Colleen sends it in the backcountry. Photo: Christy Chaloux

Caught Up with Colleen Quigley

Words by Jess Roy

Colleen Quigley is a rare species of woman: Amazonian tall, with luscious red locks and a constant mischievous twinkle in her eye. She's got an unwavering loyalty to Massachusetts, and an uncanny ability to elicit a 'Holy %*$^' gasp from unsuspecting spectators when riding her snowboard. Like that addicting bag of Chex Mix, the loveable East Coast gal with the mutated 16th chromosome is a sweet and salty blend.

As a wicked East Coast girl, what are some of the major differences you see between East/Mid/West Coast shredding?
Well, I always miss Dunkin Donuts when I’m away from the East. It's a staple. I feel like I see that kids on the West Coast try to start new and odd trends in snowboarding which usually end up hitting the East Coast 2 years later. You won’t really go to the East Coast and see all the crazy styles, like some kid with 4 tall tees on and maybe a vest… which you might see in say Colorado. Also, back East I see the mountains working really hard to with what they have to make the most of their runs in order to stay on par with the West Coast resorts that have more terrain. There are lots of smaller creative features on the park run that can't fit a triple line of big jumps.

Is the Eastern Boarder family pissed at you for selling out and moving to SoCal?
No, I think they’re actually pretty jealous. They always give me shit, but I know they're just jealous! Nah, sometimes I am jealous and wish I was on the East Coast with a strawberry frosted donut and a French vanilla iced coffee in my hand.

Why are they jealous?
Because I live across the street from the beach and get to go surfing everyday when I'm not snowboarding. Mostly I think they are just envious of the hot curl.

What’s been the highlight of your 08/09 season?
I don't really have just one highlight. It's been a pretty fun winter in general. I've spent a lot of time all over the place and traveling. I went home to New England for a month in January, and the snow was really good. I got to shred with the ‘For the Hell of it’ crew. It's been a really a different season for me than usual.

Photo: Christy Chaloux

You ride 9 months a year. What’s the best part about summer time snowboarding vs. winter season?
Summer shreddin' is sweet because its super sunny and warm all the time. You can go to the mountain in a t-shirt or hoodie and it's perfect. I coach at High Cascade, and it’s a great little community of friends just hanging out snowboarding and having a good time. Summer is a great time to learn new things. It’s like a BBQ every day on the mountain.

So, how do you go about learning that new trick you're dying to get?
Usually, I find a good friend who gets me psyched and is fun to ride with. Before I try any trick, I have to visualize it. If I can't picture myself doing it, I’m not ready to try it. I’ll probably do like 5 warm up tricks which get progressively closer to what I’m trying to do. Baby steps for sure. It's what works for me.

Let’s clear there air here. A lot of people think that you exude quite salty vibe sometimes…
I think that’s just a lot of people from MA (or New England in general) are. Maybe that's why they call us “Massholes”. I’m not afraid to speak my mind when I think something is lame, which can get misconstrued as negative when I'm just being honest. I’d say I’m rarely actually pissed, but I think my eyebrows are naturally pointed down so it looks like I’m mean muggin’ a lot when I'm just staring off into space. I’m also pretty shy until I get to know someone.

You’re pretty opinionated when it comes to style and snowboarding. Let’s hear some of your thoughts.
Everyone naturally has a unique riding style, and that's really cool. I think riding style is super important, and I'm always questioning mine trying to get it just right—it's like a never-ending quest. I think that there are certain tricks that get especially hated on when you do them with bad style- for example the Method. But a mean Method is one of the best tricks in snowboarding.

Let’s talk about your undying love for nuclear grabs. What’s up with that?
I just love doing hard, weird grabs! Random hard grabs are so much more fun and are less boring that the same ones you see all the time. I like gettin’ sketchy in the air. Nuclear backside 180's are so scary and exciting.

They are pretty sick.

Back on the home turf, you’re usually caught boardin’ with a bunch of dudes. What kind of days do you have with the guy crew vs. the girls?
The guys push me to do things that I’ve never tried before, and to step it up. When I ride with the girls, I try to work on perfecting things that I can kind of already do.

How do you feel about the ever-growing trend of pro-action sports athletes on reality TV shows?
Different strokes for different folks. But I wouldn’t be caught dead on a reality TV show…

Never say never.

Photo: Christy Chaloux

What’s your favorite thing about having red hair?
I can use it as an excuse for when I act stupid.

Do you feel as though it affects your performance?
What sort of performance are we talking about here? Listen, I’m a rare breed. I think that it absolutely enhances my performance in all that I do.

Last words?
Nikita, Airblaster, Dakine, Capita, Union, Eastern Boarder, Waterville Valley and ASS Industries- Thank you for making it so that I get to snowboard all winter!