Emily Lonkhurst - Snowboarder/Mountain Biker (AK)

 


Your Age: 22

Your Location: Alyeska Resort, Alaska

Weapon(s) of choice: Snowboard, Mountain Bike

What’s an average day for you like? I typically work short, but exhausting days. Alyeska Resort doesn't open until 10:30 in the morning due to the minimal daylight we have here in the winter. I will teach 2-3 lessons a day depending on how busy the resort is. I teach anything from never evers on the magic carpet to advanced riders taking on the whole mountain. Some days I get to help lead training and clinics for other instructors which I really enjoy.
My summer schedule has been different every year. I typically work guiding jobs that involve hiking, rafting, and biking. My summer days are usually much longer work-wise. I recently started helping out at the Alyeska Bike Park as a downhill instructor and it is super fun!

What is the most difficult part of your activity/sports for a beginner? Getting past the first three snowboard lessons is brutal. There is a lot of new information and a lot of initial falling. The easiest part is getting outside with a smile on your face and being stoked to be there. As cheesy as it sounds, snowboarding is a fun and playful sport and isn’t meant to be taken too seriously! Mountain biking (especially downhill) is very intimidating at first. It takes time to get comfortable and learn to trust your bike, but once that happens, you’re hooked! The easiest part is that most of us know how to ride a bike already, so you don’t have to spend ages learning the very basics and can jump right into the good stuff!

What is the best and worst thing about being female in your sport? The best part about being a female shredder is that since it is much less common, it is even more rewarding when you can get a group of ladies together to ride and cheer each other on. It is such a friendly world and most women are very supportive of each other. The worst thing is probably finding those other women to ride with. I absolutely love hitting the slopes and trails with my guy friends, they have taught me so much, but it is pretty empowering to get out with other females.

What would you like to see change in your sport to make it better for you and other female athletes? I wish there were more programs and inviting ways to get younger girls into extreme sports competition. I never had the opportunity to compete when I was younger and it is pretty intimidating to start in my twenties. The more female role models we have to look up to, the better!

Besides your ability and style factor as an athlete, how would you describe your personal style? I would say my style is pretty laid back. I basically wear beanies all the time. However, I do find myself wanting to throw on a dress or something feminine after playing in the snow and mud all day! I like having that balance.

What are your favorite brands/designers for your sports apparel and for stepping out? I really love Oakley, Burton, and SheShreds apparel. My snowboard jacket is Oakley, my pants are Burton and my boots are Nitro. I usually rock a SheShreds hoodie or t-shirt under all my gear at least a couple times a week. My mountain bike gear is a bit all over the place but the brands I currently rock are Oakley, Fox, Demon, and Endura. Both my snowboard and bike goggles are Oakley, I love them!

Let’s hear your thoughts on how important looking good is to feeling good. “Being” your personal best? There is something huge to be said about that! If you look good and feel good, most of the time it reflects in your riding. Snowboarding and mountain biking are very mentally challenging sports and confidence is the key to success and progression. Believing in yourself becomes a lot easier when you dress the part.

How dangerous do you really think it is compared to what people do in their regular activities? It depends on how hard you want to ride! If you are throwing big tricks and sending it off cliffs all day, it is significantly more dangerous than most other activities. If you are just taking it easy on the hill and being conservative, then the risk is much lower. I have to say, the rock and dirt landings while mountain biking are not very forgiving…at all!

I bet in your experience you have seen some crazy crashes. Describe one. My worst crash I ever had on a snowboard was when I was cruising down a hill at high speed to prepare for a long cat track and I hit a death cookie (ice ball) and it threw me up in the air. I landed on my upper back (almost neck) and proceeded to backflip out of control down the slope at least 6 times in a row before I was able to dig in my edges to stop the flipping. When I turned around I had ended up in a ditch right in front of a massive tree! I dislocated my shoulder and was covered in bruises for Prom...oops!
Mountain bike crashes can be super scary and it’s almost impossible to come out of one without some cuts and bruises.

What usually gets people hooked on your activity/sport? Gravity is fun!

What is your favorite trick? I love jumps and drops no matter the sport! It is all new on a bike, but it’s awesome. On a snowboard I really love 360s and switch riding as well. It all depends on the day, I am always working on something new and tend to become obsessed with every new challenge.

Do you own any other toys? I have two snowboards (K2 and NeverSummer), a Specialized Enduro mountain bike, K2 skis, and recently got my first skateboard!

What gets you pumped up for the day? Music and good friends never fail to pump me up! When you find the people who make you push yourself and giggle like a little kid when you ride with them, never let them go!

What are three things you could not live without? I couldn’t live without mountains, good friends, and sleep. I am very thankful for coffee.

What are your expectations for this activity/sport? I think snowboarding and biking should always be fun. If not, you’re doing something wrong. I want to learn something new and take a step forward every time I hit the trails or slopes.

Who have been your biggest supporters in getting you to where you are now? My family has always supported my riding. They got me the lessons, the season passes, paid the hospital bills, and always were there to motivate me when I didn’t feel my best!

Who’s your favorite rider/shooter? I am totally inspired by Jamie Anderson and Silje Norendal. I love following them on Instagram and keeping up with the lifestyle of a pro snowboarder. She seems very down to earth. Nobody is cooler than Rachel Atherton (pro downhill mountain biker) though! She should be an inspiration to any female in extreme sports, she dominates.

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not riding/shooting/competing? In my free time I love to chill out with friends over a couple beers, travel to new places when I can and I have gotten more into painting lately.

How about in the off season to stay in shape? I enjoy cross country mountain biking and hiking for cardio and usually hit the climbing gym to keep up my strength.

What is your biggest goal to accomplish this/next season? My goal is to get my level 3 AASI certification for snowboarding. I got half of it last season and would love to finish it off this year. My biking goal is to hit a specific drop on A-line at Whistler next summer!

What do you do to prep for a competition? I don't compete, but I do train for certifications and have exam days that are pretty intense. The best thing you can do is train really hard and have a support system of people you can count on for the tough days.

What competitions and other awards have you won? I have my Level 2.5 AASI snowboard cert. and I am trying to finish off my Level 3 this season. I also have my Level 1 PSIA alpine cert. I placed in a local racing league in the top division last year which was pretty cool, but it was just for fun!

What’s your favorite “way” to ride? I would say I am mainly a freeride type of rider but for the past two seasons I’ve been trying to learn a lot more freestyle and I’ve really enjoyed it! I would describe my style as playful. I love jumping off of anything I can find! On my bike I adore flow trails and little jumps or climbing to earn an incredible view.

Favorite conditions? Nothing beats a bluebird powder day on a snowboard. I love overcast weather and dry trails while biking.

Where would be your biggest dream place to ride and why? Japan because we all know they call it JaPOW for a reason I would love to experience the culture and do some amazing powder runs. On my bike I think that Whistler is basically heaven on earth but would love to check out Moab someday for something new!

What song(s) do you listen to while riding that puts you in the zone? I love ODESZA, Flume, The Black Keys, Metallica, and Avicii. I will pretty much listen to any type of music when I ride though, just depends on my mood!

What turned you on to your sport? I was tired of skiing and I thought that snowboarding looked cool. I decided to switch things up and just go for it. I honestly didn’t even like snowboarding that much for the first couple years and then it totally grew on me and I’m in love.
A good friend of mine introduced me to biking and I loved it instantly. The challenges it presented were addicting and I loved pushing myself and setting goals. The downhill adrenaline is very similar to snowboarding so I get to shred all year long!

Any new moves you’re working on? I am working on my front and backside 360’s on bigger jumps and riding rails.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done in your sport? I got to go up and snowboard on the Zugspitze Glacier a day before season opening for a promotional video earlier this season. We got up there as the sun was rising and were shuttled by snow machines At the end of it all we were treated to a traditional Bavarian breakfast. It was awesome. I think traveling the US with my mountain bike and living in a van was truly living the dream. I got to explore trails and experience so many different places it was amazing! I did a similar trip through Austria, Slovenia and Croatia too.

What other extreme/action sports are you into? Other than biking and snowboarding, I love to rock climb, play soccer and I am very new to skateboarding!

If extreme/action sports didn’t exist, what would you be doing with all the free time you’d have? I would probably paint and create things all the time!

What’s your favorite board/bike/sled to ride and why? My favorite board is a rocker camber these days. I love a small, flexible and playful boards that I can still trust on ice. I ride a NeverSummer Infinity (rocker camber) and a K2 flat camber board.
I just got my first full suspension mountain bike and I’m in love. It is a Specialized Enduro and I have taken it to bike parks all over the world and it was incredible. I have also taken the bike on long uphill cross country climbs and it never felt too heavy!

What’s the trick to riding and not hurting yourself? Having a plan of action. Know your abilities and don’t put yourself in a situation that is too big for you. The worst things happen when you don’t think things through at all and just go off of something blind.

How would you describe your style? I am a very laid back rider. I love to go out and have a good time with friends, try new tricks, find natural features and go fast.

What would you say is your signature move? I love doing layouts on the flats. I also pop backside 180s constantly.

Favorite drink of choice to refresh yourself after a long day of riding? ...does beer count?

What do you want to be when you "grow up"? I would love to incorporate my passion for snowboarding into a career. I am currently getting a business degree and I am totally inspired by SheShreds as a company and what they are doing to inspire ladies all over the world. It would be super fun to run an adventure hostel or camp somewhere in the Alps!

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