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What didn't they account for? Barrett Christy was in the house. She looked the organizers and the kicker up and down a couple times, put on a helmet and launched it without a chance at the big prize. She proceeded to bust a couple 360s and then attempted her signature 540s while some of the pro men were still just straight airing.
She must have caught someone's attention because now you can see her launching off buildings in a single bound for Nike (still next to a man contemplating a straight air).
As her time in the trench increased, she began taking on more and more pipe contests. Then as the Olympics approached, she tightened her focus on the halfpipe trials, and snowboarding fans everywhere held their breath hoping Barrett would make the cut.
The first big test she passed was winning the US Open in March of '97 while in the company of the best riders in the world. Even though the boarders consider The Open their Olympics, it wouldn't qualify Barrett to go to Japan with the first ever US Snowboard Team.
I saw Barrett that day, stretched out on a couch reflecting on the possible outcome. All I could say was "good job" and smile, knowing that her Olympic destiny was in limbo. Then, as the first American Snowboard Team was lined up under the lights, the coaches announced the finals team members.
By the time they said "and riding for Gnu...", I was screaming her name while trying to see through my lens and watery eyes.
Barrett's been pro for five years and had her signature Gnu board for the last three. She rides for the most downhome, Northwest manufacter and the biggest shoe company on the planet. So The Mountain Zone sat her down, between biking, surfing, tennis and traveling, for a few questions. Now with the Olympic hype behind us, we got to hear the truth from Barrett herself. So surf on through and find out from an American halfpipe hero just where snowboarding is headed.
When did you start snowboarding?
Do you feel the Olympics adversly impacted snowboarding?
I yelled "you idiots" when they got your name backwards during your Olympic run.
We missed you at X Games this summer, sup wit dat?
What's your Northwest affiliation?
Do any surfing this summer?
What's your take on the Federation International du Ski (FIS) and its recent interest in snowboarding?
What events will you be hitting this year?
Will you be at The US Open?
What're your thoughts about people who say sponsors like Nike aren't about snowboarding?
Where are you going?
Hans Prosl, Mountain Zone Staff