Feature | Snowboard

Anna Gasser: I have this big wish to do the triple cork in competition

In an Instagram live chat with Olympic Channel, the Big Air Olympic champion revealed the tricks she's working on for Beijing 2022, which riders she's watching out for, and more.

By Olympic Channel ·

Anna Gasser’s plethora of tricks has taken freestyle snowboarding to a whole new level.

In 2017, the Austrian former gymnast won the Big Air title at the World Championships and the Winter X Games slopestyle crown.

The following year, she pipped Jamie Anderson to Big Air gold at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and claimed the Winter X Games title in that discipline.

But her lofty accolades don’t stop there.

The 29-year-old was the first woman to land a Cab Double Cork 900, a Cab Triple Underflip, and a Cab Double Cork 1260.

Check out Gasser’s interview with Olympic Channel where we find out what tricks she is working on for Beijing 2022, which riders she’s watching out for, her opinions on social media, and much more.

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Olympic Channel: You know how to pull out the big tricks when you need to. What tricks are you working on for the season?

Anna Gasser: Of course I still have this big wish to be able to do the triple cork in competition. It didn't work out last season and I've been working on it over the summer. So that would be a big one for me. I would love to try it out and get it in a competition. But other than that, I'm just trying to improve my snowboarding, and all the tricks I've done in training but I've never done in competition. It would be so cool to link a run with all the big tricks and see where it puts me. But I have to say that the young athletes are so amazingly talented so it's going to be hard!

OC: Who are the young athletes that you're watching out for?

AG: There are so many. Of course, all the Japanese riders are amazing. But then Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, the young Kiwi rider, is really good. And Hailey Langland the US rider. Then, Jamie (Anderson), you never can forget Jamie. She's really, really good. There are so many riders that like on such a high level these days that it's always going to be a tight competition.

OC: For a long time you were the hunter, you were the one going after people. But now you're the one who's being hunted. How does that feel?

AG: I for sure like it more to be on the other side. I like to be an underdog because it doesn't feel like that much pressure. I feel a little bit of pressure now, but hopefully I can handle it.

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OC: Looking at social media, how does it make you feel that so many people love you and adore you all around the world?

AG: It makes me feel really special and really thankful for people that support me and that are interested in what I'm doing. I'm very humbled by all of that. It's amazing.

OC: Who are the athletes that have been role models for you as a snowboarder?

AG: When I came in to snowboarding, I have to say it's like this big family. People are so supportive compared to other sports. So it was so amazing to see how they helped me out when I was young, and I hope I can be that person now to younger snowboarders. I hope they know that they can come to me if they need advice or if I can help them out with anything. I was very lucky to have good support when I started.

OC: When you beat Jamie Anderson to the gold medal at PyeongChang 2018, she came out to give you a big hug and congratulate you even though she'd just lost the gold. In your sport are your rivals also your friends?

AG: Yeah and it's real. I feel like we are rivals, but at the same time we're good friends on the outside. If someone deserves it, we're happy for them. If someone does something really sick or really cool, or they just did better, it's really a genuine feeling. If I didn’t land that run, I would have done the same to Jamie. She would have deserved that gold medal too. So it's a really cool thing, and I don't think a lot of sports have that kind of friendship between competitors. I feel lucky to be in a sport where it's such a big family.

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OC: A lot of athletes who get injured lose confidence in their body. You've had quite a few injuries over the years, so has that been the case for you too?

AG: Thankfully I don't have constant pain, so I'm feeling pretty confident. I think you have to feel confident when you do all these big tricks and jumps because as soon as something hurts you, you stop trusting your body.

OC: Travelling the world while looking after your body and mind, what is the biggest challenge for being a professional athlete in your opinion?

AG: It's the spontaneous nature of it. We don't know how long we're going to be away from home. We don't know which country we're going to visit next. So there's a lot of jet lag, a lot of living out of the suitcase and a lot of not knowing what's next. But it's also something I love about this whole lifestyle - that it's so free-minded.

OC: You've previously said that you are quite a chaotic person. Can you elaborate on this?

AG: I forget a lot of things like phone, keys, credit cards and wallets when I'm stressed out and travelling a lot... my mind is somewhere else. And then sometimes I leave something at the airport or a credit card disappears or my phone. I don't know how often I ask my team-mates to call me because I don't know where my phone is! But living out of my suitcase, the longer I am on the road the messier it can get. I always start really well, and then after like a month or two it can get a little messy.

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OC: Your Instagram is very impressive, and every week you're putting up super cool content. How much does social media mean to you?

AG: I think it's a great platform for me to show my fans what I'm doing, a little behind the scenes. Freestyle snowboarding isn't a big mainstream sport, so it's not in the media or on television all the time. It's really cool to show people what I'm doing when there are no competitions. So yeah, I really like it. Newspapers write what they want, and we have some TV shows and interviews, but on social media I can show more of myself.

OC: When it comes to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, how are you preparing differently compared to PyeongChang 2018?

AG: I have to say, when I went to Korea I was really well prepared. My body was one hundred percent and I had my tricks on lock. So if I could go with the same preparation to Beijing, that would already be ideal. But now with the girls riding so well, the tricks I did in Korea wouldn't be enough anymore. So, yeah, I just hope if I have the same good preparation for Beijing, I will be really happy.

OC: Big Air is your speciality event, but are you going to be doing other events in Beijing 2022?

AG: Yes. I think I could actually do better in slopestyle than in Big Air. This is because for slopestyle, you need a little more experience, and I got that experience over the last couple of years. I like the transition features and I like the rail features that are in a slopestyle too. In Big Air, I think there's a lot of young, hungry, really good riders that could do really, really well. So maybe slopestyle could be even better for me in Beijing.

OC: What about the double-double, Olympic gold in slopestyle and Big Air?

AG: You can’t think that far ahead. First, I just have to qualify. I try just to think about that one event. I'm trying to think about the qualification only, because if you think too far ahead so much can happen. The expectations and the pressure for that event is even higher, so it's really good to take it step by step and prepare well but not thinking about everything. So I'm not thinking about winning two golds, but of course it would be a dream. I think a lot of people have the dream, not just me!

OC: Is there anything in your career that you haven't achieved?

AG: I think I'm pretty happy with all the results I have achieved but, of course, I haven't done as well in slopestyle as I have in Big Air. So that would be really cool. For me, the triple (cork) is still on my mind. So that would be a really big achievement to do that in a competition and that would be a dream of mine.

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OC: You've still got a long snowboarding career ahead of you, but have you considered what you will do when you finish?

AG: Ah, I'm trying to not think too far ahead, but I’m pretty sure that Beijing 2022 is going to be my last Games. That doesn't mean that I'm going to stop snowboarding through. I want to do some back country and hopefully some filming projects and also later in life, something creative with people. I don't know what that's going to be yet, but something with filming or photography. All that kind of stuff I really like. We'll see where it all goes.

OC: Why do you think that that Beijing would be your last Games?

AG: Because I want to experience more sides of snowboarding. I've competed now for almost 10 years and I think it would be the perfect time to transition. I think less competitions and more focus on other stuff. Also, so many young girls are coming up. It's hard to compete with them, especially another six years if I think about the next Olympics after Beijing. So I think it would be a good time for me to retire.

I'm also impatient because I always want to go pretty fast, so maybe when I'm done snowboarding I could be a good coach.