Living the dream | SierraSun.com

Living the dream

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun

Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra sunTruckee High grad and professional snowboarder Kimmy Fasani was back in town earlier this week.

Like the age-old adage, the sky is the limit for Kimmy Fasani.

The 21-year-old professional snowboarder from Truckee is back in town, “working” with one of her sponsors, Burton, on a developmental program too secret for her to divulge.

She did, however, share her still-developing story of life in the snowboard business.

Graduating from Truckee several months early in January of 2002 ” after tasting her share of success in national competitions riding for the Northstar Snowboard Team ” Fasani went to Mira Costa Community College in Southern California for a semester. She then moved to Mammoth Lakes that August, where she enrolled at Cerro Coso Community College.

There, the 18-year-old found herself at a crossroad in life.

“I still hadn’t developed all the skills I wanted to, and I hadn’t decided where I wanted to go with snowboarding,” Fasani said.

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That uncertainty changed a month later when Fasani placed second in halfpipe at the Junior World Championships in New Zealand, rekindling her aspiration of snowboarding for a living.

“It gave me hope,” she said.

Reassured about her career path, Fasani continued to snowboard while knocking out general education units in summer and fall semesters in pursuit of a degree. But her riding did not progress at the rate she had hoped that year.

“I never did that bad, but I never did that great,” she said of her contest results during the winter of 2002-03. “I was kind of mediocre.”

A painful start to the winter didn’t help.

Riding with friends one day at Mammoth Mountain in December 2002, Fasani crash landed on her posterior on the transition of a large table. She went to the hospital and was told she had pulled her groin and should only compete in halfpipe contests, no slopestyle ” her preferred discipline.

Two days later Fasani drove out to Colorado, where she competed in a halfpipe contest five days after the injury.

“I knew I wasn’t 100 percent, but I was just trying to ignore it. I didn’t want to be a baby,” she said, adding that hiking to the top of the pipe nearly brought tears to her eyes. She thinks she placed 13th.

After three weeks of riding in pain, Fasani returned to the hospital to learn that she had been misdiagnosed. She had actually broken her pelvis in two places, an injury that sidelined her for about three months.

In the winter of 2003-04 Fasani continued to compete in halfpipe contest only, with fair success, as she slowly regained confidence in the wake of her injury.

Last winter Fasani decided to shift her focus back to slopestyle. She also began entering less competitions ” only a couple ” in order to learn more tricks and progress her riding.

The change of pace paid dividends, Fasani said, as she has fully regained confidence in her ability and feels like her snowboarding is more honed than ever. Riding with boyfriend Chris Benchetler, a professional skier, also has been beneficial, she said.

“This past year I’ve become the most comfortable I’ve ever been,” Fasani said. “Riding a lot last year gave me more confidence.”

This winter has been somewhat of a breakout year for Fasani, who placed fifth in slopestyle at the U.S. Open and has performed well in a number of other competitions, despite spraining her ankle during the Vans Cup at Northstar early in March.

“I still have a lot of expectations for myself,” Fasani said. “I get really nervous before competitions, and I think that’s my downfall. I definitely have a lot more goals and things I want to accomplish before I quit.”

Fasani said her goals include making it through an entire season with podium finishes in every contest she enters. She also wants to continuing to progress and become better known in the industry.

“I want to be recognized as one of the top riders,” she said. “The X Games are my No. 1 goal. I’m hoping to get a foot in the door.

“I also want to keep inspiring young kids to get into sports.”

While not being satisfied with her accomplishments, Fasani said she is happy to be where she is.

“It’s almost like a shock, like I can’t believe I’m doing what I am,” she said. “It’s hard to believe that I’m living the dream.”

She said her upbringing in Truckee has been largely responsible for her boundless future in snowboarding.

“I’m so lucky to have grown up in Truckee,” she said. “I’ve had so much support. If I would have grown up in the city I don’t know what I would have done.”

Fasani, who still resides in Mammoth Lakes, earned her associate’s degree from Cerro Coso Community College in December. She had a 4.0 grade point average.