Q&A with Jamie Anderson
When slopestyle made its Olympic debut in 2014, Jamie Anderson fulfilled expectations by winning the inaugural gold medal in the women's contest. Now, as she prepares for the upcoming Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, the yoga-loving rider from Tahoe remains one of the top favorites in slopestyle and will also have a chance to earn a medal in big air, a new event for 2018.
Earlier this year, we sent Anderson a list of questions. Here's what she had to say.
What's your earliest memory of snowboarding?
I grew up watching my sisters and seeing kids at the local mountain hit jumps. After I hit my first jump, I knew this was something I was going to pursue.
What's your earliest memory of watching the Olympics?
I remember watching the summer Olympics as a kid and knew that I wanted to be an Olympian one day. At the time, snowboarding wasn't in the Olympics, but I knew that wouldn't stop me.
Did your parents support your desire to pursue a snowboarding career?
My parents have always supported me and they still come to my events and support me each day. My mom homeschooled me so I could spend most days snowboarding at Sierra with my siblings. Our entire family — 10 people — was living off of my dad's income. He was a firefighter, so I used hand-me-down gear from my sisters. We were all a very close and supportive family and nothing has changed.
What was your breakthrough moment?
It was the first time I was invited to the X Games. I was the youngest athlete ever invited [13 years old, 2004] and the youngest athlete at the time to ever win an X Games medal [15 years old, 2006].
Best part of the Olympic Village experience in Sochi?
Getting to know all of the athletes and learning about different sports, lifestyles and cultures.
Where do you keep your Olympic medal?
I keep my 2014 gold medal at my house in Tahoe.
What's your training schedule like?
For me, it was all about finding that balance. I worked out with my trainer and made yoga a priority. Depending on the day, I do workouts in the gym, snowboard on the mountain, yoga usually before or after, and meditate in mornings and afternoons.
What's your music of choice while training?
Nas, "I Can." I love all music, but when I am on the mountain, I listen to a lot of Nas, Drake, 2 Pac, etc.
I always go to yoga — I do core fusion and vinyasa. My favorite poses are variations on the handstand and the scorpion. You have to use your whole body, it’s physically and mentally challenging. Yoga helps keep me balanced and fits into my lifestyle on and off the mountain. It also is a huge help when I am traveling and competing.
What are the worst injuries you've had over the course of your career?
Ruptured spleen (2009), broken collarbone (2015), broken rib (2016), broken elbow (2017). In our sport, we commonly see injuries, but we know that entering into it — it kind of comes with the territory. I think the biggest part to overcome is the mental piece. To try the trick or jump again that you were hurt on. Once you can get over that hump, it's makes things easier.
I'm not the type of competitor who wants to not see everyone do well.
Who's your biggest rival?
I wouldn't say we have any "rivals," but [last] season, it was Anna Gasser and myself on the top of the podium at a majority of the contests.
Among your fellow snowboarders, who do you socialize with the most?
I am very close to all of the girls I compete against and with. I feel the best when everyone lands an epic run. I have friends who come over to me right before they compete and give me a hug and try to rub off some of my energy. And I love that, that’s what I'm there for. I'm not the type of competitor who wants to not see everyone do well. I host an event every year at my home mountain, Sierra, where they build me a private jump. I invite a group of 10 girls to come out for the week and we ride my jump, hang out and explore the Sierra Mountains. Also, my boyfriend, Tyler Nicholson, is on the Canadian snowboard team. He is very supportive and he is a big part of my life. We push and train with each other. Makes it that much more fun.
I love to take time before events to clear my head. I do a little meditation and always have crystals on me. I crochet crystals into my beanie or wear a necklace to have balance and energy with me.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Follow your dreams. Find something you’re passionate about and really pursue it. If you put it out into the universe and really believe in that dream, it can really happen. But also be productive and work hard towards goals. Everything will turn around for you, but it happens one day at a time. Be patient, because it doesn’t always happen all at once.
Within snowboarding, who have been your biggest influences?
My biggest role models are legendary snowboarders — [most of them] were never Olympians since [slopestyle] was not an Olympic sport until 2014. Barrett Christy, Tara Dakides, Tina Basich and Circe Wallace have all inspired me.
What athlete, in any sport, has inspired you?
I think Simone Biles is amazing! She is such a powerhouse but I feel that all athletes are inspiring in one way or another. Each sport is different and every athlete has their own story and journey that inspires us all.
What advice would you give to a young snowboarder just starting out?
It's better to be inspired by your competition than be jealous.
If you weren't an athlete, what would you like to be doing?
Not quite sure, but after the Olympics, I would love to live on a farm with horses and ride a lot of powder in the backcountry and find more ways to give back.
What organizations do you support?
I have been involved with Protect Our Winters for years. The environment is so key to what we do every day and it impacts our sport. I played for Protect Our Winters when I was on "The Celebrity Apprentice" in 2014. Even though I didn't win, President Trump gave the charity a check because he knew how important it was to me. I also started my own foundation, the Jamie Anderson Foundation. The foundation was established in 2013 as a way for me to give back to youth, by supporting their athletic dreams and inspiring them to be community and environmental leaders. Our mission is to offer young athletes access and financial assistance to participate in winter sports, pursue their dreams and connect with the environment. Since the foundation’s creation, we have provided more than 30 young winter sports athletes with equipment, clothing, season passes and financialaid so they can travel to the USASA national competitions. By introducing winter sports to future generations and providing them access to the mountains, they are naturally guided to care about the environment and to create social movement.
Yoga, hiking, surfing, anything outdoors. I do this pretty much year-round and as much as I can! During the summer, you will usually find me in Hawaii, Bali, South America or somewhere warm where I can surf, hike and relax with friends and my boyfriend.
What do you think of South Korea?
I was there for the Olympic test event last year and loved it! The courses were amazing and the city was very welcoming to us all. I would love to go explore the backcountry, and I am a huge fan of the food there!
What will success look like for you in PyeongChang?
I would love to stomp a new and amazing run, progress the sport and of course win another gold medal in slopestyle and a medal in big air!