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by Dan [December 29, 2009]

INTERVIEW WITH SNOWBOARDER STEPH HICKEYxsession's Dan Linsell was fortunate enough to catch up with pro snowboarder Steph Hickey via email. Read the interview below:

[xsession] First of all, congratulations on some amazing results over the last few years! How are you feeling going into the last couple of events before the Olympic team is announced in January?

[SH] Iím feeling excited. Iíve worked really hard to get to this point and now Iím just trying to enjoy the journey, itís a long, demanding, exciting, painful and exhilarating one, but I would not change it for anything!

[xsession] In the eyes of many people, like myself, you are living the dream lifestyle. How do you keep it real and not lose focus on your goals?

[SH] Indeed the traveling and the wonderful friends I have met around the world are all because of the wonderful lifestyle that comes with snowboarding, but behind the scenes its not always as glamorous as itís all made out to be. At the end of the day you are only as good as your last result and itís a tough and competitive industry outside of Australia, but I love my job so it makes it a lot easier to stay focused and keep pushing my limits and goals.

[xsession] Your career as a professional snowboarder has taken you to some amazing destinations  around the world. What have been your favorite places to ride at?

[SH] I competed at junior world championships in Finland once, that was a really incredible place, but I ride and train mostly in Austria and I love it there- the Alps are hard to beat. My favorite resort of all time though is Kicking horse Canada, hands down the best free riding terrain Iíve ever ridden.

[xsession] Iíve done a bit of backpacking and everywhere I go I take an inflatable kangaroo called Desmond. Do you have a good luck mascot or something that you take with you wherever you go?

[SH] I have Lucky underwear! 2 pairs actually, one for qualifiers and one for finals, they are not only lucky they are adorable.

[xsession] When you were growing up, did you have a backup career in case your snowboarding career didnít take off?

[SH] Yes, I wanted to be a popstar. I donít think itís too late to persue if all else fails still.

[xsession] Snowboarding has obviously evolved a lot in the past 15 years. Where do you see it 15 years in the future?

[SH] Snowboarding has come a really long way just in the past couple of years, my discipline boardercross was only introduced at the last Olympics and 15 years ago half pipes were hand shaped! The kids are starting so much younger now and the sport is dramatically progressing every year. I believe (and hope) in 15 yrs it will be a much more commercial and lucrative sport and maybe Shawn white will have a kid by then that will be dominating the snowboard world just like he did.

[xsession] What other action sports do you do for fun? Have you tried surfing?

[SH] Ballet and Pilates count as action sports right?

Honestly, I would love to surf more but I have not had a summer in 7 years!!! I have had to have back-to-back winters to follow the northern winters and comp circuit; Iím definitely due to take a surf trip soon.

[xsession] One last question - Whoís your favorite action hero?

[SH] Bubbles from the Powder-puff girls, sheís a bad ass.

[xsession] Thanks for your time and all the best for your Olympic qualifying!

[SH] Thanking you, fingers crossed!