Ty Walker is teenage girl who suffers the same problem as all teenagers, balancing school, work, and fun all while dealing with the pressure of college and that big thing we call life. The only difference between her and most teenagers is that her job is being a professional snowboarder. Plus, very few people, let alone kids her age, can say they’ve competed in the Olympics. ClapwayTV couldn’t pass up the chance to interview such a bright young star.
1. What’s your favorite mountain? What does it offer that you don’t find elsewhere?
I really love Stowe Mountain actually because it’s what’s home for me; it may not be the best for training, but whenever I go there to ride, it’s just a special feeling. Also, Breckenridge always has the best parks; I train there and it’s great because every morning you wake up and everything’s perfect. And then there’s Laax in Switzerland: I’ve had the best trips when I go there, so tons of great memories associated with the mountain, it’s gorgeous— it’s the Alps, it’s incredible.
I love these mountains for different reasons, but I appreciate wherever it is I go. I take it for what it’s worth.
2. What’s your favorite brand of maple syrup?
This is pretty funny, I was raised in New York until I was 10 years old, so I’m an Aunt Jemima person. I have a friend, Benjie who’s from Vermont and also a snowboarder, and he’ll travel with Vermont maple syrup. I’m from Vermont, and I think everybody expects me to be the same way about maple syrup, but I say, give me the fake stuff.
3. What’s your favorite kind of pie?
It depend what kind of mood I’m in but chocolate cream pie or banana cream pie, especially when it has graham cracker crust.
4. Would you ever put maple syrup on a pie?
No! I’m pretty specific. With maple syrup, most of the time I don’t even put it on my waffles unless there’s no other toppings I can put on them. For a Vermonter, I’m kind of against the grain, I think.
5. What’s your favorite trick?
When I was young, my favorite trick was a back 5 (backside 540), and I love them. Then I learned back 7’s (backside 720), and I really struggled with them. Then I went snowboarding for 2 weeks at Whistler this summer, and I relearned them, and they were so much fun to do again, so I think that’s back on top for favorite trick.
6. I know your still young with a lot in life still ahead of you, but what is your greatest achievement in life?
In Life? That’s pretty tough! I think it’s making the Olympic Team and being able to compete in Sochi, that was my goal since I first strapped on a snowboard, so to make that happen in the end was really special to me.
7. If you could choose a super power, which would you choose: flight or invisibility?
Between flight and invisibility, flight would definitely be #1, but recently I want to just teleport. Have you ever seen the movie, Jumper? He just thinks of a place and he just goes there. That would be my #1 pick because then I could snowboard all day and then just jump home.
8. What’s your favorite park feature? Do you go for the big jumps or are rails more your thing?
Jumps are always my favorite; I love jumps. If it’s a nice hip, I’ll session that, but I really like jumps, the big jumps. I’m not much of a rail rider.
9. Are you still a Long Islander or are you a Vermonter through and through now?
I like to think that I’m a Vermonter now, but I definitely still have some New York habits like the maple syrup thing and I talk a lot. You know, as far as the whole personality goes‑Vermont: more laid back, snowboarding, the mountain stuff, doing everything outdoors‑that’s definitely more of the Vermont in me.
10. Where would you like to travel to that you haven’t been yet?
Australia! I almost went there this summer, but I didn’t end up needing to go to those events there and I’m studying for the SATs so I wasn’t going to take the trip if I didn’t have to. Also Hawaii—these are all non snow places I realize. Of course the top place I want to go is PyeongChang, South Korea, and I think in about 4 years I’ll be able to do it. [She laughs at her own wit, and I of course don’t get the joke until she explains that this is where the 2018 Winter Olympic games will be.]
It’s funny, whenever somebody would ask me that question before Sochi—“Where would you want to go that you haven’t been yet?”—I’d say, Sochi, Russia, but I don’t want to go for 6 months from now or a year from now or however far away the Olympics were.
11. Now that you were part of the USA Olympic team, what’s the next goal, the next step?
Definitely PyeongChang is the next step. When there’s not the Olympics, other Olympic sports tone down, but we have a tour that’s separate from the Olympics every year, so I’ll be back on that tour starting this winter. For the next 2 seasons I’ll do that, and then I’ll get back to qualifying for the Olympics, then have the Olympic season again.
I’d really like to get a medal at the next one. I want to do better than I did in Sochi, I definitely wish I made finals, but I ended up getting hurt, which was tough. I missed all of practice and they had to inject Novocain in my foot for the event. I couldn’t feel anything from my shin down.
12. Was it tough to perform with a numb leg?
Well, it becomes less of what you’re feeling in the moment, and more about muscle memory. You’re riding down the course, and you don’t think necessarily about it. It’s just how you snowboard, and it’s so engrained in your mind that you just do it. But there was no sensation at all so certain things that were specific to the course, you’d say to yourself, “Ummm?” I mean, I made it work, I landed a run that I was really happy about. Obviously, I was just happy to land a run because I missed practice. I watched Jamie (Jamie Anderson) and Sage (Sage Kotsenburg), who both won their events, and it definitely inspired me; that’s what I want going down the road.
13. Any goals for way in the future?
I’m studying for the SATs and I definitely want to go to college next year. A couple of schools work on a quarter system so I could take the winter off and still ride. Right now, I’d like to be a surgeon, but that’s tough with school for someone who is taking time off to be a professional snowboarder, but we’ll have to see how Pre-Med goes while trying to go to the Olympics at the same time.
14. What do you do when you’re not snowboarding?
It changes, but I’m always doing schoolwork when I’m not snowboarding because I’m always falling so far behind. Right now, I’m home until October. I go to the gym a lot. I have an SAT class that I’m taking. Hanging out with my family, my friends, and my boyfriend. I guess normal stuff, but stuff I definitely fall behind on. I feel like most athletes have a more interesting answer to that because they live a crazy lifestyle, but I’m still a kid so I have to take my SAT class and other boring stuff.
15. If you had to pick some other passion to pursue and compete in other than snowboarding, which would it be?
If I didn’t snowboard, I’d be a lot more invested in school; I would pursue something academically. I wish I could play an instrument well or sing. I have a ukulele. I play it, and I can play some songs, but I wish I was talented at it. I love music, so I wish I could do something with it, but I’m awful. If I had to choose another sport, it’d be surfing or beach volleyball or something like that where I’m cruising in Hawaii.
16. Have you ever surfed?
No I haven’t. I really want to go. Everybody talks about it. Everybody in snowboarding goes surfing a lot, and I’m just this person who will never go on a surfing trip because I’ll be embarrassed.
17. You have to solve a murder mystery. You have a choice between a haunted house and an abandoned factory, which do you choose?
Can I just quit my job? My parents are in Mexico this week and it’s just my sister here, and my sister is into all these crime scene murder shows. Last night we watched this show, The Following, about this guy who goes into girls’ houses, who are teenage college age, and kills them. A serial killer. I watch an episode and a half and say, I’m out, I’m going to bed. I go to my room and my sister, Haley, goes to hers. The dogs been barking all night, and she usually only barks when there’s something outside; she’s barking and I’m already fidgety from watching the show, and then we both here this loud BANG. I asked my sister if she was okay and she told me it wasn’t her. It came from downstairs. I thought that we were both going to shanked right then, that this guy from the show was at our house. But it was a painting where the hook had broken and fell. I was still freaked out and so I slept with the door locked. I’m sorry that I had to go through that long story, but that’s why I’d quit that job.
18. How do you define Adventure?
Any new experience that takes you out of your comfort zone. Something that you’re not used to or excited to try. I like to go on hikes, so something like that. If I go to a new place, that’s an adventure to me.
My hikes are nothing too extreme nowadays, just the basic local Stowe ones: the Pinnacle, Sterling pond, and Nebraska valley. When I was 11, my family hired a private coach for my snowboarding. Every single year before the season started, he made me hike Mt. Mansfield. He picked me up for school for training—half day, every day. I’d have my backpack with all my books in it and he’d strap my snowboard to it. We’d hike from the midway up to the top of Mansfield. He’d tell me that that’s how I’d earn my pass for the season; you’re going to take a lap without the lifts and then you can ride the lifts for the rest of the year. Every year he made my time I had to do it in so much faster than the year before. The first year I did it in around 2 hours. Then the next year, he told me I’d beat that by 15 minutes; then the next year, same thing again. The first time I did it, my mom told me when she got home she saw me with my snow pants on , all my gear still on, the only thing I took off was my jacket and I was sleeping on my jacket.
A professional snowboarder who wants to be a surgeon; Ty certainly has a full plate. However, after talking with her I am sure that if anybody can do it, she can. Everybody here at ClapwayTV is rooting for Ty to go gold at the next Winter Olympics.
To learn from one of the best, check out these 7 Tips from Ty.
Photo Courtesy of www.jesseschloffphotography.com