Snowboard Standout

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Chanelle Sladics

Chanelle Sladics went from weekend warrior to professional snowboarder.– By Somer Flaherty

Newport native Chanelle Sladics didn’t set out to be a professional snowboarder. As a teenager, after a fluke fall from a roof, the athlete spent years in intensive therapy, recovering from an injury that almost forced doctors to amputate her arm. Once she was strong enough to play sports again, there was something different: This time, she was ready to try snowboarding, figuring that with her now recovered body she would start badly at any sport—familiar or not. At the same time, a local snowboard shop offered a package: lessons, a ride to the mountains and rental equipment. With recent birthday money in hand, Chanelle bought the package, and by the third day on the mountain the shop had sponsored her in a competition—in which she placed second.

“I didn’t know where snowboarding was going to take me, but my parents supported me and brought me to the mountain every Sunday,” she says. That first year, she won a wild card to the nationals; the second year, she performed even better, and by the third she was on the junior national team. As a last hurrah before sidelining the sport for college, Chanelle went to the junior world championships in New Zealand. But because of previous results, her expectations were low.

“I gave it everything and somehow managed to win the halfpipe competition,” she says. “That created a shift in me—I thought, ‘I live at the beach and I go snowboarding on Sundays, and I compete against people who live in the snow. I have some talent that I’m not totally tapping into.’ ”

Chanelle still left for college, but weeks in, MTV called and invited her to be part of a televised surf-skate-snow competition around the world with some of the biggest names in snowboarding—she went, and 10 years later, she is still professionally snowboarding.

NBM: Best mountains to ride in California?

CS: Mammoth, Squaw Valley and Big Bear—because it’s Newport’s backyard.

NBM: Outside of California, where are your favorite places to ride?

CS: Breckenridge (Colo.) has the best snowboard park in the world.

NBM: Off the mountain, what do you do?

CS: My family still lives in Newport, and we just started a reusable drinking straw company called Simply Straws. I do all the branding, outreach and art direction.

NBM: For new riders, what’s the best way to start in the sport?

CS: Book a trip to Mammoth or Tahoe for the week and get a lesson the first day. It’s really helpful to learn how to set up your stance and how to carve. Really take your time—and consider wrist guards.

NBM: What about riders who want to advance skills?

CS: If you’re a woman, my favorite program is Oakley’s Progression Sessions—you snowboard all day for two days with other women and professional women snowboarders, and you just get immersed in the environment.

NBM: What’s the best way to keep in shape for the sport?

CS: Cross training is really important, and yoga has changed my life—I’m a certified teacher through YogaWorks.

NBM: What’s next for the sport?

CS: They just added my discipline, Snowboard Slopestyle, in the 2014 Olympics. In Slopestyle, the goal is to perform the most difficult tricks while getting the highest amplitude off of jumps.

 

Cool Stuff

Pick up the best next-generation snowboarding products. By Somer Flaherty

ZEAL iON goggles with 1080HD video and 8 megapixel camera, available at zealoptics.com and Surfside Sports, Costa Mesa (949-645-4624).

Neff beanie, available at Attic, Costa Mesa (949-645-3457; atticskateshop.com).

Next Mission Snowboarding Jacket, available at Surfside Sports, Costa Mesa (949-645-4624; surfsidesports.com).

Oakley MFR Pant, available at Jack’s Surfboards (949-673-2300; jackssurfboards.com).

Native snowboard, available at Virtual Snow (714-894-5865; virtualsnowoc.com).

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