Where are you from? The Netherlands

Where do you live now? Biarritz, France,

Age: 22

Sponsors: Volcom, Electric, Nixon, Nokia

Cheryl has powerful, eye-catching style on her board, tackling urban rails, parks, and pipe-the whole freestyle package. She says, “I just like to snowboard, so whatever it takes.” This winter she split with Forum after declining to go head-to-toe, choosing to stay on with Volcom instead. We cornered Cheryl at the Nippon Open at Alts Bandaii resort in Japan and tried to get to the bottom of what makes her such an international badass.

1. First off, how do you pronounce your name?
It’s like Cheryl in the U.S., but we pronounce it different like “sure reel.”

2. Thanks for clearing that up. So, what have you been up to this winter?
I’ve done some contests. There hasn’t been much snow in Europe and I just hurt my shoulder, so after each contest I wasn’t training, I just went home.

3. Who do you usually ride with?
I don’t have anybody that does exactly the same so it’s always different people. I’m having fun riding with Stine this winter though.

4. You’ve got a good look going. Where do you take your style cues?
I guess it’s just in me-I don’t copy anyone’s style. I’m a bit rougher I think. A bit more of a guy’s style …

5. You’re not much of a self-promoter, you’re actually pretty hard to get in touch with, what’s with that?
Maybe I should focus more on that. I just want to ride so that’s just what I’m doing. I’m not much of a talker. I just got an agent this year-it’s kind of new to me.
Everything has kind of been new to me. I come from Holland and I’m one of the only ones. There’re some other riders, but they go the FIS contest route. To get a big sponsor is kind of hard there, too. They’re like, “Why-you’re never in Holland.

6. Where do you ride in Holland?
Dry slopes and fridges-indoor slopes. I learned on the dry slopes. It makes you tough.

7. I saw you were ranked third in the TTR rankings, what events are those from?
I got second in the Chicken Jam Slopestyle and fifth in both the QP and pipe at the Davos O’Neill Jam.

8. What are you focusing your energy on this winter?
I just like to snowboard, so whatever it takes. I’m filming with Yeahh, a European film company. I wanted to start earlier filming, but I started riding contests first and now I’m a bit stuck in the contest circuit.
Last winter I filmed with Volcom. The footage turned up in Volcom Webisode number 3, which is online now. I also did all the contests and won the TTR world tour. The Olympics made the year so hectic. I was focusing so much on pipe for the Olympics in the beginning of the season.

9. As one of the only riders from Holland do you get a lot of local coverage in the newspapers?
Sometimes I get articles written about me. I was the first Dutch pipe rider to make it into the Olympics. It was the biggest Olympic event watched on TV in Holland.

10. What was your experience like going to the Olympics for Holland?
Well, they have a Dutch FIS federation that looks after snowboarding in Holland, I tried that way, and I didn’t like the ski way of doing it, so I left them. I just started riding pipe to go to the Olympics on my own. I called my federation one day and I said, “I’m Cheryl Maas and I want to go to the Olympics,” and they were like, ‘Haha you can’t go to the Olympics just cause you want to.’ So I said, I just need the FIS form. I’ll just fill it in and I’ll do it all myself. The first contest I competed in I got last. The newspapers wrote the worst stuff about me, “Cheryl Maas-No chance for Olympics.” I got pissed. I trained. I needed two top fifteen results to qualify. I got my first one in Whistler. After that, I became the closest of all Dutch athletes for going to the Olympics. That was among snowboarders, ice skaters, skiers-everyone. Then I gott my second result from Saas Fee and then the newspapers started calling me. I just turned off my phone. Later on I started answering and being polite just to make sure I could go. I just wanted to show the Dutch people what snowboarding is about. They hated me for a while for saying that I wasn’t going to the Olympics to bring home a Gold medal, but for my own personal experience.
In my mind we’re not athletes-it’s just snowboarding, it’s a lifestyle. You just ride it and love it instead of, “I’m going to be the best snowboarder in the world.” You should just be able to do it, you know, with no money.

Look for Cheryl this winter at the US Open at Stratton, Vermont March 15-18 and at the Roxy Chicken Jam in Park City March 22-25.