It’s March 2015 and we’re in the Czech resort of Spindlruv Mlyn, ostensibly to check out the long-running Snow Jam contest and see what the snowboard scene in this Eastern corner of Europe is like, but in reality it seems like it’s some kind of perverse experiment to determine how much schnapps a human being can take. Through the fog of alcohol, though, one thing stands out: there’s a girl absolutely SENDING backside rodeos – and not only that she’s got a legit, poked to buggery back 180 in her armoury too. A quick comparison of bib number to start list confirms her name: Klaudia Medlova. We’d never heard of her.
Fast forward a few weeks and women’s snowboarding hits insane new heights at the 2015 Suzuki Nine Queens event, and there’s Klaudia making waves again by stomping the first double backside rodeo ever done by a girl. People are quick to take note and she’s swiftly snaffled up by Bataleon Snowboards while Spencer O’Brien takes her under her wing and sets about getting Klaudia invites to snowboarding’s more prestigious events for the coming winter.
A year on and she’s rapidly cemented herself as one of female snowboarding’s most progressive riders with another sterling performance at the 2016 Nine Queens, not to mention the epic Views From The 7th edit. “She’s basically just a charger,” says our boy Sam Oetiker. “She’ll get an idea of something she wants to do and will keep trying it over and over until she gets it, even if that means taking some really heavy slams. When she does get the trick, it’s with insane style.”
We sat down with Klaudia at the Bataleon team week in Andorra to find out where she came from and where she’s going…
Interview: Sam Oetiker
Hey Klaudia, what’s up? You’ve just come from Nine Queens…
Hello [laughs]. I was super excited to go to Nine Queens again this year, because last year was amazing. I loved the setup, the jump is always perfect with a great landing and we were super lucky with the weather again because it was sunny, slushy and warm. The landing was very soft and the takeoff was nice and hard, so we could try new tricks and it was pretty safe. So I really enjoyed Nine Queens again this year.
Did all the girls learn new tricks? You learned a front 10, right?
Yeah, I learned frontside 1080s this year. I wanted to try it already, I’d been thinking about it and I’d been trying it the day before. I landed one in the sunrise shooting but it didn’t feel very good, I think it was so sketchy in the air, but then on the contest day I stomped it good. And Kjersti did a frontside 10 too, but she made one last year already. Anna Gasser was coming back from her injury so she hadn’t ridden for three months, but she killed it – she was doing doubles…
Do you think it helps that it’s women-only?
This is different. I like to ride with guys because I can push myself and I was used to it. When I was young we didn’t have many girls riding in Slovakia so I was used to riding with boys, and they taught me a lot. But I liked it so much that [at Nine Queens] it was just girls there, we push each other and it’s such a good atmosphere with them. No pressure.
[Below: Getting upside down for the boys at the Bataleon week in Andorra. Photo: Cyril Mueller]