Ever since her massive win at the Brits last winter, Katie Blundell has been a consistent high flying rail rider, keeping her twinkle toes in tip top condition. Currently a North Star local, laying down new tricks and swiping top spots in US comps, things are looking pretty bright for the Tignes Spirit chick this year
Interview by Corrine Mayhew
You’ve had a busy time since we last checked in with you. What have you been up to since your season in Perisher?
I went home to Devon for a couple of months to stay with my family and catch up with my friends. Went to a couple of weddings, hen parties and just worked my arse off to save money for the next season! It’s always a race against time to find a job and save some cash for the next flight away but I’m on holiday for 3 months now! I work really hard over the summer and in the inter-season to save up some dosh and it’s definitely worthwhile. I also sold everything I owned on Ebay to pay for my trip to Tahoe!! I’m really lucky now as well this year as I get help with equipment from some sponsors… Ride, Bern, Drop, Dalikfodda and Spy, which is great!
You headed out to Tahoe with a bunch of British boys – how’s that working out for you?!
Haha, yes it’s been cool. I’m really messy and totally undomesticated so I fit in quite well! There is a house of seven girls just around the corner so I’m often around there eating chocolate and watching chick flicks! It’s been fun riding with all the boys though and I do feel it pushes my riding a lot. I can get a little bit disheartened sometimes when they are all talking about these amazing tricks they have done or are going to do, and my efforts just don’t compare to theirs. I guess this just makes me more determined!
We definitely have a good crew and everyone adds something different into the mix. Simon Belson from Tignes is living with us and he makes everything heaps of fun. I really have a laugh riding with him! Of course my boyfriend Rich Jonas is from Tignes too and I guess he’s okay to ride with! I’ve been looking forward to riding with other girls so I’m super stoked that Lynsey Ashdown is here now too.
What’s the park set up like in North Star?
It changes all the time. It’s like Christmas every morning when you get the lift over the park and can see which new features they’ve put in. They have a baby park, a mini park, an intermediate park (which is still pretty hardcore) and then the advanced park. They’re all next to each other and you can choose which line to take, or do bits of all the parks in one run. It’s a really long park run and you can get around twenty hits on the way down (rails, boxes, kickers, jibs, hips…..) and then you can hit the pipe at the end!
They always try to be creative and put in some cool stuff but I think my favorite bit has to be the line of five street style rails at the top. I reckon that I can be a little more creative on rails and I feel more comfortable on them, whereas when I’m on kickers I tend to just close my eyes and hope for the best!! I really want to work hard on my kicker riding as I’d love to be a better all-round rider and it’s good to work on the things that scare you. I’d love to ride more pow too, but the park always calls. Even on a powder day, we’re always in the park by the afternoon!
What are the main differences between American and European resorts?
No-one puts the safety bar down on the chairlifts here and the lifties are mega friendly and always tell you to “have a nice day”! The parks are really sick and well groomed all the time and the kickers are never whippy, but I keep getting snaked literally a metre away from a take off to a rail! You have to drive to the hill here too…..its not nearly as convenient as European resorts, and THERE’S NO APRES!!!
The Americans love their street riding too. I only started getting into it last season, but I really love it now and want to do a lot more of it this year. It’s cool to go out, find something good, set it up, hit it and try to get some shots before the cops come and shut you down! It’s definitely made me look at the urban environment in a totally different way, in terms of what can be jibbed. Some street stuff can be pretty scary though, and the first time I had a go with a banshee bungee I went flying. It’s hard to judge the speed and it tends to ping me a lot more than the boys, so it’s an achievement if I can actually get onto the rail!
Which comps have you been competing in recently?
I did the Volcom Peanut Butter Rail Jam a little while ago. The standard was really high and there were so many chicks doing it, but I made it to the final. It was a pretty gnarly hike so by the time it came to the final I couldn’t get my legs to work properly! The standard of the American ladies is so high which is really inspiring. We also competed in the Stash Gathering up at Northstar recently. The end result was a clean sweep for the British ladies from Heel Edge Projects, with Lynsey Ashdown taking first, me in second and Kirsty Taylor third. Not sure we made too many mates out of the American chicks though, showing up to a comp on their turf and swiping all the medals!
When are you heading back to Europe?
We leave Tahoe in March and then drive out to Mayrhofen for a week, maybe Tignes to watch the European X Games, Laax for the Brits and then who knows………see what happens and how much money we have left! I’ll try to protect my Big Air title at the Brits but I don’t think I’ll be as lucky as I was last year. I’d love to have a go at the Slopestyle comp again as well and might give either pipe or boarder cross a go too. I’m terrible at both so it should be funny!
Katie is sponsored by Ride, Bern, Drop, Dalikfodda, Spy and Tignes Spirit.