Olympic Snowboarder Kelly Clark on Mammoth Living and Snowboarding

Four time-Olympian Kelly Clark moved to Mammoth in 2002 to train with the U.S. Snowboard team. The mountain, the community, and the weather captured her heart, and the Vermont-native decided to make Mammoth Lakes her permanent home base. She’s competed in four Winter Games, winning a gold and two bronze medals in snowboard halfpipe. Her Olympic achievements combined with nine X Games gold medals, and seven US Open titles makes her the most winning snowboarder in the history of the sport. But it’s not just the halfpipe that Clark loves about Mammoth. She can often be found riding her bike, freeriding, or working on do-it-yourself projects around her home. We caught up with Kelly to talk about Mammoth living and snowboarding.

On making Mammoth home base

I moved out here because I thought it would be nice to live where I was training. I fell in love with the town and the mountain and I never left. I’ve traveled to most mountain towns for competitions and the weather in Mammoth was the most attractive to me. The community and friends that I have here, complete that. It’s nice to have a good location and good weather, but the people make it feel like home.

On Mammoth Weather

The combination of snow and sun is unbeatable. Some resorts get one or the other, but Mammoth gets as much snow as any place and has 300 days of sun to back it up. With my schedule, I am home only four or five days a month, so it’s nice to come home and not have to sit in the rain or have it be cloudy or gray. It’s awesome to come home and have it be sunny.

On life and Mammoth living

What I do is extremely social and I get really drained from being around people 24-hours a day—life is pretty hectic most of the time. Coming home is like hitting the reset button. I have a sanctuary that’s comfortable, nice and private. I don’t have a lot going on when I’m here, but if I’m home long enough to fill up my fridge I’ll have a dinner party.

On keeping pets

I’ve got starfish, snails, crabs, and shrimp. I can’t have real pets so these guys fit the bill for me. I always wanted a saltwater tank; we had freshwater tanks when I was a kid. It requires a little bit of work, but that’s my personality. I’ve never really been very good at sitting still, but if I’m resting and need a time out I can tinker with my fish tank. It’s my science project, pretty fun.

On home projects

I’m definitely a do-it-yourselfer. I got excited when I refinished my deck and Bear Paints retweeted my before and after pictures. That’s what I live for—I was psyched.

On riding Mammoth Mountain

The mountain really has a little bit of everything—good park and pipe, epic powder days, and fun groomers. It is one of the most well-rounded resorts I have been too. When I’m training, I’m riding pipe, that’s what I do. But when I’m home I love to free-ride.

On competing

I’ve found that you can never lose your focus, but you can focus on the wrong thing at the wrong time. I fight for that headspace to stay focused on what I’m doing and focus on the things that I can control. When you are trying to perform your best, it can be a threat or an opportunity. I have to think of things as an opportunity and that allows me to perform at my best. It only took me 15 years to figure it out.

On progression

I’ve been doing a frontside 1080 for years and that’s my pinnacle trick; I am trying that switch. I’ve been working on a cab 1080 and the foundation is what makes it tricky. To be able to go fast and initiate that sort of spin you need to have really good edging and fundamentals. No woman has ever done that, it would be a hallmark for our sport and for me it’s a big goal.

On not retiring

I didn’t expect to be doing this when I was 30, but I like it more now than ever before.

Monica Prelle

Monica Prelle is an outdoors, wine, and travel writer who would rather be running, climbing, or mountain biking. See more of Monica's posts here, read more of her work at monicaprelle.com and connect on twitter @monicaprelle

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