Q&A with Hailey Langland
With impeccable style and a fun-loving attitude, Hailey Langland has become one of snowboarding's newest stars in the making. She's eyeing her Olympic debut in slopestyle and big air at PyeongChang 2018.
Earlier this year, we sent Langland a list of questions. Here's what she had to say.
What's your earliest memory of snowboarding?
My earliest memories of snowboarding were sitting in front of a TV with my dad watching movies like "The Hard, the Hungry and the Homeless," "Double Decade," "True Life," "That's It, That's All." And snowboarders like Chris Roach, Jake Blauvelt, Terje Haakonsen and Noah Salasnek. I remember wanting to be like them, to get to travel the world with friends and do what you love to do.
What's your earliest memory of watching the Olympics, and did you picture yourself being there one day?
The first winter Olympics I watched was in Sochi, Russia, 2014. I was never interested in watching the ones before since slopestyle wasn't included. I was so excited that I stayed up all night to watch the boys and girls compete. I'm pretty sure I cried when I watched Sage and Jamie win. If you told me back then that in 2017 I'd even be competing to try and qualify for the Olympics, I wouldn't believe you.
What was the breakthrough moment in your career?
I think my little moment was back at my first Grand Prix in Mammoth, 2015. It was a year after the Olympics, and girls that competed in Sochi were there to compete as well. I was freaking out, so star-struck, and at that point I didn't care if I did well at all. I qualified first to finals, which ended up getting cancelled, and I got to take home my first big win. That's when I knew I had a chance at competing alongside these girls.
In past years, I've struggled with doing well at contests because I became so invested in trying to prove myself and make people happy with me.
How influential were your parents in getting you to this point?
My parents have been nothing but supportive ever since I started snowboarding. My dad grew up snowboarding in Tahoe, and so he thought one day it'd be cool to get me into it so we could go together. When I was 5, he took me up to Big Bear and I haven't stopped since.
Any big obstacles you've had to overcome along the way?
Doing things for anything other than myself. I don't think I've actually fully overcome this, but I've come a long way from where I was. In past years, I've struggled with doing well at contests because I became so invested in trying to prove myself and make people happy with me. I started to lose sight of what was really important, and I would get so down on myself if I didn't do well. I still do get bummed when I don't do as good as I hoped, but now I ride for myself and couldn't care less about what anyone else thought.
Within snowboarding, who has been your greatest influence?
Kimmy Fasani, hands down. She's someone I've looked up to my entire life, not only in snowboarding, but in everyday life as well. It could be raining on the hill and Kimmy would still have a smile on her face and make the best of it.
Who's your Olympic role model?
Jamie Anderson. All around boss lady.
What's your training schedule like?
Wake up, get dressed, make breakfast, put on my gear and head out the door. At the hill, I tie my boots and then do a few warm up exercises. After riding, I get home, and probably take a nap, wake up, do some homework, get some physical therapy work done, and by that time I should be having dinner.
How much time do you spend training each day?
It depends on how the weather and the snow conditions are. If it's a nice bluebird day and the snow is good, I'll ride all day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What's your music of choice while training?
My music genre switches a lot. I rarely listen to music when I ride, but when I do, I usually listen to bands like The Rolling Stones, The Animals and Pink Floyd.
What’s the most grueling workout you’ve ever done?
I'm still new to the whole working out thing. I know what my limits are and I don't dare to put myself in a situation where I find myself absolutely suffering the next day from a workout.
Do you set goals for yourself?
I find that for me, I get more things done when I don't set goals. It's so backwards, but I like letting things happen as they go.
What’s something about snowboarding that most people don't see?
I think what a lot of people don't know about our sport is that a lot of us that compete grew up together, especially with the younger generation of kids coming up. I've known most of my friends for years, and some for more than 10 years. It's pretty cool to think about.
Do you think people have any misconceptions about snowboarding?
I know a lot of people think snowboarders are rude and just spell out trouble. There are definitely some out there, but for the majority of snowboarders that I know, they are the nicest, most respectable people I have ever met.
Biggest fear when competing?
Failing to complete a run from falling on something you don't expect to. This to me isn't really a fear, but just a nagging thought. If it does happen, all you do is think about that one trick and ask yourself "why?" over and over again. I hate that.
I'm fairly superstitious, but I know it's just me coping with how nervous I am. I never eat before a contest, I only eat once it's over. I try to wear the same socks on contest day as the socks I wore on my best practice day.
Do you like to travel? What's been in your favorite place?
I love traveling. I think the coolest place I've ever been is Wanaka, New Zealand. It's so beautiful, and not to mention the people have the coolest accents. I want to move there so bad.
If you weren't an athlete, what would you like to be doing?
Honestly, I have no clue. I grew up playing all sorts of sports so I can't imagine not being an athlete. But if I weren't snowboarding, I'd probably be a surfer or soccer player. If being an athlete really wasn't in the cards for me, I'd hope to become an actress.
When I'm home, I like to go surfing and do yoga at the beach. Lately, I've been getting into painting and photography.
Do you have a personal motto or inspirational quote?
Everything is better when you're having fun.
What advice would you give to a young snowboarder just starting out?
If you love something, don't ever stop doing it. Passion and dedication goes a lot further than talent alone.
What will success look like for you in PyeongChang?
All I wish for is to make the team and do the best run I know I can do. Whether it gets me on the podium or not, I hope that I can still be happy with myself.