Cheryl is an international badass. She does things her own way with conviction-pushing the boundaries of women’s snowboarding both on the contest circuit and on film. Having learned to ride on the dry slopes of Holland at age eleven, she now bases out of Biarritz, France hitting everywhere from Mayrhofen to Mammoth when the snow falls. Among her many accomplishments, she has competed at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, won the TTR women’s series, and filmed for Volcom’s Escramble. It’s hard to say exactly what puts Cheryl on top of the pack of women riders, but it’s got everything to do with her calm and determined approach, her sense of style, and her technical skills on jumps and rails.
Her winter is already off to a good start, having signed with the Nitro Global Team and with big plans of contest domination. Prepare to be impressed by her all-around snowboarding dominance.—Annie Fast
Hometown: Uden, Holland
Sponsors: Volcom, Nitro, Electric, Nixon, DC, Celtek
How did you make it to where you are now?
I always answer riding on the plastic slopes in Holland. I went there almost every day with my brother. From then on I snowboarded as much as I could, and slowly I won the Dutch championships and started getting Dutch sponsors. Then I did one season in Mayrhofen and I learned to ride in the snow. I did some other contests around Europe, and I started riding for Forum and they pushed me with the Forum European team. Then Volcom picked me up and they pushed me really hard, too. And that’s how I kind of got to where I am today.
What do you think you’d be doing if you didn’t get into snowboarding?
I never really knew what I’d be doing when I went to school. I didn’t study for anything and I never had a clear vision of what I wanted to become. Just before I had to make the choice to go to the next school-to make the choice of what you would be doing-I started snowboarding and dropped everything and just snowboarded. I’m happy that snowboarding came along.
Who influences you?
My girlfriend Stine, and my mom and dad have always supported me a lot and I always listen to what they think. And then my big brother is the one who got me into riding.
What scares you?
I’m a very shy person, and to be on my own or to not know what’s going to happen kinda scares me. I guess I’m just shy and being in a big crowd is scary. In the beginning traveling was hard, but slowly I learned how to deal with it.
What’s more important-contest or filming?
For me, it’s filming because I feel that I can really show my riding and I don’t just get to do one run. You can show that you can freeride as well as you can hit a rail and do kickers. You can show what you can do instead of having to do one thing in a contest-I don’t like to be judged that way.
What’s your idea of a successful snowboard career?
To be able to ride the places you want to go. For me, just for my career, I’ve been to Japan, New Zealand, and America, and I think that is what has made my career very interesting … and to not get hurt-for me, with all those, I get a perfect career.
What direction do you think snowboarding is headed in?
I think it’s heading in a quite commercial way, like it’s not so much an individual sport. I think it’s good for the girls because we get more attention now as well. The U.S. is ahead of Europe, but it’s heading the same way. Like, in the U.S. you already have snowboard schools and you can do both. Back in the day you had to choose to go for it or stay in school.
What has snowboarding taught you?
Standing on my own. I got to travel throughout the whole world and see a lot of places at a very young age. It’s taught me to just stand up for myself and not see things from just one point of view. I learned to take care of myself and be on my own. There’re a lot of positive people in the snowboard world, too. It’s taught me to be a lot more positive.
What is the job part of your job?
I guess injurries, taxes, photo shoots, dealing with sponsorships, making sure you get all the sponsors you need and going after that. For me, it’s not the snowboarding.
What’s next for you in snowboarding?
My plan for the year is to try to make a good video part again-a long one. And to get more freeriding in for myself. And ride the main big events: the Opens, and the Roxy Jams, and the X Games. And then I guess I’ll see from there on-don’t look too far ahead.