Why did you start snowboarding?
I started snowboarding because I thought it looked cool the first time I saw it when I was 7 back where I grew up in Michigan. My brother had a board and was doing grabs on a small jump on the corner of our road and my mom took photos of him. I tried to stand on my sled but didn’t get a chance to get on a board until I was about 13 with the ski club bus.
What motivates you?
I am motivated to make my family, friends, community, fellow snowboarders and ancestors proud. I want to make the most of the opportunities I have and live life as honestly and whole-heartedly as possible. It’s not about what exactly I am doing, but making sure I am doing it as best as I can with what I have.
What's one of your 2020 goals?
I am planning a week-long camping and exploring mission this spring in the wilderness. My goal is to have a successful snow camping/splitboarding/backpacking trip. I have only spent two nights in a row winter camping before, so my goal is to carry everything on my back and go out for a week to ride cool lines!
What is your go-to pre-session snack/meal?
I like a breakfast of coffee, bacon and eggs before a day in the backcountry.
How do you make your lifestyle more eco-friendly?
I live close to where I can go out into the backcountry easily. I try not to drive my truck or snowmobile around unnecessarily. I am able to ride my bike around for errands since I live in town and only take longer trips when I have a really good reason to. I stay away from too much plastic packaging, I shop for clothes at the thrift stores and I don’t waste food.
What inspires you?
The mountains and weather inspire me. I like to look at a slope and make a really clean and pretty line down it. I am inspired to ride with the natural flow of the terrain but to stay flexible if conditions aren’t forgiving to totally let go. Conditions are always changing and sometimes force me to get creative to make a fun line!
What is your day job and how do you balance work/fun?
I am an aviation student so I can have a day job as an airplane pilot one day. I work as a bus driver for Mt Bachelor and worked for an arborist last summer. I enjoy being outside and operating various machinery. I reward myself with snowboarding after I do well on a test or have a good flight lesson.
Have you experienced any scary or traumatic events in your sport and how did you overcome it?
Yes I have! The mountains are relentless! They can be icy, steep and windy. Rocks can fall and avalanches can happen. After scary experiences, I just realize how important preparedness is. I keep my gear dialed, I watch the weather, I stay flexible to changing conditions, I go with people I trust, talk openly with them and keep a learning mindset. If I am scared out there I take some deep breaths, stay calm and base my actions on facts and the confidence I have in myself.
How do you cross train?
I enjoy practicing handstands, foam rolling, stretching, going for walks, wilderness jogs in the summer and riding bikes. My guilty pleasure is snowmobiling, it’s such a good workout! Mentally, studying aviation weather, safety and navigation is really helpful for backcountry snowboarding.
What's something you're really proud of doing or accomplishing?
I recently completed my Private Pilot License. I am super excited to blend aviation and snowboarding more in the future. I really want to scout mountains and routes from the sky so I am really happy to have a good start towards that goal!
Follow Marissa on Instagram @bigmountainmarissa