Pro Chat: Ayla Thidling, Snowboarder

Ayla Thidling shreds all sorts! The 14 year old snowboarder recently won the Freeride Junior European Tour, but she does more than just kill it in the backcountry. She also took a few titles at the Brits and has a list of good sponsors and all at the tender age of 14! Who is she and where did she come from? We definitely wanted to know!

Is it true you live half the year in the mountains and half the year on the sea? Sounds ideal, tell us more…

Yes, it’s true. It’s ideal in some ways. I get to snowboard all winter and then go out to the Pacific and kite surf and swim and get lots of school work done so that I have more time off during the winter. It’s also ideal if I do some summer snowboarding in New Zealand, as it’s not such a long way to travel. It’s not always ideal though because I’m not in the mountains early enough for pre-season training and also during the summer, Team GB have snowboarding and fitness camps in the glaciers and I have to miss out on these. I manage to make do on the boat though, there are plenty of other things to do to get fit for the winter!

Seems like you have a million and one hobbies, what are your favourite things to do?

My favourite hobbies are snowboarding, kite surfing, and also mountain biking. I can’t do that very often as by the time all the snow melts on the mountains I am off to the Pacific but I still really enjoy it!

Wow, not so bad to be ‘off to the Pacific’ though! So how did snowboarding become a big thing? And how did you get hooked up with GNU and other sponsors?

Living in the mountains I instantly took to the slopes skiing when I was 2 years old. Then when I saw my brother snowboarding I really wanted to give it a go, so my dad taught me how when I was 4 and I’ve loved it ever since. I first became sponsored by Animal in 2010, at the British Championships. Animal used to sponsor the slopestyle event and after seeing me take a podium place in almost all the events they offered me sponsorship. I got sponsored by GNU in 2012 through my local snowboard shop, Zero G in Chamonix. Zero G got in touch with GNU in the US who put me on their World Wide Girls Team! Now I get both boards and bindings from them and sometimes surprise packages with waxes and t-shirts and stuff!

Nice, looked after! And you just won the Junior Freeride World Tour, well done on that, how did it feel? Did you go in thinking you’d win it?

Wow, well it was just an amazing experience and I would love to do it again! I was so happy when the guy on the mic called me up for the overall title. That was probably one of my best moments this season. When I first entered I just wanted to do my best, have fun, and get a podium place. I was hoping to win at least one of the stops but didn’t think I would win the overall tour! I can’t wait to do it again next year and see if I can win the title again.

You were also on the podium for big air and pipe at the Brits a couple weeks back, so you do all sorts of snowboarding. What’s your favourite? Freeride or freestyle?

At the moment my favourites are boarder cross, half pipe, and freeride but I enjoy everything really and just having fun!

And you are only 14! Where do you hope your snowboarding will take you? Any plans to concentrate on one discipline and aim for the Olympics?

Though I’m still only young I am hoping that I can get to the Olympics with snowboarding. I would probably concentrate on halfpipe and boardercross…

Do you ever come shred in the UK?

No, that hasn’t happened yet. In the winter I’m always busy in Europe, and in the summer we’re away. I ride mainly in Morzine/Avoriaz and Chamonix.

What will you be up to in the summer?

In the summer I’ll be preparing myself for the winter; training, swimming and kite surfing to get fit and ready for the season. During the summer is also when I can get lots of school done so that it doesn’t get in the way too much during the winter.

Ayla is sponsored by Animal Clothing, GNU, Lazer Helmets from UK Madison, and Zero G Chamonix. You can keep up to date with her winnings and shreddings on her website

Also, check out her entry in to our video contest, ‘A Brit Weird

Just Gnuing Around (Ayla Thidling) a Snowboarding video by BritWeird


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