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.
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.
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.