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Japan or Whistler backcountry? Maelle Ricker can't decide Add to ...

What's your favourite hill?

Whistler Blackcomb. It's so close to home and the Pacific snowpack is so nice. Pretty fun, free-riding terrain and going up and riding powder every day till your legs are just done - it's days like that that make me realize how lucky I am.

What's the most daring run?

When you're up in the alpine and dropping into some of the steep stuff, that definitely requires some good judgment and some guts! I did a first descent in Chile two years ago. It wasn't the scariest line, but thinking that I was the first person to go down it gave it that little bit of, umm, sweaty palms!

What hill scares you the most?

To be honest, I'd say some of the East Coast border-cross races have been some of the most gut-wrenching at times. Probably because of the snow conditions - usually a combination of ice with visibility issues and lining up speed for jumps.

Where do you avoid?

The beginner runs at the end of the day when there's, like, thousands of people on them.

Where's your favourite backcountry?

A toss up between here and Japan. We have such great backcountry, but when you go over to Japan up in Hokkaido, on the north island, you literally step one foot off the ski lift and you're technically in backcountry. I've had lots of great powder days there.

Your favourite après-ski?

Creekside at Whistler [at]a place called Rolands, a little locals pub. Good food and good atmosphere.

Where was your a-ha moment, when you realized, " I want to be an Olympian"?

I always really wanted to be an Olympian growing up - before I snowboarded. I got crazy lucky that I fell in love with snowboarding and it happened to become an Olympic discipline. A little bit of fate, I guess, a little bit of the roll of the dice that I was in the right place at the right time.

Final word

When you get out there and there's fresh powder and you're out with a bunch of your buddies and you're just doing laps through the trees all day, it's pretty fun. You get up for the first chair and stay as long as you can. I always really enjoy those days. It doesn't even have to be a sunny, bright day. I love it when it's all fogged in, big snowflakes and it's sort of stormy, that's probably my favourite. That's one of the reasons I'm drawn to the sport - it is hard work, but 99 per cent of the time it's enjoyable whether the Olympics are there or not.

This interview has been edited and condensed.


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