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Fresh Heights: Catching up with Elena Hight

Breaking into the Backcountry: Interview with Elena Hight

For 13 years, Elena Hight has been a professional halfpipe rider, traveling the world, taking charge and dominating the u-tube. She was the first women to land a double cork in the pipe and continues to push progression and even learned ally-oop Japan’s this past season. With such a long lineage within the contest scene, she’s oft been cast into the pipe jock category, but this past season, she opted to get out in the backcountry a bit more. Now as Hight sets her sights on next season, we caught up with her prior to embarking an adventure to Australia with Volcom. Check out the gallery above with captions crafted by Elena, and read on for the scoop on her season, her view on the current state of women’s snowboarding, and what goals she has for winter 2015-2016.

Elena Hight in the Italian Backcountry

Elena Hight taping her way through Italy. Photo: Ashley Barker

Let’s talk about this past season. What events did you compete in and how did it differ from your previous winters?

This past season really was an exciting one for me. I took a step back from the contest scene to create some time to ride pow. As a halfpipe rider, the last few years I haven't had nearly enough days in the backcountry, but it is something I am super passionate about.  I got the best of both worlds,  by competing in Dew Tour, X Games and US Open, so I fulfilled my love for riding tranny and also got to send it with some rad people around the world chasing good snow.

Since you had such a diverse season, can you boil down the main highlights of winter 2014-2015?

The three trips that really stood out were all incredible and I am not sure how I will top them this season. X Games is always an amazing event and never seems to disappoint. This year I spent the week with the Volcom crew making hot laps on Buttermilk during the day and riding the pipe at night. After X, I got to go to Europe with an all girls crew in search of pow. Last minute it all came together and I ended up in Austria with six girls. When the weather turned hot, we road-tripped down to Italy and met up with a couple more girls for a week in Gressoney. Good snow, fun terrain, great crew, and fabulous food. That trip was one for the books! Later in the season I was invited on a GoPro trip to Galena, Canada with CMH Heli. Not only did we get a reset just before we got there but we got three perfectly sunny days and I was literally following some of my all time favorite snowboarders down untouched terrain with heli laps. Pinch me.

What are your goals for this upcoming season?

I am really excited about this season. I am going to compete in the halfpipe a bit more, work on bringing back the double cork I learned and just enjoy shredding the u-ditch. I also am setting aside more time to get into the backcountry again. I had so much fun last season and I have so much to learn about backcountry riding and everything that goes along with it. I want to make sure that I really go for it all.

Elena Hight in the backcountry in Italy

All smiles in Italy. Photo: Ashley Barker

How has your attention or focus shifted from halfpipe?

I have been a professional snowboarder for 13 years now, so I have been competing in halfpipe for a long time! I still love it and love to push myself in it. I will always be a competitor and can't wait to see what the next few years in the halfpipe bring for me. I just am also am super inspired to spend more time riding powder and learning about the mountains. There is so much to learn and grow in in that area of snowboarding. I am excited to bring it into my career more and have a balance of both over the next few years.

What inspires you continue pushing progression?

I just love to push myself. To see what I am capable of, and how far I really can go. There is something so exciting about the unknown… it just keeps me coming back for more.

What do you think that women’s snowboarding in general is lacking?

Women’s snowboarding has grown so much in the last 10 years, and we are super fortunate to have a lot of the same support in many ways as the boys in the sport. However, there could always be more! More support, more money, more progression… But I think gratitude creates opportunity.

What do you think women within the sport can do to influence more opportunities?

I think that the best this that we can do as females is be proud of the fact that we are all bad ass girls out there pushing ourselves as hard as we can. Bringing good energy to the sport and making it our own, rather than trying to compete with the boys, is the best way to create our own outlet and perception of women's snowboarding.

Elena Hight About to Drop in

A view from the top. Elena Hight about to drop in at X 2015. Photo: Jeff Brockmeyer

How you do you balance a healthy lifestyle while always being on the road?

It is so hard to have a healthy balance on the road. Meditation, yoga, and home cooking, (I try to stay in places with kitchens) are all things that keep me balanced with the crazy travel.

You’ve had the chance to travel the globe because of snowboarding, but what is one dream shred trip for you? Who would it include and where would you go?

I would LOVE to go to shred pow in Japan with some of my favorite chicks to ride with. Spencer O’Brien, Torah Bright, Kaitlyn Farrington… I really think we would have way too much fun.

Check out more from Elena Hight here.