She’s from Australia, she lives in Utah and she rips with the best of them. Torah Bright is one of the best chicks in the snowboarding game, and SLUG was lucky enough to steal some of her time to chat all things snow.
SLUG: This week, you’re prepping to compete in the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge. How’s Colorado been treating you?
Torah Bright: Colorado has been great. It was bitterly cold when I first arrived, but it has been warming up every day since. The Half-pipe is built really well, the jump line and slopestyle course are amazing. I’m having a great time just riding outside of the contest.
SLUG: What kind of training or prep do you go through for a competition like this?
Bright: The first day of training, I take a few runs just to feel the transition out, and each run, I add a little bit more speed, get a little bit more comfortable, and then start working in different tricks, and then after that, trying to just put different combos in and work on the comp run. Even though the Half-pipe looks the same at every event I go to, it isn’t. So it takes just a little bit of time to feel it out until I’m comfortable enough to know how to ride and what hits and tricks will work where.
SLUG: According to the roster, it looks like you’ll be competing in the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle Final on Friday and Women’s Snowboard Superpipe Final on Saturday. What motivated you to enter both events?
Bright: We had qualifiers on Tuesday, and I’ll only be in the Half-pipe finals. I was on the mountain from 8 a.m. till 3 p.m., attempting to qualify in both. I had a wonderful time riding in the practice for Slopestyle, and then for the qualifying on my first run, I got hung up on the rail and couldn’t get off switch, which kind of messed up my whole run … and then, on the second run, the sun went down and the course was so shady that into the first jump, I couldn’t tell how fast I was going and I knuckled the jump … so that was my run. I didn’t qualify for Slopestyle, but that’s OK.
SLUG: Tell me about your board setup. Do you have one snowboard that you use the entire time or different set ups for, say, Superpipe and Slopestyle?
Bright: The boards that I ride for Half-pipe and Slopestyle are the same. They are my Roxy Bright Edition Eminence. The only difference between the boards are: In the Slopestyle, you’re hitting rails as well as jumps and the edges are detuned differently, and in the Half-pipe, the edges need to be a lot sharper to get up the icy walls.
SLUG: For you, what’s the best part about competing?
Bright: I don’t snowboard because I love to compete—I snowboard because I love to snowboard. Competing is just kind of what I’ve always done. I’m good at it. Because I didn’t compete for a while, I didn’t realize how tiring they are emotionally, mentally and physically. It just takes so much out of you. Whether it goes good or bad, I feel such relief that it’s over, every time. Win, lose or draw, I’m pretty pumped if I just do what I say what I wanted to do.
SLUG: You’ve got two Dew Tour Gold Medals under your belt. Does this make you feel more confident heading into the competition or make you feel like you’ve got more to prove?
Bright: These days, I just snowboard the way I want to. If my best is the best, then that’s awesome, but these days, I’m going into a contest and I’m gonna ride it the way I have the most fun riding it. So yeah, I guess I have confidence in my ability on my snowboard. I just want to be able to put on a good show and share my love of snowboarding.
SLUG: Aside from the winning aspect of the competition, what goals do you set for yourself?
Bright: I try and bring it back to a normal day riding, so that I’m not sitting up there a nervous wreck. I try and be playful as if I’m just riding with my buddies and just go do what I know how to do best.
SLUG: This winter, you’ll be in Sochi, Russia, competing in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. While it’s not your first Olympic rodeo, it is the first time that not just you, but anyone, will be attempt to qualify for three events: the Half-pipe, Snowboard Cross and Slopestyle. How does it feel to do something like this?
Bright: I will be ecstatic if I am able to qualify for all three events. Right now, Half-pipe and Slopestyle are good to go, but Boardercross is the challenging one. It’s always been the challenging one because it’s new to me and it’s a new technique with my snowboard that I need to figure out and master, and then there’s the race aspect. When I’m in Half-pipe and Slopestyle, it’s just me and the mountain, but with Boardercross, it’s me and five other girls and the mountain. It’s a totally different mental game and I’m learning a lot about myself. When I’m riding Half-pipe and Slopestyle, I try to be playful … that’s how I get the most out of myself, but when I’m in Boardercross, I need to pull out fierce Torah, not fun Torah. It’s a challenge for sure.
SLUG: Do the Olympic Games have a different vibe from other competitions?
Bright: It has got a totally different vibe. It happens once every four years—it’s the biggest world stage that snowboarding has. Pre Olympics, everybody is a little on edge … It’s more stressful. If I was to give advice to anybody who hasn’t been to the Olympic Games, I’d say just treat like any other event. Enjoy the experience—realize it’s no different than any other snowboard event.
SLUG: You hold a 2010 Olympic Gold Medal, an Aussie Medal of Honor, an ESPN ESPY Award, two X-Games Golds, two World Titles, six Global Open Series Golds, three World Superpipe Championship Golds and two Dew Tour Golds. Did you ever imagine as a kid that you’d be where you are today?
Bright: Not at all. Not one bit. I never dreamt of being in the Olympics or even knew that I could have a career being a professional snowboarder. I was given really cool opportunities and my family helped me take those opportunities and roll with them. My parents always told me and my siblings that if you’re gonna do something, you do it to your best ability. So that’s what I’m doing. I was given these opportunities, and I went wholeheartedly with it and turned it into something beautiful. Thirteen years later, and I’m still going—loving it more than ever too.
To watch Torah Bright throw it down in the Women’s Snowboard Superpipe Final on Saturday, tune into NBC or NBC Sports Network, or stream it live at dewtour.com