Kayli Hendricks—Out of College and into the Streets
Kayli Hendricks started turning heads over when she was just a teenager lapping Trollhaugen’s infamous park, a mecca for incubating Midwestern talent. Her steel nerves on steel rails were quickly apparent with a heavy bag of tricks filled with spin on-and-off variations, switch maneuvers, and more, all with casual style and massive smile on her face. Kayli loves snowboarding, and hours spent on the rope tow, along with a steady presence in Troll edits and Too Hard videos have provided consistent proof that she just keeps getting better and better. But maybe you haven’t seen enough of her lately? Well, that’s because over the last three years, Kayli has been balancing books and hours in the library with time spent in the streets. She’s erred on the side of studying in order to finish her degree faster in order to trade finals for street spots as soon as possible. And her perseverance has paid off. As of last spring, Kayli received her BA and now more than ever has her sights set on DFDs. As winter approaches, it’s finally time for Wisconsin native to get the chance to film the part she’s been dreaming off while sitting in class and because we’re sure she’s going to impress, we caught up with Kayli (aka @ugh_bob_saget) to get some insight into where she’s at and where she’s going. – Mary Walsh
You just graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth, a school located in a freezing cold, hill-filled area. Seems like it's the perfect place to incubate a solid snowboarding scene. What's it like there?
Duluth is a very underrated place filled with really incredible people. There are always people to snowboard with no matter when or where you want to go. There are so many riders in Duluth that it splits up into 6-7 groups sometimes, but really, I always felt welcome in each one. It's a tightknit community filled with minds that think alike, a decent amount of dad jokes, and lots of skating and snowboarding.
What did you study while you were there? What do you want to be when you grow up?
I studied marketing and graphic design at UMD. When I grow up, I would like to stay in the women's snow/skate/surf industry and design boards and graphics. I've always wanted to be a part of a women's camp and give back, as well. Snowboarding has changed my life for the better and I want to share and grow that same passion in the future generations.
You graduated early, too—how did you manage to find time to snowboard the past three years?
Honestly it was really hard. I did not get to ride nearly as much as I wanted too. It was tough to sit at work or school while I knew my friends were out having fun. The only thing that got me through that was knowing I would have this year to give it my all.
It can be challenging to balance going to college and pursuing snowboarding, but also really rewarding. Was it an easy or tough decision to head to college right after high school when your snowboarding was already turning heads? Why was attending college important to you?
Easy decision to head to college, but hard to push snowboarding to the backburner. I just knew at the rate I was going, my body wouldn't be able to withstand snowboarding forever. So, then it was just choosing a degree that would allow me to continue with the industry even if I wasn't necessarily riding.
Let's back up a minute. How old were you when you started snowboarding and how did you get into it?
I started in sixth grade, so, twelve-years-old, I suppose. I skied before that, like most people do. I think the transition came because I was ready for a new kind of challenge.
Where did you grow up riding?
I grew up riding at Trollhaugen and I fully owe all of my abilities to that place and the people there. My parents referred to Troll as my second home for years. It's just always so fun that you really never want to leave. I think that was the hardest part about going to college was leaving that place. If you've been there, you've felt the magic.
What is it like to come up in the Midwest in a snowboard community that has so much history of turning out talented rail riders? How does it influence your own snowboarding?
It is incredibly inspiring. You watch everyone constantly pushing themselves to try new things and it just rubs off. You can feel the energy when everyone is riding and it makes you want to push yourself, too. I think growing up in the Midwest, you see people do tricks that you can't even wrap your head around pretty often. It has just taught me to try something before saying that I can't do it.
What Midwestern riders inspire you/influence your snowboarding?
So many! But if you twist my arm, Cody Biersdorf, Kristin Jessen, Mike Skiba, and Casey Pflipsen—because style is very important and I wish I had their steeze.
What other riders not from the Midwest influence your riding? Any specific video parts that were/are influential for you?
Dillon Ojo and every single one of his parts. Definitely my all-time favorite rider. Rest in peace, Dillon. Also, Corrine Pasela's part in Wanderlust.
Who are the Troll's Angels? What are they up to lately?
Troll's Angels include Kristin Jessen, Hannah Peterson, Korynn Newville, Kendall Johnson and me. Honestly, these are the girls of the Trollhaugen rope tow. Hannah and Kris are still RIPPING there and I cannot wait 'till I get to see them! Ken is grinding away at UMD and Korynn is currently in the middle of architecture grad school!
What's an average day (or night, as the case may be) at Trollhaugen look like for you?
Well, I'd probably show up with a huge smile on my face for one. Then see some great people I've missed and chat a bit to catch up. After that, I would probably follow someone who has been riding the set up for a couple days and see what the best routes through the park are, lap those for at least a couple hours, then depending on weather, take a break at the top of the hill or inside by the fire. Then pretty much repeat the process and head back to the park or see new people showing up and lap with them. Fast follow-lines are always a blast. Rest and repeat until my body is sore and my face hurts from smiling.
What makes Trollhaugen such a legendary place to snowboard?
The park crew, the rails, the rope tow, the people. It's a recipe for unbelievable fun.
Favorite snowboarders coming up in the Midwest that we may not know about yet?
Hannah Peterson has been putting in the time on the rope. If you haven't heard of her, it's just a matter of time.
What do you think makes a good video part?
Good style, good tricks, and a good song. If I can get really hyped watching it, I think it is a success.
You've been filming with Too Hard for a while now. You spent time filming with Dangy and crew again this past season, right?
Yeah, the girls spent some time in Duluth with me, which was amazing. Unfortunately, I missed out on some of the fun while I was in classes and at work, but this year I think we might get to spend some more time there. I still have ideas I never got to bring to fruition.
Three things you bring with you to a spot (other than your snowboard).
Speaker, friends, and snacks, if I remember.
Any good spot stories from this past winter?
Not really, but one time I peed my pants at a spot with all guys and was too embarrassed to tell anyone, so I just sat in the snow and pretended I didn't want to ride. Looking back, I laugh a lot at that one.
You're a jibbing savant, a regular at Snowboy Productions' transition events, and you've ridden powder all over the West Coast—what are you favorite types of things to hit right now?
I think my favorite will always be challenging rails because it feels so good when you can get to the end.
Also, you've accomplished the American Dream: you've moved to Canada. What catalyzed your move to Whistler?
Well, Whistler is an incredible place. It's like the mecca of outdoor activities and everyone here has a passion for the outdoors. I feel like people tend to visit and fall in love with the place and then do whatever it takes to live here. Plus @bigdaddysteezestorm lives here so I get to be in the same country as him now, which is pretty great.
How has summer been on the glacier?
Riding glacier in Whistler is seriously a dream. I think it is a really underrated place, to be honest. You can ride all day and then head straight to the lake to cool off.
Contrast and compare: fast tow rope laps in the Midwest verses long chairlift laps at Whistler.
I haven't quite had the chance for many chairlift laps at Whistler, but I would say I'm really not looking forward to the lines because I hear they can be really insane. Tow ropes will always have my heart.
What's an average day at Whistler look like for you?
Wake up, go for a run if I can find the motivation, go to work, spend the day mostly outside with kids. After work, head to the frolf course to see if I can beat my PB, maybe jump in a lake on the way if it's a scorcher.
Best thing about living in Canada?
Watching Trump do stupid things from the outside.
Can you define why a Caesar is so superior to a Bloody Mary?
A Caesar is less thick, which is nice. However, I was born and raised in Wisconsin so a decked out Bloody Mary will always be superior in my mind.
You started riding for Rome this year, how has it been riding for them?
Rome has been incredibly supportive of my goals and dreams and I couldn't ask for anything more. Really excited to be working with a company so interested in my ideas. They are looking to give back to the women's side of snowboarding and I think that is really where our interests meld.
Now that you're living in a backcountry capital, are you going to be spending more time off piste? Can we still expect rail footage this coming season?
This season will be mostly rail footage as I've been looking forward to this specific season for so long. However, I definitely am going to be spending more time in powder than I ever have and I can't wait. I have a lot to learn when it comes to mountain riding, but I am really eager to get out there.
Any leaks into your upcoming winter plans?
Veroniqi Hanssen and I are spearheading a new project called Fast Forward. It will focus on sustainability within the industry and pushing women's riding. The idea is that if we were to fast forward into the future we would still have the glaciers, snowy winters, and planet that we do now, and that there will be more women riding. We are looking to do all that we can to make that happen, and we are excited to share more soon!