Words by Sophie Everard
A lot of people might not associate the sunny shores of Spain with snowboarding. How did you get into riding?
There is some snow in Spain, but just a little! My parents loved the mountains and snowboarding and they were the ones who made me start. Every weekend we’d go to the snow and the funnest thing to do was snowboard!
Pretty cool to shred with your parents, are they still riding?
Yeah they are! They spend the whole day on the slopes!
Are you still living in Spain?
I can’t practise or train in Spain, there just aren’t good enough places to train for competitions. There are some parks, but I need to go the States, Switzerland… places where there’s plenty of snow and good conditions.
How did you break into the international competition scene?
When I used to ride with my brothers I’d get bored because I was never as fast as them, so I thought I’d better join a club and practise! I started competing in National Championships, and I won! I was then selected for the Spanish team who brought over me to international competitions.
If you’re going too fast that’s when you’re taking a risk. But if you let your progression take you to the next step, it’s not risky.
You made the finals of the 2010 Winter Olympics, but crashed out with a concussion in training. What was the whole Olympic experience like for you and how did you feel after the injury?
That year, the Olympics were the main goal of all my training. I started competing in the top-level contests like the Dew Tour where the best riders were competing, so I could see more or less what I needed to do well in the Olympics. I definitely had a good time, I didn’t even really think how surprised people were that we were already in round 1! For the qualifiers I did an easy run, doing the tricks I always land, and then a much better run with two 9s. Watching the runs that the girls on the podium did, if I’d landed my run with the 9s, I guarantee that I would have been there on that podium. The fall in training was such bad luck.
Are the Sochi Olympics in 2014 going to be a huge focus for you?
Yeah of course! After what happened to me in the last Olympics, I feel like I have to go to the next one! All the competitions I’m doing now are short-term objectives and goals, and all of them are looking into the bigger picture, into the Olympic Games.
What do you think about the recent IOC decision to continue to allow FIS to run Olympic snowboarding?
Well I think it’s always gonna be the way for skiers, because they only have the FIS tour. But for snowboarding, I really think that they should follow the TTR ranking too. There are so many good snowboarders that don’t ride FIS, and will never have the opportunity to ride and get a place.
Snowboarders like Kelly Clark and Torah Bright have dominated pipe riding the past few years. Do you think that they are unbeatable?
Not at all! Yeah they are very good riders with plenty of experience in competition, which is their strongest point. But they are not unbeatable, not just for me, but for the other riders. Of course, Kelly’s got huge amplitude, but other riders competing now have the same amplitude as her, and other riders have stronger points in different areas, so if you could put all those strong points together in one run, of course you can beat them!
You must have been pretty stoked with your Bronze medal at the European X Games last season!
Yeah of course, it was so exciting! The first run I did for that Bronze medal was the only one that I landed. I guess if I’d have landed the other runs maybe I could have had a better medal, so I still have hope that I could do much better. Actually the girls that beat me were both Olympic Gold medallists, so I thought, that’s pretty sick. My parents came to watch with two of my best friends and it was so exciting. For some reason I knew it was gonna go good, I had so much support around me!
What do you think you need to do with your riding to take it into Gold medal territory? Are we going to see any new tricks this season?
Pretty much I just have to beat Kelly at the moment, haha! I’ve been adding new tricks to my runs, and I think I’ve had a period of really big progression. I’ve been changing my runs a lot and I just need to put all my tricks together and do it in contests. I’ve been training really hard this year and have some really good things to show in the next competitions… wait and see!
Do you ever feel scared when you’re pushing yourself so much and trying to throw down new tricks?
When you’re learning a new trick, it comes when you have the trick or the step before really controlled, then you just feel like doing the next one. If you’re going too fast that’s when you’re taking a risk. But if you let your progression take you to the next step, it’s not risky.
What advice would you give girls who are trying to push their pipe riding and try new things?
I would say it’s definitely something that needs a lot of practice. If one trick doesn’t work, just try again, don’t give up!
I definitely love Colorado, the big mountains there are amazing.
It seems you’re super-busy competing and travelling, but aside from competing, what makes you stoked about snowboarding?
Learning new things! Like when you’re not competing, you can just try a little new thing that you think that might be cool to do. Also when you’re a snowboarder you travel a lot, and you always wonder how will the park and jumps be in the next place, but you also wonder, what’s this place going to be like, wow, I’ve never been here before!
What was the best place snowboarding took you last year, and what trips are you really looking forward to this season?
I definitely love Colorado, the big mountains there are amazing. I would always choose New Zealand first though! This year we’re going to Norway for the TTR World Snowboard Championships. I’ve never been there and I’ve always wanted to go!
Do you go ride the mountain much or are you always stuck in that pipe?
If we’re somewhere where there’s good snowfall, we try to spend the day riding some powder, but I’m not into big mountains… not yet!
Are there any other sports you’re into?
If there’s a skateboard around I always jump on it and skate, but I think it’s so difficult! I fall so much and each time I fall it’s so hard, it’s concrete ya know!!
Queralt is sponsored by Oakley