Jamie Anderson is not only the first Olympic slopestyle gold medalist of all times (and one of the world's best snowboarders), she’s also one of the most chilled out people I’ve ever met.
Softly plucking the ukulele she brought all the way over the pond to the GoPro Athletes Camp in Laax, she told us why she seems to be brimming with good vibes everywhere she goes and how she nailed the first ever female cab 1080 at the Nine Queens competition earlier this year.
Huge congratulations on the your first ever front 10 and cab 10 at the Nine Queens this year! How does it feel?
Thank you! I never thought I’d do that trick and then all of a sudden it crossed my mind. I was riding with the boys so much last year and they had mentioned it, “You can do a 10 - easy!"
Someone saying one little thing can really make a positive influence in your life. That’s why I think it’s really important to be mindful about what you say to anyone around you, because words are huge.
It’s believing in yourself and having that encouragement. I was SO stoked, I was so happy I did it.
Are you super proud of yourself too?
I’m so proud of myself. I feel like I can give myself a little pat on the back because that took a lot of strength and courage! I didn’t necessarily have to do it, it was more a personal goal.
There's a lot of outside pressure because I think everyone knows that I can do more and that I am talented. I think they get sick of me winning or doing well not trying, so I think everyone was happy to see me work.
But that, winning without trying, is not even your fault! You’ve got your tricks locked down, you stomp them like no one else. How do you do that?
Hmmm I do it. It's the power of repetitive thinking and doing. It's one thing to think about the run you want to do and it’s another thing to actually do it.
Combining the physical, the emotional, psychological - it all plays a huge role. And I know how powerful the mind is.
Are you just riding more than everyone else?
No! I think I ride less and I just think more! In a good way though.
Some people will want to go ride and practice for four hours. That might make them feel really strong and prepared.
For me, I might want to ride one hour. I might feel good and I don’t want to burn myself out and that might work for me. But that’s what’s so cool, everybody’s got their own recipe for what makes them feel confident.
This year, riding with the guys made me really a lot stronger across everything - riding the mountain, going faster, doing more tricks on rails and bigger spins. It reminded me of being a little kid, when I was a girl I rode with all boys.
That’s really interesting: you train with the boys and let them push you but then you actually do the trick with the girls.
I know! That was crazy. Being a women in any sport is crazy because we’re so different.
We’re feminine and fragile. We care about being hurt and all these things that guys don’t think of. In a way that’s good, but it’s also dangerous.
I want to listen to my intuition. I think that’s something that females have that’s so cool, that deep connection with ourselves. If we get to tune in to that, it’s more valuable than anything else.
And maybe it’s proof that we need both. We need the guys to hang out and ride with them, and then we need the girls too.
When we get both, it works really well. It’s all about the balance, you need it all.
I totally need the guys to encourage me and give me that strength, but the girls are super supportive and nurturing, so they both compliment each other.
Does yoga play a role in your snowboarding and your general work-life-balance too?
100 per cent. I went to my first yoga class when I was 18 but didn’t get into it right away, I thought it was funny.
I don’t even remember how I got to that class, I think I just heard of it and was wondering, “What’s up with that yoga sh*t? Haha. Let’s go to yoga!"
I didn’t love it right away. It wasn’t until probably a year later when I started going every day at the park in my neighbourhood that I started to really connect to the breathing, the meditation and the whole experience.
I didn't love yoga right away. It wasn't until I was 19 that I just fell in love and would go every day...
I fell in love that summer, I think I was 19 or 20. I would go every day. It was free, just donations, in the sunlight and it really hooked me.
Then I started to get into balancing poses and more strengthening ones. It was like a new passion that made me feel really good. It was also challenging and mentally hard at times.
Now I look back at it, I’ve been practicing a lot the last three to four years, and it’s so cool. I love it, the whole experience.
There are times where I’m more into it and less into it, but I always know that when I need a reset-button, it’s to slow down and re-connect back with yourself. That is what yoga has helped me do.
Did you start a regular home practice at any point as well?
Yeah, when I’m traveling I usually don’t get to go to a lot of classes during the winter. I love to go to new studios but usually I just do a little bit at home, in the morning before riding or in the afternoon. But I’m not as good. I won’t sit down for a proper hour but I will make sure to do a little bit, whatever I’m feeling I need.
Do you have a favourite pose?
I loved handstands for a while because they’re so hard but so fun to walk into. Lately I love Bird of Paradise. It's really hard for me to do, but I’m working on it and I think it’s fun. All the balancing and strengthening poses are really good.
What about the mental aspect, does that play a big role for you in contests?
For me, yoga practice has become even more of a mental preparation. The physical poses and the strengthening is huge, but more than anything it’s being able to clear my mind, connect with myself and really let the energy flow.
If I’m afraid, like I can get a lot of times before contests, I’ll do a little yoga just to move the energy and stress a little less. Maybe do a handstand to try and practice my balance and make myself focus on something different and it’s good! It works.
It helps to physically move the blood in your body, it moves the energy, it helps to wake up all these channels. It’s my medicine, my church! I love it.
Do you use your GoPro for yoga?
Yeah I definitely take a lot of photos of yoga. I love the scenic shots when you’re in nature, because I am encouraging people to do it wherever they are.
I want to start filming sequences of my practices, because when I look back at photos of my form it really helps me to realise what I could be doing different, if I need to straighten my back or tuck my pelvis or whatever may be.
So here, at this GoPro camp, I’m gonna learn to make more short films. I’m still a baby on the computer, I don’t really like electronics, I’m lucky if I get a good ‘gram off the friggin' GoPro app!
Do you use the GoPro for snowboard training as well?
Yeah, video reviews help so much. It’s been huge having people film you and being able to look back at it. It’s definitely nice to see what you look like and what you wanna look like.
How did your partnership with GoPro start in the first place?
I met GoPro about four years ago at the Dew Tour. We met through another party and just slowly started working together. I knew right away that I was a part of the crew and came to the first GoPro summit here in Laax two years ago.
I just had such a good time, you know. They’re such a cool brand and they’re really helping the athletes build their own brands through their social networking, filming and photography, so that’s so much fun.
I can go out there and get really good photos - by myself! Not that I don’t want to work with photographers, I love working with them, but it’s so easy with the GoPro.
If I want to get a cool artsy yoga shot or a scenic shot or even an action shot, you can just friggin' do whatever you feel like!