Getting to know Chas Guldemond, slopestyle snowboarder
Chas Guldemond, 26, is a member of the first-ever U.S. Olympic slopestyle team. The New Hampshire native has been one of the top riders on the scene and a regular on the podium in recent years. He'll be part of a deep field of medal contenders in Sochi.
We caught up with Guldemond to find out more of the backstory behind the rider. Read on to find out about his contest day superstition, his love of skateboarding and why he's a modern-day "Rocky."
Do you remember where you were when you found out that slopestyle would be added as an Olympic event at Sochi?
I was on a beach when I found out that the Olympics were gonna have slopestyle, and I looked at it on my phone, and as soon as I looked at it, it didn’t really set in at first. But my wife looked over at me and she was like, “You better get to work.” And I knew from that point on, the level in the game was gonna change and we’re gonna have to put in that extra effort to prepare, and it was on from there.
Guldemond was the top-placing American at the iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, the first of five Olympic qualifying events. (Photo: Alli Sports)
Growing up, you did a lot of odd jobs to earn money. How do you think that helped you to stay motivated to compete?
Definitely growing up on the east coast, my parents really instilled a hard work ethic in me, and I’m very grateful for that. When I turned 14 my parents sent me to a snowboard academy and they said, “If you wanna go to this snowboard academy, you gotta work all summer long and contribute as much as you can to your tuition.” So that’s what I did. I started working at a clam shack peeling a 50 pound bag of onions, slicing them and then sorting them into three different groups of onion rings, and that was my job for a full summer. $5.25 an hour. Then I moved on to being a prep cook at a diner. I used to detail cars. I had my own floor mats with a C.G. on them – paper floor mats. Then my last job was remodeling bathrooms and kitchens with my father. I used to do that fulltime, 45 hours a week and then go to night school, and that’s how I graduated high school my senior year. From there I took that money that I earned in the summer and the fall, moved out to Tahoe and pushed for my career and I feel like I haven’t lost that work ethic since. I have this wonderful opportunity to be a pro snowboarder; you’re damn right I’m gonna work hard for it and give it everything I got, because it’s a blessing.
How long have you been skateboarding?
I’ve been skateboarding since I was eight.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Growing up: Chas Guldemond
How does it rank with snowboarding?
Oh, it’s right up there with snowboarding. Skateboarding is really fun, it’s really creative, and you can do whatever you want, wherever you want. It’s free. Once you have your skateboard, everything’s up to you how you want to ride it, where you want to go, and who you want to do it with. So it’s a pretty open and free sport, and that’s what I like about it.
What are some of the parallels that you see between your life and the "Rocky" movies?
Well, I grew up watching the "Rocky" series. I think I started when I was about eight years old, and when I watched that movie, it would get me stoked. It would get me motivated to go out and play in the woods and skateboard real hard and learn new tricks and put together little runs on my skateboard in my driveway. It always gave me that extra push to keep moving forward and to work hard on my board, whether it be a skateboard or a snowboard. And then I started my professional career, and I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs. It’s been peaks and valleys the whole time. I’ve been through a lot of things and overcame and I feel like my life really relates to that series, and what do you know? I’m going to Russia for the biggest fight of my life, and that’s pretty funny.
Watch the video below to hear Guldemond talk about why - fictional character or not - Rocky is his role model.
Embedded video_content_type: Chas Guldemond has all the tools to win
Do you have any lucky charms?
Of course I’ve got lucky charms. Number one would be my wife. When I see her and talk to her before I compete, I know I am always getting extra luck.
I do have a pennant that I always compete with. And then I also have a pair of lucky boxers that I wear on every finals day. So I’ve gotta have those too.
How long are you going to wear those boxers?
It’s a touchy subject, but I do keep the boxers clean. I’ve been wearing them since 2006 when I won my first big event.
Best of Sochi
Olympians with puppies