An interview with Kjersti Buaas

The “Kicking ass with Kjersti Buaas” cover girl interview from Cooler issue 17, Feb/Mar 2009

Interview by Sam Haddad, photo by Babette Pauthier

The 27-year old shredder, hailing from Norway, land of Vikings, fjords and Royksopp, is one of Europe’s highest-achieving riders. She’s consistently battling with the best in the world at the top of the TTR rankings and scored a bronze medal in the half pipe at the last winter Olympics. Oh and she’s super-stylish to watch and very photogenic, in case that wasn’t enough! We caught up with her for a chat

How did you like the cover shoot?
I really enjoyed it because everybody was really nice to me and treated me like a superstar! They put makeup on me, dressed me up and gave me food. What more could you wish for?

What were you like when you were growing up?
I was a lot like I am now. I talked nonstop, had a lot of energy and I could never sit still for very long, haha. I was also a bit short tempered, but I’m getting better at that though!

What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?
I’ve never actually had a real job, except for being a cleaning lady at my friend’s company when I was in high school, and it wasn’t that bad a job, as I also got to learn a lot about filming and editing and they paid me pretty good!

How did you get into snowboarding?
My older sister started snowboarding, and I always wanted to do whatever she did, so I started following her and her friends around the mountain. I was hooked after my first try!

Where will you based this winter?
I’m going to do a lot of contests this year, so I guess I’ll be all over the place. But I’ll spend a lot of time on the US west coast, because that’s one of the best places to ride!

What are the best and worst parts of your job?
I think the best part is that it’s so much fun, and that I get to meet amazing people and see so many nice places when I travel. The worst part is probably that I have to be away from my boyfriend and my family a lot.

What’s the standard of riding like in Norway?
There are so many good riders that come out of Norway. I think the reason why everyone gets so good is because we have a good snowboard environment where the riders are pushing each other and having fun together. We also have pretty challenging conditions, with icy slopes and jumps. When we go to the US, it’s like a dream to us, as the set up and conditions are so good –everyone just goes crazy!

Do you get recognised back home?
Not really, because snowboarding is not that big in Norway. For sure there was some attention after the last Olympics, but nothing crazy. It’s fun when people notice when you do something good, but I don’t really need to be recognised on the street. I can live without that!

How does the Olympics compare to the TTR?
It’s pretty much the same deal. A contest is a contest, and there’s always going to be some pressure if you compete. The difference is maybe that the TTR is more organised for the riders, and it’s more about snowboarding. The FIS contests are more clichéd, with strict rules that are made for skiing and not for snowboarding.

Who do you think will win the TTR this year?
It’s hard to say, as there are so many good riders killing it out there right now. But I think Jamie Anderson and Torah Bright are the names to look out for!

What has the TTR done for women’s riding?
The TTR has done a lot for women’s snowboarding for many reasons. It’s helped the level progress by making girls only events like the Roxy Chicken Jam, and it’s drawn more attention towards women’s snowboarding for sure.

Do you think snowboarding is macho?
No, I think snowboarding is whatever you want it to be. For me it’s fun, creative and inspirational.

What new tricks can we expect from you this winter?
I really want to learn cab 720s and frontside 900s. I also want to learn backside spins, because I really suck at them. In the pipe I need a lot of time to learn a new trick, but on jumps it’s easier to progress for me.

You like to go big. What advice do you have for girls wanting to go bigger?
I think that you have to ride a lot of different terrain, take everything step by step, and eventually you will get comfortable and able to do whatever you want to do.

Do you prefer comps or filming?
I like to do a little bit of both. It’s nice to get inspiration from different aspects of snowboarding, and it’s a good way to reach out to different crowd. I get the most motivation by switching things up a bit through out the season.

You were once dubbed the “queen of style”. How do you feel about that?
I feel pretty honoured to be recognised that way, because style has always been important to me when it comes to snowboarding. You can bring a little bit of your personality into snowboarding and make your riding look original, and that’s what defines your style.

We hear you like to rap battle, have you always been into hip-hop?
Haha, I do like to rap battle! Well, I’m not really into hip-hop, but I think it’s fun to make up rhymes and add a bit of beat to it. It’s a good way to make a party fun!

What are your favourite records of all time?
I like a lot of different music, but my favourites are Ace of Base, Bad Religion, Billy Joel, Dave Matthews and the Strokes. I also really like Christmas music, and All I want for Christmas makes me dance like nothing else!

Where is the coolest place you’ve ever ridden?
I have ridden a lot of cool places, and I don’t have a favourite, but Japan (Hokkaido) is pretty damn sweet! I like to snowboard at my home mountain, Vassfjellet, as it brings out a lot of good memories! I also like to ride at Park City and Tahoe.

When you’re not snowboarding what do you do to relax?
I like to hang out with my sisters and my boyfriend and eat good food. That makes me relax.

What would you be if you weren¹t a snowboarder?
I would hopefully play soccer or dance ballet!

What do you spend your money on?
I spend money on clothes, food and electronics. I also invest money in my apartment!

What are your plans for the future?
I would like to move to Italy for a year, and open a small coffee shop with my boyfriend. I really want to learn the language and about the culture and eat good food! I also want to make travel documentaries, and work with children and sports.

What has snowboarding taught you about life?
I’ve learnt a lot from snowboarding. It’s taught me to be creative, to have respect and be tolerant to other people, to be open minded, to have fun, and best of all, I has taught me a lot about being myself.

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