Women’s pro snowboarding progressed to a new level last weekend at the 2013 Aspen X-Games, with the first 3-peat win in Women’s SuperPipe by none other than Mammoth Unbound Team member and Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark. Clark won the competition with a technically difficult run that began with her signature frontside 1080 and segued straight into a Cab 720.
Fellow competitor Elena Hight, who placed silver, made her own mark with the first ever backside double alley-oop rodeo performed in competition by a man or woman.
Bringing in the bronze was 16-year-old Arielle Gold, who Clark named as an up-and-comer to keep an eye on in her last interview with The Sheet. The X-Games rookie capped her run with a Cab 900.
This week The Sheet got in touch with Clark after her World Cup semifinal run in Utah to ask about the thrills of being a part of X-Games, and snowboarding history.
Sheet: What does it feel like winning your third straight X-Games gold?
Kelly Clark: It’s amazing, really. I was really happy with my riding, and I think the level of women’s snowboarding was at an all-time high at that event, so it’s great to walk away with a win.
Sheet: What do you think made yours the winning run?
KC: You know, it was amazing watching Elena come out and land the first ever backside double in the pipe, but in halfpipe snowboarding it really is about the whole run, not about one trick. I maintained amplitude with all of my tricks, and they were really difficult, as well. Elena did her double last hit, but I was doing my 1080 first hit, putting in my full run.
Sheet: It was amazing the see the overall level of talent this year.
KC: It’s definitely one of the best women’s finals I’ve been a part of. Inspiring, to say the least.
Sheet: It also seems like a real progression in the history of the sport, considering Elena’s double.
KC: Definitely. I think that’s the great thing about snowboarding: you can never be the best. It’s always changing, always progressing, and in order to still be in there at the top spot you have to continue to change with it.
Sheet: So now that the double has been introduced to the contest, do you think you’re going to be working on a double?
KC: I’ve been working on them for the last year or so, but you know I’m not a very reactionary person, so because one person’s doing it doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and say I have to do it as well. But at the same time, once something’s been done, it really opens the door for everybody else. So I think it’ll continue to be amongst the tricks that I’m working on.
Sheet: What’s next for you? Are there more competitions on the horizon?
KC: Yeah, I’m pretty much in the thick of it right now. I’m in Utah, and there’s a World Cup this week. We had World Cup semifinals today already, so we had a contest in the afternoon. I qualified first in the finals, which will be held on Friday. And then Saturday I fly to Europe for the Burton European Open, and then directly after that, the following Friday, I fly to Russia for the test event in Sochi [home of the 2014 Winter Olympics]. That’s basically a dry run of the Olympics.
Sheet: Will you be coming to Mammoth anytime soon to celebrate your victories?
KC: After Sochi I come home; I have about a week here. Then I go to Vail for the U.S. Open. I have one more week at home, and I go to Tignes for the European X-Games. So I think I’ll get 2 weeks at home over the next month and a half or 2. But it’s a good time of year for me. It’s contest season.
(Photo: Adam Moran)