Record breaker, history maker, Anna Gasser’s awesome snowboard story begins without a snowboard.
At 17 the gymnast had to convince her parents to allow her follow her snowboard dreams, by 18 she was already competing and now eight years later she’s a Big Air world champion, X-Games champion, US Open champion, 2x FIS World Cup winner, oh and she’s just topped the qualifying for the Big Air final in PyeongChang set to take place on Friday February 23.
In a sport where younger snowboarders and early starters – think 17-year-old Chloe Kim, who won the women’s snowboard Halfpipe gold medal at PyeongChang, 2018 or Slopestyle sensation Red Gerard, another gold medal winner at just 17 – are starting to run the show it puts what Anna Gasser has done into perspective: An achievement bordering on the impossible.
She may have come late to the party but now she’s the one dancing on tables: so how did Gasser get so far so fast and why does it always seem like she’s just cruising?
The Austrian’s teen dreams went viral with a video showing her landing a cab double cork 900 back in 2013 – the first woman ever to do so – and it fast-tracked everything:
“That really changed my life a lot by providing me my first sponsorship contracts. And then, from one day to the other, snowboarding turned from just being my hobby and passion into my job. If I compare the situation from 3, 4 years ago to now, that is still really unreal for me.” – Anna Gasser
Anna’s fearlessness in full flight comes in part from her gymnastics training. It all started at the Spittal gymnastics club in Austria where she learned to be comfortable suspended in the air and how to hold different postures and positions at different heights, building up valuable muscle memory and learning implicitly what ski and snowboard pros call ‘air awareness’.
Taking all those transferable skills with her from the skip rope to the snowboard slope, she’s trampolined to the top of the Big Air final at the 2018 Olympics leading a stellar list of 12 contenders. But while it hasn’t been an easy ride, Gasser has found her true passion and combined it with desire, determination, and hard work:
“Snowboarding is definitely my passion – it’s hard to describe. It just gives me a feeling of freedom. If I’m snowboarding, it’s a place where I don’t think about anything, where I can just turn everything off. If you do something where you can do this, that’s something special. I started really late at the age of 18. You usually don’t start a new sport at that age and fight yourself to the top of the world.” – Anna Gasser
Snowboard Big Air’s debut Olympics already has a superstar and she’s out to complete the narrative with a golden flourish: “With the Olympics I still have a very big goal.”
Considered the favorite by many for gold, Gasser was the only rider to land a cab double cork 1080 in qualifying with a top score of 98.0. Watching her in practice, it’s difficult to doubt her cruising to the top of the podium on Friday: