At only 19 years old Katie Ormerod already has fourteen years of riding under her belt. As a part of GB Park and Pipe – the development team for the Olympic Games – she is not only one of the UK’s best riding prospects, but has quickly become one of the best girls in the World. Katie has been creating waves the past few seasons: not only was she the first girl to land a double cork 10, she has amassed an impressive run of results which include both an X Games slopestyle and Air and Style Big Air bronze, a win at the FIS Moscow Big Air and plenty more to boot. Katie is a quiet and softly-spoken individual who lets her riding do the talking and when you see her snowboard it’s easy to see that she is destined for great things. We chatted to Katie to talk triple backflips, GB Park and Pipe, mainstream media fame and much more – by Tom Kingsnorth
You started out from a gymnastics background, how has that affected your riding overall?
I started gymnastics when I was four years old and started snowboarding when I was five, so they both went hand-in-hand with each other as gymnastics helped with muscular strength, balance and spacial awareness and that has helped me become the snowboarder I am today.
At what point did you get sponsored?
I started getting approached by sponsors when I was nine and that helped massively, because snowboarding isn’t a cheap sport, so getting free gear was a huge help.
The last few seasons have seen you get some impressive contest results, what is your dream contest to win?
Last winter was my best yet, as I got my first ever X games medal and World Cup gold. My dream is to get the Olympic gold medal as well, so fingers crossed for 2018!
Talking of the Olympics, how much focus do you put there compared to other contests?
It only comes around every four years and is the pinnacle of most sports, so the last few years have been mainly focused on learning new tricks so that I can do well in the World Cups and hopefully qualify for the Olympics. I do put a lot of effort into all the other contests as well, because they are equally as important and at the end of the day, the Olympics is just another event and I will be competing against the same competitors – but it is more known worldwide.
You were the first woman to land the double cork 10, how did your life change after landing that trick?
I was really happy to be the first girl to land that! I really wanted to push women’s snowboarding and I felt by landing this trick I did that. Now women’s snowboarding is progressing really fast and more girls are landing double corks, which is amazing to see. I felt like I became more known after landing the double and that give me so much more confidence going into competitions as I felt like I’d earned my spot.
I saw that you were throwing triple backflips into an airbag at Mammoth last week; will you be doing those on snow next season?
I landed my first triple backflip in Mammoth and I’m not gonna lie: it was a little scary, but who knows? Maybe I will land it on snow this season 🙂
What tricks do girls have to do to be able to do well at contests next season?
Women’s snowboarding is progressing super fast, so next season is going to be very interesting, especially with the Olympics in February. I think girls are going to need flat 900s, 1080s and double corks to do well.
Which riders do you like to ride with the most and why?
I like to ride with my best friends on the British team, Matt McCormick, Rowan Coultas and Billy Morgan, because they are amazing riders and help to push my riding as well and keep my confidence high during competitions.
You’ve been getting more and more mainstream media in the UK, how do you find doing those kind of shows?
It feels great that the media are more interested in snowboarding, because it hasn’t always been that way, so it feels nice to do well in a competition and for it to be shown on British news.
What advice do you have for other snowboarders that want to make it as a pro?
I’d say always follow your dreams and work as hard as you can, because while it isn’t always easy, you’ll have the most amazing life and good times.