Paige Clay has to be the one of the most atypical, intriguing snowboarders I’ve ever met. Her soft southern lilt (a result of growing up in South Carolina) and tales of a holistic lifestyle mixed with the occasional road trip chicken sandwich from Burger King makes her fallible and likable. Add the big mountain riding and bungie jumping swan dives and you’ve still only got a fraction of the balls-out chutzpah of the woman herself. It’s like an incomplete tease. And it makes you want to be like her.

At 28, you wouldn’t necessarily think of Paige as an up-and-coming in the industry of snowboarding, but she is. She’s filmed with the Hatchetts (“although it usually ends up on the cutting room floor, but I keep trying”) and RAP in snowboard movies and a variety of commercials including Mountain Dew and a South American cigarette commercial for Momentum Films. Last year, Mademoiselle magazine featured Paige mid-swan dive in a leap off of Forest Hill Bridge in California. As a partner of the equally intriguing clothing company Montoya, Paige has entered the ranks of an industry heavy-weight, having a hand in designing her own clothes. Add on the sweet deal she’s scored with Evol snowboards (“which will hopefully pay for my winter in Europe”) and she’s set… for now, at least.

But Paige has big plans other than snowboarding, such as acting, which runs in her veins. After graduating from high school, she headed to New York City and auditioned and was accepted to the prestigious Circle in the Square Theatre group. “I was with them for two years, but the program was too restrictive. I left to work privately with a teacher. I got bit parts in commercials and theatre, but then I was, like, ‘I’m over New York,’ so I decided to go to Colorado with a friend.” She ended up in the tiny mining town of Telluride, Colorado, where she be-friended pro snowboarder Rocket Reeves. “It really changed my life,” says Paige about her couple of years in Telluride. “Rocket was way into snowboarding and pushed me hard. Everything took a back seat and snowboarding became my life.” Rocket moved to Tahoe and convinced Paige that “this was the place.” Not that she’s a Rocket follower, he’s just a friend, but he had never steered her wrong, so she went to Tahoe, too. “It was a good decision for me. I like this mountain town and people in Tahoe,” says Paige. She became close friends with Dana Montoya and Jason Ford as well as Circe Wallace, Megan Pishke, and Barrett Christy and joined the Montoya team soon after. “It’s been the most amazing thing ever,” she says about working with Montoya. “We’re a family, truly.”

A funny anecdote is that she likes working in the office of Montoya. She likes the act of picking up the phone, making decisions, having a desk, “doing cartwheels in the halls.” And being in L.A., which brings her back to acting and stunt work. “I feed off the chaos of L.A. and can take a lot of it. When I wait on the freeways, I think through things and look at people and take the situation and make it the best for me. It seems I’m the only one I know who likes L.A. Life is all in your attitude and how you look at things.”

I asked her how she looks at the ground mid-flight off a bridge. “It’s spiritual,” she says with a soft, southern drawl. “It is an addictive thing. I Jones for the rush.” At this point I’m thinking I’ve lost her. Her eyes reflect a heaven on earth I’ve only seen once before, the moment my friend’s deaf niece discovered communication through her hands. I declare in my own head, that I too, will bungie soon.

Paige’s bungie lifell started with Vertigo Bungie and owners Mike Paget and Robbie Hatcher a few years ago. The story goes that they came to California to leap off the infamous Forest Hill bridge, the highest in the state (they are now based in Seattle). “They jumped with my boyfriend Jeff. I wanted to jump too, but I didn’t bug them. I just said, ‘If you ever have a spot.’ They said, we don’t take girls. I guess girls usually freak out,” says Paige. “And they don’t like it after all the work setting up if someone changes their mind.”

“Well, if you ever change your mind about that,” continued Paige to the Vertigo crew, “let me know.” It was coming up on Christmas and one evening Paige got a call from Mike and Robbie. Yes, that night, they would have a spot open if she was still interested.

“It was such an honor, it was the best Christmas present ever!” But they had to jump in the middle of the night because bungie jumping is totally illegal (except on Jump Day). “I felt in control (it’s all about mind control) and I did it. Mike and Robbie changed my life. They are my heroes. It was the most amazing experience and I owe them the best times of my life.”

Since then, Paige has perfected her style with swan dives, back dives, back dives into missiles. “It’s interesting, but my bungie style is parallel to my snowboarding style: big performances, fast, large,” she says. “The acceleration of going from 0 to 140 miles per hour is a real hook. But I’m a total rookie compared to these guys. I’m hoping to do more jumps but I won’t jump with anyone but Vertigo. I’m not going off anywhere without my crew.”

In Hollywood stunt circles, Paige may be more known for hucking herself off of tall bridges in a single bound than her snowboarding. “I’ve been hired occasionally as a stunt person,” says Paige. “And sometimes, I get stuck as a lead in the job. I’ll go in to do stunts and end up as some cheesy model.”

Most people wouldn’t mind such a fate, and neither does Paige really, it’s just that her incredible good looks are only a part of who she is. Give her a pair of goggles and a hat and the only thing you’d notice is her riding. The Chugach Range in Alaska was her favorite extreme place to be until last winter when she went to Verbier for a contest and hopped a train to Chamonix for what was to be a trip of a lifetime: five weeks of real big mountain riding and filming with RAP Films. “Chamonix felt like the mountain I was looking for all my life,” says Paige. And she can’t get it out of her head. “I thought the Chugach was gnarly and Squaw, but Squaw in comparison is like sport climbing little short routes with ropes attached. In Alaska, the maritime snowpack is more comforting. In Chamonix, the exposure and avalanche danger and steepness is incredible. You have to dig your pits and be sure and take a risk on the continental snowpack. There are holes everywhere and you can hear it rip left and right and there are rocks and debris n’ things I didn’t even know about. I was gripped the whole time. I’d get up, put my harness on, and ride the mountains and then pray to God I made it home and kiss my hotel room floor.”

This year, Paige’s plan is to spend at least six weeks in Chamonix, shooting with film crews and photographers and just riding her dream mountain. “I would live there if I thought I could pull it off. It’s so different than the American scene. People take you seriously and respect you and think you’re an athlete and that what you have is a gift. It’s not about ads and sponsors. I mean there’s this guy there, Jeremy Ruby, who is an extreme God and no one cares. He cares less, too. He’s just out there. He’s the Bruno Gouvy of the ’90s, Chamonix born and bred.”

I tell her I can see her becoming the “Brunette Gouvy of the next century.” She laughs and we get punchy. I ask her where she sees herself in ten years and she says, “In some La Jolla clinic getting a boob job!” That’s a joke, she doesn’t need one. She admits that she’d like to be the next Gabriella Reese, doing sportsmodeling gigs and representing women in sports. She’s not far off. As luck would have it, just last month while she was in a Beverly Hills beauty salon getting her eyebrows plucked, she was “discovered” sort of by Cindy Crawford’s agent from William Morris. “They liked my crazy voice and said they wanted to see me.”

Paige now has a sports agent and is in line for some stunt/modeling gigs. Only she doesn’t want to get her hopes up and claims her focus is winter: “Snowboarding is coming, there’s training, and designing my board and clothes for Evol and Montoya…” And of course, another bungie jump or two.

treme God and no one cares. He cares less, too. He’s just out there. He’s the Bruno Gouvy of the ’90s, Chamonix born and bred.”

I tell her I can see her becoming the “Brunette Gouvy of the next century.” She laughs and we get punchy. I ask her where she sees herself in ten years and she says, “In some La Jolla clinic getting a boob job!” That’s a joke, she doesn’t need one. She admits that she’d like to be the next Gabriella Reese, doing sportsmodeling gigs and representing women in sports. She’s not far off. As luck would have it, just last month while she was in a Beverly Hills beauty salon getting her eyebrows plucked, she was “discovered” sort of by Cindy Crawford’s agent from William Morris. “They liked my crazy voice and said they wanted to see me.”

Paige now has a sports agent and is in line for some stunt/modeling gigs. Only she doesn’t want to get her hopes up and claims her focus is winter: “Snowboarding is coming, there’s training, and designing my board and clothes for Evol and Montoya…” And of course, another bungie jump or two.