Colorado native Meg Olenick started skiing when she was two years old, and she now has one of the strongest rail games in the women’s circuit. Her smooth slopestyle runs landed her on the podium at The Aspen Open at age 17, earned her a spot on the U.S. Freeskiing team after graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and enabled her to set her sights set on the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. We had the chance to chat with her, and here’s what she had to say!
When and where did you learn to ski? Buttermilk Mountain when I was two years old.
Did you snowboard at all, or stick with skiing from the start? I snowboarded one weekend when I was about 10 and both of my older brothers told me that if I became a snowboarder they would never talk to me again. That was the end of my snowboard career.
When did you realize you wanted to start skiing park, and how long was it before you realized you wanted to compete? I grew up being the youngest sibling to two older brothers; therefore I just followed in their footsteps. They began learning tricks and I was right behind them. They took me to my first contest when I was 14 and I didn’t love it right off the bat, but the more people I met, made me enjoy competing more and more.
What was it like growing up with pro skiers in the family? Do you and your brothers still ski together for fun? It was amazing, we all were able to travel the world together, and for me the biggest benefit was knowing they were always there for me. The first contest I went to without my brothers was stressful; I didn’t have someone to go to for advice or guidance. Also our parents try to make it to every contest, they have been supportive through all of our ups and downs. The days I get to ski with both of my brothers now are my favorite days of the year; it’s just like it was when we were growing up.
Which athletes did you admire most growing up, and who do you look up to now? When I was growing up I looked up to Sarah Burke and Grete Eliassen on the female side and then Chris Turpin, JP Auclair and TJ Schiller on the male side. These days I look up to Michelle Parker probably the most because of her all around attitude in life and hard work. She has been knocked down many of times and every time she gets up stronger and with more fight in her eyes.
What’s been your most memorable moment in skiing so far? I would have to say winning my first contest in 2006. It was the Aspen Open and not only did I win but I also landed my first 900 on my last run. To top off the perfect day my oldest brother Peter also won the slopestyle contest that same day.
What’s the worst injury you’ve ever had and how did it happen? Oh man, where do I begin? I have been through four ACL surgeries on my knees but would have to say the last one was the worst. I was at a contest and in my first qualifying run I landed a little backseat on a 720 and POP! I tore my ACL, my lateral meniscus and had to have a large mircofracture, which is when they go and hammer little holes into your bone to create cartilage re-growth. I was on crutches for 9 weeks non-weight bearing, I had to have a second surgery to clean out scar tissue and more torn meniscus and injections have become my new best friend. It has taken me 18 months to be able to hit jumps and rails again and to feel semi-normal.
What’s the most interesting or unique park you’ve skied so far and why? I would have to say Big Bear, California. The entire mountain is a park and there are features everywhere. It’s also in Cali so it’s warm, which is a nice plus coming from frigid Colorado.
Where haven’t you skied but you’ve been dying to check out? Chatter Creek in the Canadian Rockies. I love skiing park but powder is just an addicting feeling.
What’s your training regimen like? Do you try to stay on snow year round, or do you switch to other sports to stay fit in the summer? I spend 5 days a week in the gym all year round. The summer is more about pushing heavy weights and building muscle mass and the winter is just about recovery and maintenance. I take time off of snow a bit in the summer and fall because I don’t want to get burnt out and I just love summer time. When I am taking time off I try to spend as much time as I can on my road bike and hiking.
In just a few sentences, what does the road to Sochi look like? The road to Sochi is fast paced. I look at my calendar and it can stress me out a little; training camps, fitness camps and contests back to back. Although, with the stress also comes a lot of excitement. This is an exciting time for all winter athletes and I am honored to be apart of all of it.
Who are some of your favorite people to follow on Instagram? Jen Hudak (@jenhudak) Michelle Parker (@myshellparker) Maude Raymond (@maadmaude) Rory Bushfield (@bushywayne) and Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy)
What 10 songs to have you been listening to while hitting to slopes or training lately? Out of My Mind – B.O.B., Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore, Love on Top – Beyonce, Call Me Maybe remix – Ben Howard, I Will Wait – Mumford and Sons, Fitzpleasure –Alt-J, Luckiest Man – The Wood Brothers, Respect – Aretha Franklin, Blind to Me – SonReal, Gun Shot – Nicki Minaj
Rapid fire! What is…
- your all-time favorite ski film? The Game by PBP
- your go-to breakfast before a big day on the slopes? Love Grown Food’s peach oatmeal bowl.
- your go-to meal after an intense competition? Turkey Ruben and curly fries from my dads diner.
- your preferred hot sauce, Cholula or Tapatio? Cholula
- your go-to après drink after a long day on the slopes? Chai
- your favorite run or mountain? Aspen Mountain
- your favorite thing to do for fun, outside of skiing? Anything with friends
- your guiltiest indulgence? Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
Have any more questions for Meg? Share them in the comments below or tweet at her, @themegamo!