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Kelly Clark – From competitive snowboarding to creating snowboards with Donna Carpenter

Kelly Clark retires from competitive snowboarding only to create a snowboard of her own together with Burton CEO Donna Carpenter

From a 20-year long career in snowboarding, including nearly 200 events, 137 podiums and 78 wins, to authoring her first book, Inspired, creating her own foundation, The Kelly Clark Foundation and co-producing a snowboard together with Burton CEO Donna Carpenter, is there anything this lady can’t do?

“Is there anything this lady can’t do?”

Kelly Clark was the first American woman to win half pipe gold back in the Olympics 2002 in Salt Lake City. She is said to be the greatest female halfpipe snowboarder of all time, and fair enough, she’s earned three Olympic medals and seven Winter X Games gold medals, including the one that she captured in 2011 for being the first woman to land a 1080 in the halfpipe. I mean, this lady knows how to ride the pipe and considering how women’s snowboarding looked like back in the early 2000s, Kelly has had a huge impact on pushing the sport further and further. Kelly announced her retirement from competitive snowboarding on January 25th.

“…being the first woman to land a 1080 in the halfpipe”

Many female snowboarders, including Chloe Kim, can agree that Kelly Clark has had a huge impact on women’s snowboarding. According to Kelly herself, it’s hard to tell what impact you’ve had on things since you’ve been in it for so long. What makes Kelly such a great role model for the rest of us is that she’s remained authentic throughout the years, without letting the fame get the better of her.

Image: Burton

Snowboarding has an impact on each and every one of us and it tends to define us at least to some degree. But being as involved as Kelly’s been, it can be hard to find a way to balance the different sides of the sport. There’s the love for the sport, the freedom and fun of it, and then there’s the competitive side. When competing on such a high level as Kelly has, it can’t have been easy to juggle these two, without letting the competitive side define you as a snowboarder or a person. What drives your progression is surely defined by both the love for the sport and performing well in competitions, but Kelly has managed to find a balance between these two, without letting the performance culture define her.

“The RISE is a 10/10 pow snowboard, with a tapered directional shape which makes for a floaty feel and smooth turns in between trees”

So now when her career as a competitive snowboarder is over, what is there to do? Well, apparently loads. How does developing a new snowboard together with Burton CEO Donna Carpenter sound? Combining Kelly’s great experience in riding with Donna’s in-depth knowledge of sustainability has resulted in the production of one of the most sustainable boards Burton has ever produced, The RISE. The RISE is a 10/10 pow snowboard, with a tapered directional shape which makes for a floaty feel and smooth turns in between trees.

Image: Burton

Its overall rocker shape makes for a playful ride while the camber under the back foot adds some snap to it. Not only does this board sound great to us, but I bet mother nature is stoked on it as well. The RISE is basically an introduction to Burtons new sustainability standards for 2020 – reducing hard-goods carbon emissions by 20% (yes please!).

As for the graphic, the top is embellished with the Peregrine Falcon, which was once endangered due to harmful chemical pesticides, but thanks to social media cultivating us on what effects our life choices have on nature, its population is back to booming. Sadly this limited edition beauty of a board is narrowed down to only 50, so grab your Burton The RISE board here asap.

Image: Burton

Snowboarding is a way of learning and progressing, both as a person and a snowboarder, and this is what Kelly will continue doing. Freedom to explore the backcountry, to plan your life not according to the Olympics and getting all creative with Donna Carpenter in order to design your own snowboard – I’d say there are worse things to spend your days on after retirement.

Thank you, Kelly, for being such an inspiration to all the women in snowboarding and for lifting the ceiling so high for Women’s Snowboarding. No doubt you’ll keep on inspiring us with whatever you choose to do next!

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