Tahoe Olympian Hannah Teter revitalized by big winter
At the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, 0.25 points separated Hannah Teter and U.S. teammate Kelly Clark in the women’s halfpipe finals. That quarter of a point turned out to be the difference between Teter standing on the Olympic podium for the third time and finishing fourth.
It’s a memory that’s already got the 28-year-old South Lake Tahoe resident targeting a return to the Winter Games in 2018.
While last year could be described as sort of a down year for the six-time X Games medalist, Teter told the Tahoe Daily Tribune — the Sierra Sun’s sister paper on the South Shore — that this winter’s ample snowfall has brought back a passion for snowboarding.
The Tribune caught up with Vermont native, who is competing this week in the X Games, to get a little insight on her approach and all things snowboarding.
Based on your Instagram it looks like winter’s treating you well. How is it going?
“I feel great. Riding all this pow, I feel, makes you way better at halfpipe. When I moved here 10 years ago I was riding so much powder going into the Olympics. It just makes you have so much fun. It kindles your spirit in a way that’s indescribable. It just makes you better at everything else.”
How are you approaching the rest of the season?
“This year’s pretty mellow for contests for me. I’m just approaching it with having fun. It’s an off Olympic year, so it’s not like you have to get too crazy serious on these years. It’s kind of just have a good time and throw down and see what happens. I’m just having a good time, which is nice.”
You’ve been a pro since you were a teenager. Is it still fun?
“It’s still so fun. That’s the reason why I do it. If it wasn’t fun I wouldn’t do it. That’s what’s kept me going for so long. The passion is still there. Who doesn’t love snowboarding? People do it because they love it. Not because they have to do it.”
How has women’s snowboarding changed?
“There’s definitely way more competition now than when I first was on the team. We don’t have it as bad as the guys have it, thank God. They have so many good freaking guys. There’s probably 10 really good girls, so it’s manageable.
“Definitely some … obviously Chloe Kim is just ridiculous, [she’s] definitely the best girl right now. She’s the one to take down. She grew up watching me. She said she got some of her style just watching me growing up. Now I’m kind of watching her and like, “Oh, this is what I’ve got to do now.” It’s funny how it bounces back and forth.
“It just keeps progressing. It’s a whirlwind of fun. Luckily the girls aren’t doing crazy doubles or anything. It’s not like I have to risk my life out there. It’s pretty mellow still for us.”
Two Olympic medals, three Olympic appearances, six X Games medals — do you feel like you have anything left to prove?
“I’m definitely gunning for my fourth Olympics, because I kind of got hosed on the last one. We were all separated by a quarter of a point and they bumped me off the podium. I kind of have some redemption plans for South Korea, and you know, bring my ‘A’ game. I’d like to have three Olympic medals, that’s my goal. I’m just pushing for that.”
Last year was a little bit of a down year for you. You described this year being different; how so?
“You just have to have something fun mixed in with all the competing. Last year I was just doing contests, and there was no snow in Tahoe when I’d go home for the in-between. It was just kind of a downer. I definitely felt the effect of no powder.
“Coming into this year, all I want to do is ride pow and pipe. I’ve been so pumped to get back in the halfpipe because I’ve been scoring glorious days of sparkly pow.”
With all this snow have you had a chance to do get in the backcountry?
“I’d like to get more into backcountry. It’s just hard when you’re on the contest circuit. You don’t really have time for that.”
A lot of athletes don’t really consider it practice or training when they get out. How do you approach the halfpipe?
“I usually have some goals lined up. That always helps me achieve things. If I go in without having a plan, sometimes I just don’t really do anything. I usually have some goals, for sure.”