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Merrick Neerhof, Snowboard/Mountain Biker - (CO)

by Joanna Brashear on May 26, 2017

Merrick Neerhof - Snowboard/Mountain Biker - Breckenridge, CO



 Your Age: 8

Your Location (where do you ride mostly): Breckenridge, CO

Weapon(s) of choice: Snowboard (magic sword), my mountain bike, Turbo Rojo. 

What’s an average day for you like? In the summer, I do a lot of mountain biking with my family, I do a lot of bike camps with friends. In the winter I snowboard as much as possible with my family, and I ride with my friends a lot when we do competitions together. I also love to hang out with my dog, Coco. 

What is the most difficult part of your activity/sports for a beginner? The easiest? The hardest in snowboarding isgetting turns down, heel & toeside, trying not to fall, and finding your balance. The easiest is showing up and ripping and having fun! 

What is the best and worst thing about being female in your sport? Some boys doubt you, that is the worst. It is awesome being with other girls, and being shredders. We push each other, and laugh, and have so much fun! 

What would you like to see change in your sport to make it better for you and other female athletes? I would like to see more girls on the mountain. I have made the best of friends because of snowboarding. I also would like to see more girls on bikes. There aren't a lot of girls my age on bikes. Trail riding makes me feel like I'm flying. 

Besides your ability and style factor as an athlete, how would you describe your personal style? I'm girly, but I also have a different side. I like to ride hard on my bike and on my board (Sword). I love to make new friends wherever I go, whatever I am doing. I like to choose fun clothes that match my fun side. 

What are your favorite brands/designers for your sports apparel and for stepping out? Zemu wear from Winterkids, Burton, Pom-Pom, Five Ten shoes, Fox, Vans, Spacecraft, and DaKine.

Let’s hear your thoughts on how important looking good is to feeling good. “Being” your personal best? In our family, it is about health first. When you are healthy, you feel good - you feel really good! When you are healthy, you can do your best!

How dangerous do you really think it is compared to what people do in their regular activities? I don’t think snowboarding or mountain biking is dangerous as it is fun to have adventures and try new things. Sometimes you crash, but it makes you stronger. 

I bet in your experience you have seen some crazy crashes. Describe one. My Mom and I were riding  bikes on the trail from our house into Breckenridge. It was a rocky descent and I was on my old bike. We were flying and I hit a loose rock and flipped off  and went down. My knee got really scraped up and it hurt, but we kept riding. Now I wear knee pads and its all good! I also back taco'd a rail at Copper - I have pads now!

What usually gets people hooked on your activity/sport? When they learn to really ride powder and buff, fast trails on mountain bikes. 

What is your favorite trick? Backside 180's 

Do you own any other toys? My full suspension MTB, Turbo Rojo. (You have to name them) 

What gets you pumped up for the day? Hanging with my family and listening to fun music. 

What are three things you could not live without? Snowboarding, MTB, my family.

What are your expectations for this activity/sport? I just want to keep having fun, learning new tricks, and making new friends. 

Who have been your biggest supporters in getting you to where you are now? My Mom and Dad, Winterkids, 728 Outdoor, The LumberYard Skate and Snow (Local Breck shop), Keystone Resort, POM POM last season. My parents have been riding a really long time and have a lot of friends who believe in me and help when & where they can. Breckenridge is the best Mountain town to grow up in!  

Who’s your favorite rider/shooter (photo/video)? Kelly Clark, Christy Prior, Possum Torr, Jamie Anderson, Kimmy Fasani. 

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not riding/shooting/competing? Art, hang with my dog, enjoy nature, garden with my Mom, and build with Legos. 

How about in the off season to stay in shape? Mountain Biking has helped my strength so much. I do a little Yoga on my own and recently I have been running with Girls on The Run at school. I practice core balance on a fit ball and  I go to the gym with my Dad.

What is your biggest goal to accomplish this/next season? Ride more pow, do bigger 360's off of jumps, and master board slides. 

What do you do to prep for a competition? Think happy thoughts, breathe, try to not be nervous and have fun.

What competitions and other awards have you won? Include your non sports accomplishments also. Last season I competed in the Grom division/USASA. I took 3rd in a Halfpipe comp, 3rd in Slopestyle, I won a GS and Slalom event, also took 1st in a Boardercross, 2nd in Banked Slalom. I shared the podium in a lot of events with my twin besties from Vail, The Hendrix twins, we have the most fun together. I made it to Nationals in Boardercross and Halfpipe, it was fun. This past Summer I started MTB racing. I won a hard, long race and was on the podium all season. I ended up 3rd overall for the series, which was 10 and under girls, and I am only 8. I was super happy.  

What’s your favorite “way” to ride? Side-country with my Mom and Dad. All-Mountain, then park. I like natural features the best. 

Favorite conditions? POWDER!

Where would be your biggest dream place to ride and why? All untracked powder. I have been to a lot of mountains, so maybe Jackson next. 

What song(s) do you listen to while riding that puts you in the zone?  I don't listen to music on the mountain, yet.

What turned you on to your sport? My parents. I started out skiing, then switched over. I have been riding since I was 3. 

Any new tricks you’re working on? My back-side 360. I have them down, but want to do them bigger.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done in your sport? Hike and ride an awesome side country area with my parents at Breckenridge. Not saying where!

What other extreme/action sports are you into? So far, MTB and snowboarding. I skate a little, just beginning. 

If extreme/action sports didn’t exist, what would you be doing with all the free time you’d have? I would be doing a sport of some kind. I love to go fast. 

What’s your favorite board/bike/sled to ride and why? I have a 728 Outdoor board I like a lot, also grew up on Burton boards with catch-free edges. That helped out learning and I'm growing so fast, I have to get a new board this year! My MTB is a NORCO 24" Fluid, it is awesome. I love having full-suspension as it helps make my ride over techy terrain softer, smoother.

What’s the trick to riding features and not killing yourself? My parents are the best coaches, they make sure I have the basics down before I try anything new. They also know when it is time to push and they have confidence in me, which gives me confidence. You need to commit. Our family saying is "Check yourself, before you wreck yourself!" This came from our good friend/my Uncle Chad, we have been saying it since I was about 2. We say it on bikes, on the hill, everywhere! 

How would you describe your riding style? Flowy, free-rider. 

What would you say is your signature trick? Back-side 180.

Favorite drink of choice to refresh yourself after a long day of riding/shooting? Water.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Pro Snowboarder and an architect. 

Any of your own web pages or social media buttons you want links to? Instagram @merrickrips



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