10 Questions with Champion Snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis

Lindsey Jacobellis

Ver­mont-native Lind­sey Jaco­bel­lis is a slope mas­ter. She won gold at the X Games ten times and has been crowned World Champ Snow­board Cross five times. She’s also 2018 Win­ter Olympics bound.

Jaco­bel­lis has been snow­board­ing since she was a teenag­er and says snow has always been a part of who she is. We talked to Jaco­bel­lis to find out more about her start and what’s in store for the future.

THE CLYMB: Were you always active as a kid?

Lind­sey Jaco­bel­lis: Yes, my par­ents always put me into sports and I was always play­ing out­side with my broth­er. Every sea­son my broth­er and I would be involved in a sport that ranged from swim­ming, softball/baseball, lacrosse, field hock­ey, ski­ing, snow­board­ing, and skate­board­ing. There was nev­er a dull moment for my mom, she was our num­ber one fan, and was there with her cowbell.

THE CLYMB: Did you enjoy win­ter sports back then too or did you pre­fer some­thing else?

Lind­sey Jaco­bel­lis: Grow­ing up on the East Coast, win­ter was a part of the nor­mal cycle and my broth­er and I looked for­ward to win­ter activ­i­ties, such as sled­ding, ski­ing, mak­ing snow­men and hope­ful­ly hav­ing school called off for the day.

THE CLYMB: When did you start focus­ing on snow­board­ing as a pro­fes­sion­al pursuit?

Lind­sey Jaco­bel­lis: I first start­ed with local events, and those qual­i­fied me for nation­als, where I con­tin­ued par­tic­i­pat­ing in big­ger and big­ger events more con­sis­tent­ly. After being nation­al­ly ranked I want­ed the next step and start­ed my world cup career as well as the Grand Prix cir­cuit. The moment I real­ized my sport was going to be in the next Olympics was in 2002, the year I grad­u­at­ed high school. I now had a goal in mind and a sol­id sup­port sys­tem of friends and fam­i­ly to help guide me in my next few years lead­ing into 2006.

Lindsey Jacobellis

THE CLYMB: Was it some­thing that felt nat­ur­al or did you go into it after try­ing some­thing else?

Lind­sey Jaco­bel­lis: This was a nat­ur­al tran­si­tion for me. I did not take the nor­mal path after high school and pro­ceed direct­ly to col­lege, but I want­ed to explore this option since it was so unique. I was curi­ous to see how far it could take me…and 15 years lat­er, I am still at it!

THE CLYMB: A lot of peo­ple think of snow­board­ing as a fun sport, but there’s a lot of train­ing that goes into it. What’s your train­ing rou­tine like and how many hours do you spend practicing?

Lind­sey Jaco­bel­lis: I train year round for my sport. Most peo­ple think that snow­board­ers are lazy and chill and don’t real­ly train that hard, but I assure you my train­ing reg­i­ments are very chal­leng­ing and can push me to reach goals that I have nev­er though pos­si­ble with­in myself. I usu­al­ly train about 2–3 hours a day, and that doesn’t even count the oth­er activ­i­ties I do for fun (and they also trans­late as a car­dio work­out). In the spring and sum­mer my work­outs focus more on aer­o­bic and mus­cle endurance, this helps me build a great foun­da­tion for what is to come in the months that fol­low. Lat­er in the sum­mer and fall, it is all about build­ing mus­cle mass and strength. I need to put on weight that my sport needs to help me go fast as well as pro­tect myself from injury (in case I crash or get tan­gled with anoth­er rid­er). Then, in the fall, all of the mass and strength I have acquired is made into POWER. That is learn­ing how to move the strength and mass I have gained in the fastest way that is spe­cif­ic to my sport.

THE CLYMB: You’ve won the snow­board cross title at the X Games ten times. Can you tell us about your expe­ri­ence at the games?

Lind­sey Jaco­bel­lis: X‑Games has always made it about the ath­letes, and that is not what we run into all the time when we are on tour, so it is a very spe­cial event. Ath­letes get to work and com­mu­ni­cate with course builders and have a say. They have been able to show­case our event over the years with wild fea­tures and huge jumps to keep the crowd enter­tained and want­i­ng more.

Lindsey Jacobellis

THE CLYMB: Have things changed for the sport in the last few years?

Lind­sey Jaco­bel­lis: I start­ed com­pet­ing at X when I was 15 years old. It seems like a life­time ago. I look back and see how the sport has devel­oped and that I had a chance to grow with the sport, and that is very spe­cial to me. The cours­es con­tin­ue to get big­ger and faster every year…. and I look for­ward to the next one.

THE CLYMB: Are injuries a com­mon issue with pro­fes­sion­al snow­board­ers? It seems we hear fre­quent­ly about injuries in skiers but not as much about injuries con­nect­ed to snowboarding.

Lind­sey Jaco­bel­lis: Injuries are in every sport, espe­cial­ly when you are at the top lev­el. Ath­letes will con­tin­ue to push the lim­its with­in the sport and them­selves and that is just the nature of a competitor.I have had my fill of injuries, some that have kept me out for a sea­son or more.

THE CLYMB: Any oth­er sports you enjoy besides snowboarding?

Lind­sey Jaco­bel­lis: I love to surf any chance I get. It is a great way to still get a work­out but have fun and be in the sun. The feel­ing is very sim­i­lar to snow­board­ing in pow­der and it trans­lates over very well from snowboarding.

THE CLYMB: You’re head­ing to the 2018 Win­ter Olympics to com­pete. How are you prepar­ing for it?

Lind­sey Jaco­bel­lis: Well, noth­ing is offi­cial yet. We will have qual­i­fiers start­ing in Sep­tem­ber down in Argenti­na. That ear­ly in the sea­son we have to go to the south­ern hemi­sphere to train and find snow and that will be the first step. My team will con­tin­ue to com­pete on the World Cup tour to get results that can qual­i­fy for the Olympics. It is a non-stop hunt and you have to give it your all every time.

2017 Toyota U.S. Grand Prix - Snowboardcross at Solitude Resort Photo: U.S. Snowboarding
2017 Toy­ota U.S. Grand Prix — Snow­board­cross at Soli­tude Resort
Pho­to: U.S. Snowboarding