It may be popular right now to start snowboarding when you’ve still not figured out how to use a toilet, but not all hope is lost. If you’re Christy Prior, you could also well await the end of the most horrible phase of your life – puberty – then pick up snowboarding and go straight on to becoming a sponsored pro. The 25-year old Kiwi ripper did some serious hustling before ending up in the mighty snowboarding circus but now Christy’s just bossed her second season in the big comps. With her stacked bag of tricks, some proper air time and technical rail riding, she for sure sticks out of the masses and is one to remember.
You popped out of nowhere and bossed it in the big competitions like the Billabong Bro Down and the Burton High Fives, how did that happen? What’s the deal here?
I was basically given an ultimatum. I was getting hurt, struggling to get sponsored and I wasn’t on the national team, so I didn’t really have means to compete or travel. I had to get certain results so they’d give me a spot on the team. I put everything on my credit card and went to the Canadian Open, my first comp of the 2012 season. I needed a top 17 and I ended up getting in 4th. I was surprised I’d even make the finals.
Then the New Zealand team had me go to the US Open in Vermont in which I won the rail jam. I freaked out in slopestyle a little bit, though. The jumps were huge and I wasn’t used to that. And then one thing lead to the other. Once you start getting a little bit of help, it gets the ball rolling.
So you almost quit snowboarding?
Before 2012 when I went to the comps, I had a couple injuries. I couldn’t afford to get injured, because when I wasn’t snowboarding, that’s where I made my money. When you’re injured, you can’t work. This just kept happening and it was getting hard. So I knew that if I can’t make a breakthrough soon, I will have to stop. Luckily, it happened.
How did it work out before you got on the national team?
I would work night jobs in the season, but then I’d be so tired because at times I didn’t finish work until three o’clock in the morning. In off-seasons I’d be working seven days a week, 10 to 15 hours a day. I had three or four jobs just trying to gain as much as I can, then went overseas and based myself in one spot, so I could get a house pretty cheap. If I had to travel, I’d just surf couches and floors.
Was it always only about contests or did you film stuff too?
We never really filmed anything, I just rode. I did rail jams – we do them a lot in New Zealand. That helped me pay the rent for a little bit too. It wasn’t huge prizes but a couple of hundred bucks every second weekend. That was so much fun, I really enjoyed that. I actually didn’t start jumping until I moved to Breckenridge in 2011, so back then I only jibbed.
When you do competitions and the conditions are shitty, do you have the option to say “No, I’m not going to do it today.”?
This is always an option, but I never did it. They do cancel events when it’s too bad, but we’re forced to ride in conditions you wouldn’t normally hit these features in.
But that’s what I love about the comps. It’d be snowing sideways, windy, and then we ride it anyways and we usually survive. If you got the speed for the jump, you can do it. It’s quite interesting to see what you can actually do when you have to.
You just recently signed with Volcom, how did that come together?
Through my agent. I’m really stoked and I don’t say that because I get paid to, but Volcom was my dream brand. I love what it represents. To be a big brand, you have to be commercial but I still think it’s got a lot of core people working and riding for them.
It’s got a really good direction with the brand. The ‘True to This’ project for example is pretty good. That’s something I would like to represent.