Catching up with Sage Kotsenburg
Interview by Heather Hendricks
Sage Kotsenburg has had quite the year. From winning his first contest in eight years at the Mammoth Grand Prix, to winning the first ever Olympic Slopestyle Gold medal in Sochi, to being named The Best Male Olympian by ESPN at last night’s ESPY’s(LINK), the 20 year old Utah-native is living the dream. We caught up with Sage at Woodward at Copper and got the scoop on everything in Sage’s life, from post Olympic-mayhem, to next year’s shred plans, and everything in-between.
How is it to be here at Woodward at Copper?
It’s been really good at Copper, the weather has been awesome, but we’re unfortunately taking off for Woodward at Tahoe tonight. But it’s be great, the kids are stoked. We had a chance to snowboard with everyone this morning, now we’re in the barn, skating, hitting the trampolines, might even try to learn a back flip on the ground. So we’re cruising, it’s been a really great time.
How did it feel to be back on snow?
It was good. I really haven’t been snowboarding that much this summer, so it felt super weird today. It was so slushy, but it was still super fun. I was pretty loose today. We were just lapping the jumps. It really felt amazing to be back on snow, and I’m literally just itching for it to be winter.
What’s your favorite element at Woodward Copper?
I think it’s sick that they have such awesome summer snowboarding, but the skating and the foam pit, and the trampoline zone, is so sick also. You can just shred on a roller board and get weird in the foam pit. It’s fun for me and I’m 20– I couldn’t imagine being a kid here that’s twelve, it would be like paradise!
Espy Nomination! Congrats on that, what are you thoughts about getting nominated?
Yeah, it’s so crazy, it’s just unbelievable, I’m like, really an ESPY?! I’m traveling with my friend Joss [Christensen]. He’s from Park City also, and we’re both nominated in the same category.
What are you most looking forward to with the ESPY’s?
I think just seeing people from other sports will be really cool. Like, actually seeing them in person will be sick.
Who in particular are you most excited to meet?
I’d be stoked to meet Drake, he’s hosting it, and Kevin Durant, he’s the man.
What are you planning on wearing?
I got a nice new suit, new shoes– got the whole kit dialed. Snowboard chic baby!
In terms of you versus Joss, who do you think would win?
Obviously, I think we’d both be stoked to win, but it’s like, if he won, I’d be so stoked, I’d be bummed I didn’t win, but if it’s your friend winning, it’d still be so sick.
Wheaties Box. Everyone’s seen it. It’s an awesome shot of your holy crail. Since that came out, how many bowls of cereal have you eaten?
I ate a lot when it first came out. We had so many at my house. My mom literally had like seven boxes just sitting in her kitchen. I’m like “Mom, did they send you these?” Because they sent us like hundreds to sign and give away, so I was like “Are these part of those that they sent?” And my mom was like, “No, these are the ones I ate, just me.” I was like OMG Mom, you need to chill out on the Wheaties!
I’ve never had a bowl of Wheaties, best way to eat them?
They are insane. If you want a little sugar on them, dose them up.. Or with a little chocolate milk, it makes them so good.
So where’s the your Olympic Gold Medal now?
My mom actually has it. She’s showing my older brother it. He lives in California, so she took it out to him. So it’s currently in California, with my mom and brother.
Do you normally travel with it?
I like to leave it at home. It’s at mom and dad’s house. They have all my trophies. It’s like I care about stuff like that, but it’s also like, ‘here, you guys can take care of this for now.’ If someone asks me to bring it I will, but it normally resides at mom’s and dads. It’s got a good home there.
Who’s been the most memorable person to wear your gold medal?
There were some heavy people that wore it. I was on the Kelly and Michael Show in the Morning, and I get in and it was so early. They were like, ‘Denzel is about go on, and then you.’ I was like, ‘Denzel? Like, Denzel Washington?! He’s like one of my favorite actors!!’ He was walking off the stage as I was about to walk on, and he literally just came up to me, and picks the medal off me, and was like, “I need to put this thing on.” It was just crazy. Once he put it on, he was asking me about it, and was like, ‘how old are you?!’ I’m like 20, and he’s like WHAT? 20 years old?! You won an Olympic Gold medal at 20, What?! I gotta tell my kids! Then the show people were like, you gotta go on the show, and I was like, What? Wait. That was just Denzel, and Denzel is down. Denzel’s a homie! It’s funny how sporadical it all was. He was just so hyped. It was awesome.
That’s such a rad experience, what other moments have been the most memorable, since winning gold?
There’s been so many crazy, crazy moments.. Most memorable, easiest would have to be just being on the medal stand. The National Anthem was playing, the flag was going up, and I was just so nasty, hot, sweaty, because I just been doing interviews non-stop and then they were like, ‘Alright you’re going to the medal awards.’ I’m just like, uh, what,? I was so tired, and then just getting there, I was like whoa, I definitely woke up. I was thinking, this is the craziest thing ever. Just because growing up, I loved watching the Olympics, Summer, Winter, whatever. Because the it’s like a cool thing, so after watching so many awards ceremonies, and then all of sudden I was actually there. I was just standing up there, and I remember looking behind me and seeing the me.. And was just like, Whoa, Whoa, that’s ME up there. I literally had to look back, and then it all kicked in. It made me realize how real it all was.
How has it been since getting back to the States and back in the swing of things?
One thing that happened that I never thought would was right when we got back. We had just gotten to New York, and I had all my USA gear on with my blonde hair was sticking out. We walked in a restaurant, and the owner came and greeted us and then we had dinner. I fell asleep at dinner, and I guess that like everyone in the restaurant was like freaking out or something. So I got up, and was about to leave, and everyone started chanting, USA, USA. And I was just standing there, like what??! I just woke up. This is crazy. It was just such a cool welcome back to the America. I never thought that people would be like chanting USA for me in a restaurant, in New York City. It was crazy. I’ll never forget stuff like that. I was so jet-lagged, had zero sleep, and then people were just so stoked. I was like what is happening? I just didn’t know any of this was going to go down.
So rad. Snowboarding as a whole won, when you won.
So I have to ask, the whole Vail versus Park City debacle, what are your thoughts?
It first of all just sucks that it’s happening, because it’s deteriorating on both sides. Both sides are giant corporations fighting over the land, and it sucks to see. It’s my home town, home mountain, and the community is all riled up about it. And it’s like ‘why does it have to be that way?’ But we all obviously know why it is this way. I just hope that nothing affects how Park City is now, and how the community is. Because it’s so sick, that mountain is home base for so many people. I just hope both sides don’t do anything crazy that would change the mountain. I’m excited for it to be over. It needs to end. I hope does in the best the way for Park City as a whole.
Shred plans this summer?
I went to High Cascade earlier this year, but I think I’m going to Australia at the end of August. I’m itching to get back to winter. I thought I was, not over snowboarding, but just wanting a break, but I’ve had a month without it, and I’m so ready to snowboard right now. I want it to be winter. I want to be filming with Halldor and Ethan, and going to contests. I just want to be chilling, snowboarding again.
How are your winter plans shaping up?
I’m looking to do another cool plan with Halldor, Ethan and those guys. Really whoever wants to join in on it, and try to do something different than what everyone else does. Also definitely doing contests. There’s only like four or five so that will be nice, since we did like seven contests before the Olympics. That was mayhem. I’m so excited for next season. It’s gonna be a nice contrast from this past year, just good vibes, snowboarding, chilling. It’s going to be a dream year. To do both, film and contests in the same season– it’s going to be the best. I can’t wait.