Words & Photos: Laura Austin
I could see many perks of being sponsored by Gatorade… being able to say that you are on the same team as Micheal Jordan, Peyton Manning, and Kevin Garnett, an endless supply of a liquid that magically cures hangovers, and one could assume that the pay isn’t too shabby. But for Ellery Hollingsworth her first heli trip with unlimited Heli time, having Tricia Byrnes on the trip with her, and a special on Fuel TV covering the whole experience, may be the icing on the cake. The other night Gatorade hosted an event in Santa Monica for friends, family, and sponsors to see a pre screening of the show. I had the chance to sit down with Ellery and hear firsthand about her experience, working with Gatorade, and her career. Read what she had to say below and don’t forget to check out the show on Fuel TV on October 19th at 10:30 PM.
Explain the idea behind this trip you went on with Gatorade and the show that was created for it.
Gatorade came to me and said we want to do some testing and I kinda breezed over that because they said we want to take you on a sick pow trip and that was what my mind went to. So they decided to take me and my friend Tricia Byrnes on this sweet pow trip which Gatorade sports scientists have never done before. The testing was to see how much hydration I lost during the day and how my body reacted to riding all day and by the end of the trip I learned a lot about how I could ride all day and not get tired and burnt out.
But did you get any down time on this trip? Without cameras?
Not really. We woke up, did yoga, they filmed that, then we had breakfast…. They pretty much had cameras on the whole time. But the lodge we went to was so unbelievable. We had the best chef in the world with like 7 course meals every meal. One night we had a big bonfire and another night we had fireworks. It was pretty legit.
How long have you known Tricia Byrnes?
Funny story. When I was probably 10 or 11 years old and wasn't really a competitive snowboarder yet I did the Ross Powers camp at Stratton and Tricia was a guest at the camp and I got to be in her group. I was like, "teach me how to do a mctwist!". And she was like, "well let's start with a frontside 360". And then when I got on the US Team I started traveling with her. So she has been a good mentor for me for a long time.
Do you get to ride for yourself very often or is it all training and contests?
Last year was a big contest season and that was still a lot of fun. I feel like I progressed in a lot of areas. But once I went on that backcountry trip.. it was my first time being in a heli and it opened my eyes to so much more snowboarding. Now I'm a powder hound.
Do you see yourself moving into that area of the sport? Or do you want to stay in the contest circuit?
Well I definitely want to go to the next Olympics for halfpipe. Since this season was so intense with halfpipe I didn't get to ride slopestyle that much and I definitely want to ride more jumps. After the whole contest scene I see myself getting into powder riding because it is a whole different lifestyle.
Anything that sticks out in your mind about the trip?
I was exhausted every day because we rode SO MUCH. Till like 4:30 because we had unlimited heli time. So I remember being really tired but so psyched with a smile on my face at the end of the day. Just the service at the lodge, if we wanted to have a bonfire, the bartender would be out there, digging a fire pit for the whole day and we would have an amazing bonfire at night. It was a dream trip.
Did you see yourself at this level in your career already? How old are you again?
I'm 19… If you had gone back and told 11 year old me that I was going to be a pro snowboarder going on Gatorade, Burton, and Nike trips I probably wouldn't have believed you. But that was my dream and I remember telling my mom that I wanted to be the best snowboarder in the world. I'm not exactly there yet, but I feel like if I keep working on it…hopefully I will get closer to that. That was so deep huh?
Is it weird being sponsored by the same company as Tiger Woods when the slogan is… "Is it in you?"
I didn't even know that was the slogan actually. But it is cool because when I go on the Gatorade website there's such an elite group of athletes and they only have 3 or 4 basketball players and 2 skateboarders, and it is amazing being apart of that group. The experiences they have given me have been unreal.