Arielle Gold has emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the snowboarding circuit this season as the 16-year-old continues to dominate the podium in her recent performances. Gold really shined this season when she became the youngest American athlete and the second youngest athlete to earn the top spot at the FIS Snowboard World Championships. She followed this golden performance up with an unexpected bronze medal at her first-ever X Games, where she was originally cast as just an alternate. This past weekend, she was able to secure yet another spot on the podium with an incredible bronze medal routine at the Burton U.S. Open at Vail.
Gold first appeared on the snowboarding radar last season when she earned silver medals in both slopestyle and halfpipe in the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Austria and unearthed gold in the halfpipe of the FIS Junior World Championships.
Her incredible work ethic and commitment to improving her riding everyday at such a young age makes her journey as an athlete such an exciting one to watch, hopefully all the way to Sochi in 2014. We were able to catch up with the young star before she head off to her next tour stop.
The Ski Channel: You’ve definitely been killing it this season landing on the podium three times in the last few weeks. How does it feel to be enjoying so much success at such a young age?
Arielle Gold: It’s awesome! It’s definitely not what I expected from this season. I was just trying to ride the best that I could and just be happy with how I was riding. Then, when those kinds of results followed it was pretty exciting.
TSC: What was it like being the youngest U.S. athlete standing on the top of the podium as the FIS World Cup Champion?
AG: That was awesome. That contest I just decided to go to last minute so getting there I was just kind of hoping to land a run and just see how that went, so getting first place was definitely really unexpected. I was really excited about it.
TSC: What was it like growing up on the champagne powder of Steamboat Springs? That’s definitely such a sick mountain to have right in your backyard.
AG: Growing up in Steamboat was amazing! The snow there is so good, so we had a lot of really awesome powder days growing up. I mean it’s called Ski Mountain USA for a reason so growing up there was huge.
TSC: You’re only 16-years-old, and you’ve already seen so much success so young. You’re just a sophomore in high school. Do you ever feel like you’re missing out on the whole high school experience?
AG: Yeah I definitely wish that I could be back at home just being at high school going to prom and things like that, but I definitely wouldn’t get rid of what I have going for me. I love traveling so much, but the benefits definitely outweigh the consequences.
TSC: What’s your favorite spot that you’ve been to in the past season?
AG: My favorite spot ever in my whole life is New Zealand. It’s just so beautiful there. It’s got the foreign country feel to it without the language barrier, which is pretty nice.
TSC: Taking that 22-foot fall in the halfpipe just 10 days before the FIS World Cup looked like it killed. What was your reaction immediately after it happened?
AG: I was kind of in shock I guess. I didn’t really see that coming because I had landed the one right before that so falling was a little bit of a scare. I definitely felt better than I should have with how bad the fall was. I was lucky I think.
TSC: Do you think that wearing the Unequal padding in your helmet gives you more confidence to attempt bigger and more challenging tricks?
AG: Yeah absolutely. I think Unequal is what made all the difference between me being out for a few days and me being out for a few months. That was probably the worst fall I’ve had in my life and on falls that weren’t nearly as bad I’ve had to stay out for a lot longer than that. Being able to just take a few days off snow and kind of be able to recover and knowing that I have that kind of protection definitely helps me to progress my riding more.
TSC: What has been your favorite moment in snowboarding competition thus far?
AG: I think my favorite moment was probably getting through to X Games just because it was in Colorado and there were a lot of my friends there supporting me. There were just so many fans and such a good vibe at that contest. I landed the best run of my life so it all kind of just came together for me.
TSC: Do you think that your fan base grew exponentially just after the one X Games?
AG: Oh yeah absolutely. I think that a lot of people kind of figured out who I was after that.
TSC: Now that you’re training for the Superpipe competition in the Winter Olympics, what is your main goal for Sochi in 2014?
AG: I think it would just be amazing just to make it to the Olympics. I mean at this point I’m trying not to think too much about that just because it’s so far away. I’m just trying to think about progressing and hopefully that will come together.
TSC: What do you think is something about yourself that most of your fans wouldn’t necessarily know about you?
AG: I think that I have two horses. No one really knows about that and it seems like a lot of people are really excited when they hear about that. That’s probably the biggest thing that people don’t know about me.
TSC: Have you grown up riding your whole life as well?
AG: Yeah I’ve been riding horses since I was two years old.
TSC: Who inspired you growing up and who inspires you currently?
AG: I think that I try to take a little bit from every snowboarder out there. There’s a lot of girls in Steamboat that I grew up riding with like Maddy Shaffrick and Nathalie Geer and a bunch of my close friends. Maddy Shaffrick is actually still snowboarding so those are who I’ve been riding with for a while. All of the older pro snowboarders – Kelly Clark, Torah Bright – they all bring something unique to the table which I try to take into my own riding so I can bring something unique as well.
TSC: How does it feel to be riding with your idols that you never really thought that you would be able to compete with like that?
AG: It’s amazing. When I first started riding with those guys I still kind of was in shock that I was riding with all of them. Getting to know them now you really realize how normal they are, whereas before you know them they just seem like superheroes I guess.
TSC: You have some really great sponsors like Red Bull, Burton, and Unequal Technologies to name a few. How do these sponsorships benefit your riding career?
AG: I think first they try to promote me a lot whether it’s by posting photos or writing articles and things like that which is really good for your fan base. Also, just helping paying for a lot of my travel is huge because it’s such an expensive sport that you need all the help you can get. They give me plenty of help with that which is awesome.
TSC: You’ve been red hot so far this season. What do you think we can expect for the rest of the 2013 snowboarding season from you?
AG: I hope to keep progressing my riding and maybe break out a new trick in some of the last few contests and see if I can get some more results. That would be pretty awesome.
TSC: What’s up next for you?
AG: I am going to Tignes, France for the European X Games.
End of interview