words: Jenna Kuklinski
Ms. Superpark does its best each year to bring together the preeminent riders of the women’s snowboard world, showcasing their talents for four fabulous days in a private playground built of snow and metal. Everyone is excited when their personal snowboarding idol shows up to tear apart the park, but what about those other ladies? The ones that are filled with powerful, personal motivation to get out there and ride just as hard; ripping in bounds, out of bounds, and still flying just below the radar. I caught up with a handful of female riders we think you should be paying attention to right now. Check out what they had to say about their experience at Ms. Superpark and what inspires them to keep pushing their personal boarding towards progression.
From the first day, Mariah Dugan held nothing back in her riding, laying down two clips for the Ms. Superpark Day 1 video with solid, controlled riding. She recently joined FYVE Snowboards’ team, an up-and-coming Australian-based company, which adds to her backing by Flux, Smith Optics and Outdoor Tech. Mariah is a regular poster child for women’s riding at Mammoth Mountain, having put together most of her footage from there this year and pulling a third place finish in the JLA banked slalom just a week prior to jumping in to Ms. Superpark. She rides hard, has fun and took full advantage of this all-ladies event being at her home mountain this year.
How’re you liking Ms. Superpark?
Year three is awesome, I honestly think this is the funnest set up. Keystone was really fun, but I think Mammoth just has more options. It’s always a really good time and it’s really nice to meet all the other female athletes and vibe with everybody, you know? I feel like the whole female industry is really small, so it’s nice to meet all the girls and get to know each other.
Are there any specific features you were hyped on?
I really liked the butterpad and all the rail lines flow really well. I’ve had a lot of fun on the rails. It’s not like you get on the chair, go down and hit one feature, you can actually flow through the whole park. I’m familiar with the features, which makes it really fun for me. The hip session was pretty heavy, I think that was the gnarliest thing that went down. Elena Hight and Kelly Clark were just going massive and it was really cool to watch that. I was hitting it, but they were definitely going bigger.
What would you say keeps you coming back to snowboarding every season?
I’ve just been snowboarding for a really long time and it makes me happy. When I learn a new trick, I want to keep doing it. I don’t do it for anybody but myself.
Any good stories that have come out of Ms. Superpark for you this year?
Not really, other than taking some pretty good slams (laughs). I’m alive. I’m still walking.
This time last year Kelly broke her leg on one of the jumps during Ms Superpark. Fast forward to Ms. Superpark 2014 and Kelly’s rail riding proves she’s fully recovered and getting right back at it. Every photographer that worked with her during the event was stoked to see her riding and told her so. You can see why they were so hyped when you check out her photos in the Day 1 and Day 3-4 Recaps. Her style is strong, deliberate and determined. She’s riding for herself and having some serious fun.
What were some highlights that came out of Ms. this year for you?
A highlight for me being at Ms. Superpark was getting everyone together from all over the country. The first day had such great vibes, everybody was stoked to see each other and we’re all laughing, getting on lifts with different people. It’s not so clique-y; we’re shredding and hanging out. Another highlight was having our own park without a bunch of men overrunning it and not being too influenced by what they’re doing. Like, “oh! They’re hitting that feature so big and gnarly! Where am I going to be?!” No. You just get to snowboard and do you. That’s the best part about it. I was riding on my own, scoping everything out, and hitting it how I wanted to.
How has Ms. Superpark been for you over the last three years?
The first year I went to Ms. Superpark I didn’t bring any expectations, I was just really excited to be included and have the opportunity to shred with some of the sickest female snowboarders in the industry. The second year, I went I really wanted to throw down and get shots. That didn’t work out for me because I put too much pressure on myself to perform. This year, I wanted to come in with a clean slate, empty mind, and just snowboard. You’ve got to be free and not be afraid to be an individual. If you’re trying to please others you lose sight of who you truly are and you can’t be the best you.
What was your favorite trick you landed while at Ms. Superpark?
One of the biggest things for me was that waterfall rail. First day, trying to 50-50 it seemed kind of tough. Then I started getting comfortable in the park. It was ours, no one else’s. We got to take our time, place our tricks and get it done. Being able to have that free mentality was just amazing. I got to roll up to that rail and think, “I want to try and boardslide that.” I ended up boardsliding to sameway out of it. Drop, drop, drop, BAM! It felt SO good. It worked. You get in that mental zone where you can do anything you want to do. The support from all the other girls was amazing, so many compliments. Everybody appreciates the same thing, being free.
At seventeen years old, Hailey Mattingley is an extremely dedicated competition rider coming to Ms. Superpark for her first time. She took first place for Women’s Slopestyle at the 2014 Junior World Championships in Italy and got picked up by Smokin’ Snowboards for their Am Team last year. Hailee fills her summers with homework packets so she can have time off from school during the winter to keep her slopestyle game on point. That being said, she still makes sure to ditch the park and hit the backcountry for fresh powder on days that it dumps.
How has it been coming off the competition circuit this year and ending the season with Ms. Superpark?
I’ve always looked at Ms. Superpark as something I wanted to be invited to. I watched all the videos and always thought it looked so fun, and it is so fun, riding with all the girls at Mammoth. Competitions are really fun, but stressful sometimes. It’s fun meeting all these girls that are so good at snowboarding, getting to know them and getting to ride with them.
What have you been riding?
I’ve been lapping a lot because the lifts are fast and then I was hiking the waterfall rail for a little bit in the afternoon trying to get some tricks. I got 50-50 back 180 out. I was trying to cab 180 on to pretzel out, but I was struggling with it. I landed a cab 720 [on the jumps] by accident (laughs). I love Mammoth.
Is there anything you’ve seen other people doing out there that you were excited about?
Yea! A lot of girls are killing it. Anna Gasser was doing nines the other day and Chloe Kim was doing underflips on the jumps. It’s cool to see other girls killing it. All the older girls that have been in X Games and the Olympics even have been really inspirational. It’s cool to look up to them and see that they’re doing big tricks and maybe I can one day do those big tricks, too.
What keeps you snowboarding?
Every year’s been more and more fun with all the new opportunities that have come up. My whole family snowboards, my dad’s our coach. My younger sister Taelor started competing before me; she was this little grom killing it. She’s really my inspiration. She’s a fearless little girl. She’s the one that started getting me into it, for sure. She was the one that really took it to the next level.
This New Zealand native returned to Ms. Superpark for her third year, following up a heavy season of competitions. She’s the kind of rider that can be an alternate at the 2014 U.S. Open, get a phone call the night before the event asking her to ride in it (with no prior days of practice), and then land everything her first run with only four laps to warm up. She took part in the 2014 Winter Olympics this year, competing on her home country’s slopestyle team and making it all the way to the semi-finals ending with an eighth place finish. Her idea of easy riding means she’s mastering spins with double grabs and she isn’t afraid to take a fall.
How is Ms. Superpark for you after coming from Sochi this year?
I’ve had nine months on snow, so this is like my time off, but when there’s an event like Ms. Superpark you don’t want to have any time off because it’s so fun. It’s riding with your friends. If you get shots it’s good, if you don’t, it’s still fun. I love Mammoth, especially in the spring. I also like how all the different riders come together that you don’t usually ride with throughout the rest of the year. The filming girls come, the backcountry girls, it’s fun to mix up what you usually do.
Any riding highlights for you?
We did the night shoot last night and that was definitely my highlight. Hot laps on the jump watching the sunset, it was beautiful. I love playing around with grabs and stuff, so I’ve been doing mellow things but double grabs. I just learned how to do front 360 mute and tail. I was having such a great time until I kneed myself in the jaw (laughs). I was trying back 720 Japan, which was kind of wild. I wasn’t quite landing it, so I was like, “I’ll move on to something different and come back to this.” [I tried] something mellow like a front 360 and ended up kneeing myself.
What are some of your plans post-Ms. Superpark and beyond?
I’m actually going to try and learn to surf in California for about a month before I go back to New Zealand in August, I want to break up my year-round winters. I don’t have any plans from then on though. Keep competing, but maybe go into the backcountry to mix it up a little.