Kassie McGonegal - Snowboard/Wakeboard/Climber - Portland, Oregon, USA



Follow Kassie on Facebook:  Kassondra Marie McGonegal and on Instagram at: dirt_barbie and Twitter: @skinny_birds

Your Age: 23

Your Location: Portland, OR (Utah Native)

Weapon(s) of choice: Trail running shoes. Climbing essential: shoes, harness, hardware. Skis/Snowboard. Wakeboard. Kayak. Mountain/Road bike. Just to name a few.

What’s an average day for you like? Seize the day at an early hour, get into nature, depending on the time of year- go for a run/ride, catch the glass on the lake, or hunt some powder for breakfast,  try to work for a few hours, then decide how I want to finish out my day out with an evening climb or ride. 

What is the most difficult part of your activity/sports for a beginner? The easiest? With any of my sports, I would say the most difficult is finding the time. The only way you improve is by doing it. Everyone must prove themselves by fighting through the learning curve. The easiest- everyone is usually pretty stoked for each other, the culture is supportive and helpful.

What is the best and worst thing about being female in your sport?  Women aren’t expected to be great. Maxing out at meritocracy is expected to be the quitting line for improvement. 

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 females pushing each other. It’s okay to be “one with the boys”, but invite your sisters to gain experience as well. 

Besides your ability and style factor as an athlete, how would you describe your personal style? Beach Bum Chic. 

What are your favorite brands/designers for your sports apparel and for stepping out? Sports Apparel- I love Prana and Patagonia clothing. Zoot Sports is epic  for running and biking. Hyperlite and Roxy for any boating excursion. For Stepping out I am a tank top and shorts kind of girl. (Apply SheShreds to any of the above categories) 

Let’s hear your thoughts on how important looking good is to feeling good. “Being” your personal best? I believe that appearance is your first impression to the world but it isn’t everything. I like to look cute, as I am sure every girl does. Being my personal best includes doing my hair. Just because a girl likes to wear a little make up and pedicure her toes doesn’t mean she is incapable of being an incredible athlete. Do and wear whatever makes you most comfortable.  

How dangerous do you really think it is compared to what people do in their regular activities? Compared to the general public’s regular activities, I would say it’s minimally 30% more dangerous. 

I bet in your experience you have seen some crazy crashes. Describe one. One that is forever imbedded into my mind- Skiing with my little brother. He launched off a kicker, over rotated. He landed on his feet, fortunately. Unfortunately, he whipped his face into his knees. He kept skiing. As the crew caught up to him, he said how he couldn’t feel his chin. . . His entire lower lip and chin skin was hanging off his jaw bone. Gross.  He had to have his chin stitched inside of his mouth to his lower gums. It was pretty gnarly.

What usually gets people hooked on your activity/sport? The feeling of freedom. Whether I just had the deepest powder ride of my life, or summited a mountain, it is the same feeling. The world stops for that very moment in time and you discover who you are and how much this beautiful world has to offer. Nothing else matters; no expectation or pressure, only balance and homeostasis. You found your place in the world. When it’s over, you can’t wait to chase that feeling again. 

Do you own any other toys?  I own a pretty sweet Ford Escape. She gets me from point A to point B.

What are three things you could not live without?  Beautiful, untouched places. Water. Love.

What are your expectations for this activity/sport?  For more women to discover them. For more women to thrive in them.

Who have been your biggest supporters in getting you to where you are now? My parents and God.  My mom is my support. She never lets me fall. My dad is my push. He never lets me stop. He raised me to know that I can do anything, that the only person stopping me is me. God, without Him there would be no beauty in the world.

Who’s your favorite rider/shooter (photo/video)?  Rider- the late Sarah Burke is an idol of mine. Jake Nelson Photography, of course!

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not riding/shooting/competing? I enjoy painting, doing yoga, reading, sun bathing on the beach, being with friends.

 How about in the off season to stay in shape?  There is no off season.

What is your biggest goal to accomplish this/next season?  To be able to lead climb a 5.12.

What do you do to prep for a competition? Meditation, Self-visualization.

What competitions and other awards have you won? Include your non sports accomplishments also. I graduated with athletic honors from BYU-H in cross country. I have won the X Duro National Championship 21k trail run, the Ogden Half Harathon, the Farmington Half Marathon (twice), Willard Bay Triathlon, along with other community races. 

What’s your favorite “way” to ride? As far as wake boarding- boat. It all I really know. Snow sports- back country anytime it is available. 

Favorite conditions?  Wake Sports- early moring or late evening glass. Snow sports- waist deep dry, fluffy, Utah powder. 

Where would be your biggest dream place to ride and why? I was able to wake board in Hawaii. That was the dream. Hawaii has a magic to it. Everything is surreal and spirited by aloha.  I would like to ski/board in the Alps, just because I hear it is amazing. I would like to climb in Thailand purely for the views. 

What song(s) do you listen to while riding that puts you in the zone? I enjoy anything from Matisyahu to Lumineers. Nothing with too much bass. There is a time and a place for that.

What turned you on to your sport? Skiing/Boarding/Biking- my family has always been into, so I sort of fell into it by default and fell in love with it. I have always felt at home in the water and in the mountains. Climbing is the hardest thing I have ever done. I love it because it is a challenge. It tests me physically and emotionally. Same goes for running.

If extreme/action sports didn’t exist, what would you be doing with all the free time you’d have? Painting, or writing. Maybe farming. Or working. I don’t like thinking about it.

What’s your favorite board/bike/sled to ride and why? Hyperlite Blur because it has minimal fins, easy to maneuver.  Burton Feather is my snowboard of choice, great everywhere board. I ride a Trek mountain bike and a Scott Speedster 50 road bike, because they are light and those are my preferences.  

What’s the trick to riding features and not killing yourself? I prefer to be a backcountry skier. Through experience I have learned there is no trick to not killing yourself riding features. A broken shoulder and torn knee later- features won the war.

Favorite drink of choice to refresh yourself after a long day of riding/shooting?  I love ice cold pink lemonade.

What do you want to be when you grow up?  I want to be an athlete and an artist, hopefully influencing people to be more.