summers?
Hansen: In the summer probably mountain biking. My physical trainers have told me to slow down with mountain biking. They say I need the summer to focus on the gym and not put my body at more risk than I need to. I think it helps pushing your mental strength being scared of boulders and rocks and stuff. It makes you tougher on snow.
Sheet: What’s next for you?
Hansen: I am heading to a place called Stoneham outside Quebec City for a NorAm competition.After that I will probably head out to Park City, Utah for the spring cause the US team has an amazing training facility there.They have a jump to air bag, a jump to water ramp, a world class gym. Then there is a spring training camp that Mammoth holds. We will all be here cause Mammoth is amazing in the spring. Mount Hood, Oregon in the summer and then Europe, Switzerland in the fall.
Sheet: What is your long term goal?
Hansen: Long term goal is the Olympics, I always dreamed of going to the Olympics. Or I want to film doing backcountry. I haven’t gotten to do a lot of it. Mammoth is an awesome place to do powder and I would love to do more. I haven’t done my Avi 1 course, I haven’t had much time to do that with training and competing.
The Sheet: When did you move to Mammoth?
Josh Bowden: I moved here when I was nine [from Simi Valley], but my parents just pretty much came up here all the time to ski. They brought me up here when I was one, and I’ve pretty much been coming up here ever since. I started snowboarding when I was three.
Sheet: Did you go to Mammoth High?
Bowden: No I was homeschooled since fourth grade. I went to the Mammoth Lakes Academy for two years. Tripp was the teacher there.
Sheet: How has the season been going for you?
Bowden: Season started out a little rough. I sprained my ankle like two weeks before the first contest. So I had to recover from that really quick, and then wasn’t able to do my best run at the first Grand Prix. Then I actually had to pull out of the next contest because I hurt my ankle again. That was rough. But after that contest my ankle started feeling better. I went to China. I got a good run going but couldn’t hold it together I guess. Then I went to Switzerland. That was probably one of the hardest contests of the year and I made finals there.
Sheet: What’s the goal?
Bowden: Make the finals. Get top five.
Sheet: What tricks are you planning for your run here?
Bowden: Front 1260 tail grab, back 9 mute, front double cork 1080 indy, switch frontside cork 720, front 1080, tail stelmasky.
Sheet: Is twenty years-old young for the sport?
Bowden: It’s a good age. The top guy right now is 25. Scotty James. But then all the Japanese are really young and super good.
Sheet: What’s after this?
Bowden: The Rev Tour [At Mammoth Mountain].
Sheet: What’s your favorite restaurant?
Bowden: I like Bleu a lot. I used to work here [Black Velvet] actually, a couple years ago. Now I have an espresso machine at home so I just make coffee there. I like making coffee.
Sheet: What else do you do around Mammoth?
Bowden: I don’t do much at night. I pretty much ride, go home and do school. I’m in online community college now. Studying computer science. It’s going well. I’m up to like 10 languages now.
I started programming when I was in high school and I was like, “Wow I really like this actually. I’ll stick with this in community college and see how it is.” My grandpa was a computer science major, my dad is IT, my uncle is IT, so we have a bunch of computer guys.
Sheet: What about during the summers?
Bowden: Summers I usually mountain bike or skateboard a bunch. This summer I was hurt so I had to do a lot of physical therapy.
Sheet: Do you do any filming?
Bowden: Every now and then, I haven’t done much filming at all in the back country. It’s a different culture than halfpipe, but halfpipe riders are pretty good in powder. If you are a pro snowboarder you have to be good on powder. It’s a fun part of the sport.
Sheet: Do you do much backcountry?
Bowden: Last year I did quite a bit. I did a bunch of split boarding. I just took my Avi one class. So I was just starting to get into it. I’ll probably start doing some more after these couple contests. Probably go to the Sherwins, see what else we can get in to.
Sheet: What’s the long-term goal?
Bowden: I just want to go to the Olympics right now. That’s it right now. Then eventually go film backcountry.
Sheet: What do you like about competing at your home mountain?
Bowden: My whole family will be there … I like sleeping in my own bed.