While we were down at the O’Neill Evolution in Davos last week, we couldn’t help but notice former Olympian Cheryl Maas intently watching the pipe contest. So we caught up with her after the finals on Friday and asked for her opinion on the evolution of girl’s snowboarding
Interview by Anna Langer
We saw you watching the girls pipe finals – how did you like it?
It was nice to see Kelly ride. I don’t know if it was the pipe or something else but the level wasn’t as high as it usually is at pipe contests. So as a rider myself it was a little disappointing. But I think the public was still really happy to see it all and Kelly put on a good show.
Yeah she was amazing! She’s kind of playing in her own league.
Today she totally was. I think she’s hard to reach, there’s a couple of girls who get close but she’s definetely way out there and I got big respect for that. I really like it because she goes big and she will send it even tough she doesn’t have to. I mean she kind of already won the contest after her first run, but she still went bigger in her second and third run and did better even, that’s really cool.
How do you see the level in pipe riding and do you think it’s different than slopestyle?
Yes and no. If you look at the US, the pipe riding is really good, there is a lot of good girls out there and I think overall they have more better girls in pipe than in slopestyle. I think in slopestyle there are just a few girls at the top who are really good at what they’re doing and have a good progression going. I think in pipe riding the progression it’s a little slower but there is a lot more girls there so there is more progression.
Where does the difference come from?
I think pipe riding is easier to do when you pick up snowboarding. You don’t have to be able to get from one point to another and clear a flat, you can just cruise the transitions slowly and get used to it. So it’s easier to start riding in the pipe, than starting to do jumps.
But then progression is harder in the pipe?
Well it actually shouldn’t be… I don’t know… Maybe it’s a difference in mentality. Girls who do pick up slopestyle from the beginning are a bit tougher maybe, they just have a different mental setting that makes them want go for it. And as I explained before, you can build it up slowly in the pipe, so if you know you can build it up slowly you do it slowly, while with slopestyle you kind of just have to go for it.
You used to rider pipe yourself, do you still like it?
I don’t ride it much anymore really, I do it for some films and stuff but not in contests anymore. It’s just too much training to do both and I don’t want to do a half job, I want to give 100 percent for the thing I like most and that’s slopestyle for me.
Which you will be doing tomorrow. Do you look forward to it?
Yeah I really like the jump and I’m looking forward to ride it and hopefully do my best things on there and then I’ll be stoked. I don’t really care if I get podium or not, I just really wanna stick my tricks that I like to do on that jump and that’s gonna give me a good feeling, so I’m aiming for that.
What’s the course like?
It’s a big jump but I like it with the tricks I’m doing on it. It’s quite poppy so the girls won’t be doing all kind of different tricks, but I think the top 5 girls can definetely show some nice tricks.
Do you already know what you’re going to show tomorrow?
Yes. I’m gonna go for the 720, probably with a tail grab. I’ve been doing it in the training a couple of times and it went okay, so I’m gonna do it straight in the semi finals.
Do you always have your run planned beforehand?
You kind of have to. I’m not as good with coaches as some of the other girls are and it takes me a long time before I’m happy with the run I want to do and I’m always stressed out. When I see the other girls ride I want change my run and stuff, which is not a good thing to do when you’re riding contests. It’s better to find your own run and do it. I think it’s good to have a coach who can tell you “this is the best run for you” according to your condition. I kind of miss that sometimes in contests.
Do you have any rituals or something you do before big contests?
No, I try not to because if it then it doesn’t happen or something, I would feel bad about doing the contest. I just try to get a good meal in. And rest is important as we had quite a lot of training. But nothing special.
What’s up next for you, are you heading over to Laax for the BEO?
No I got some other stuff to do with the Disney Channel, they’re doing a show called “The Next Disney X” or something, where I will take a kid to the X Games. And I will also do a lot of filming with Nitro and Volcom to bring out little webisodes.
That sounds pretty cool, make sure you send us those clips and good luck for tomorrow!
[Cheryl was already coming down with a cold that evening and only got placed 15th in the slopestyle finals the next day, but showed some pretty impressive riding never the less. We hope you’re well again Cheryl!]