Jamie Anderson’s Career Is Soaring
At just 18 years of age, professional snowboarder Jamie Anderson is at the top of her game. Both TransWorld SNOWboarding and Snowboarder Magazine, arguably the two biggest publications in the industry, recently named the South Lake Tahoe native Top Female Snowboarder of the Year. She is currently sitting pretty atop both the Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour and the Burton Global Open Series, and has some of the biggest companies in the game such as Billabong, DVS, Electric and Grenade backing her every step of the way. As if traveling the world and winning huge competitions weren’t enough, Anderson has also been filming for an all-female movie entitled Stance, due this fall.
With all the recognition and fame coming at such a young age, you might think that some of it would’ve made its way to Anderson’s head. Such could not be further from the case. Humbled and polite, Anderson, who will host the Billabong Flaunt It Girls Only Slopestyle & Rail Jam at Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort on March 15, was nice enough to take some time out of her busy schedule and chat with Submerge. Read on to learn about her recent success, overcoming a nasty injury and her rockstar-like lifestyle.
How are you? Who was that that answered the phone?
[Laughs] I’m good. I’m just watching my niece and she loves to answer the phone.
Aw, that’s cute. Are you back in Tahoe? How is everything going?
Yeah, everything’s good. I got hurt a few weeks ago, so after X Games and my Vegas trip I just came home and started doing a bunch of rehab and swimming and seeing my chiropractors and stuff.
Yeah I read about that online. What happened? Was it something with your hip?
Yeah, it happened in qualifiers at the European Open. I just fell really hard in the pipe and didn’t really know what it was. I was freaking out, though, because it hurt really bad, I couldn’t put pressure on my whole left leg. I went to the hospital and got X-rays and they said that everything was fine. They said it was just muscles and everything would be OK in like two weeks. So I didn’t get to ride there [European Open], I just hung out. Then I went to X Games thinking I would maybe be OK to ride, because it was a week-and-a-half later. I still definitely wasn’t that good. I tried to ride but figured I wasn’t strong enough. So I came home and my other doctor said, “Maybe we should do more X-rays just to be sure.” I was like, “I’m pretty sure nothing is broken, I’ve already had X-rays.”
Turns out it was my pelvis, like on the inside of my hip. I fractured it; it was fractured that whole time.
Good thing you got those second X-rays. Is it still fractured right now?
Yeah, when I got X-rays again it was already three weeks in, and he said it takes three to six weeks to heal. I’m almost at five weeks now.
That’s good because it’s been dumping snow up there, right? Must be tough to sit and watch it come down like that and not ride.
Yeah. For a while it was, then I was like, “I’m just going to go!” I’ve been riding a little bit the last few days.
Congrats on being named the Top Female Snowboarder of the Year by two of the biggest snowboard magazines in the world. How was the award show? Is it like the Grammys where they call your name and you have to give a speech and shit?
Thanks! Yeah kind of, but it’s just the snowboard industry, you know? They do it in Vegas at the Hard Rock. I knew I was nominated, so I was already super scared.
What was your reaction when they called your name?
Well they waited ’til the end and I was so nervous just sitting with all my girlfriends. Everyone the whole week was like, “You’re going to win!” I was telling them, “Don’t jinx it!”
Every other time I’ve been nominated I got all nervous thinking about giving a speech in front of everyone. Then they said it and I was freaking out. The whole night I was so nervous I didn’t want to go up on stage in front of everyone and say anything, but it actually went good. It was so scary though.
Could you give me a rundown of the comps and events you’ve been in lately? How are you doing as far as standings go?
Miraculously I’m still on top of both of the world tours, the Burton Global Series and the Swatch TTR. I think it’s only because this summer I went down to New Zealand and Australia and did both the opens and won them both.
So you were able to get a lot of points right off the bat?
Yeah, thank God, because I’ve been missing some of the biggest contests already this year.
Because of the aforementioned hip injury?
Yeah. Well, the first Dew Tour stop I didn’t do too well. I fell. I think I got like fourth place. The second one in Vermont, I won, and then we went straight from there to the European Open and that’s where I got hurt. Right after that was X Games and the Canadian Open. So I missed those.
That sucks because people seem to focus a lot on X Games. How bummed were you to not compete?
It was hard to stay positive, but really there was nothing I could do. All my sponsors were really supportive of it. I practiced for one or two days, but wasn’t really hitting the jumps. They were like, “You know if you don’t feel strong don’t hurt yourself worse.”
At this point I didn’t know that it was fractured. Everyone I was seeing was saying it was all muscle stuff, so I thought, “If I’m going to be sore that’s one thing, but if I’m going to make it worse, that’s another thing.” It was definitely pretty hard, especially watching finals. I kept thinking, “I need to be up there!”
With so much going on all the time, contests then filming then more contests, is it hard to stay focused? What would you say your main focus is?
I feel like this year has been so crazy. Trying to do both world tours, and this year is an Olympic year so I have to do world cups and certain pipe events that I don’t usually do, and then I’m also trying to film a video part with this all-girls crew [for Stance]. I don’t even really know what my focus is; it’s all over the place.
How do you transition from contest mode to filming mode?
It’s way different. You’re in competition with yourself, and it’s so much harder because you get the shot or whatever and you think, “Oh, I could have held my grab longer!”
I know a lot of my girlfriends really like filming, but I’m not a fan. I think it’s really cool to have a video part at the end of the year, but all the work for it is so hard.
Yeah, weeks and weeks of work for what, a few-minute clip?
Yeah not even, if you get a two-minute part that is good, that’s like average.
You work a lot. Do you ever take a break?
It was kind of like a blessing in disguise that I got hurt. I was so tired. That one trip we went from Colorado to Vermont, Europe, then X Games and then straight to Vegas. Everywhere we were was only for like five nights, just moving around so much, always riding and different time zones.
Sounds like a rockstar lifestyle.
Kind of, it’s gnarly for sure. It definitely takes a toll on your body with all the airplane rides and stuff.
What would you say to any young female riders out there aspiring to snowboard at the professional level?
Just make sure you have fun. When I was young, I just really loved snowboarding, I don’t think I was like, “Oh, I’ve got to be a pro snowboarder!” I know a lot of people think like that, then they’re upset if it doesn’t turn out [the way] they want it. Just have fun, do what you love, learn some new stuff and it will come to you. I never in a million years thought I would be where I am now; I thought I would be in college or something [laughs].