Exclusive Interview: One-On-One With Elena Hight

Professional snowboarder Elena Hight has been awfully busy lately.

Just two years ago, she took home gold at the Burton U.S. Open along with silver in X Games superpipe. The 24-year-old followed it up last year with another X Games silver medal, a new web series titled ‘Hight Hopes’ and even a coveted spot in ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue.

But the Hawaii native is continuing to prove she’s more than just another pretty face, this time with the help of her new website, ElenaHight.com, which features RED camera footage. The sleek-designed website offers fans a more integral look at Hight, both on and off the powder, allowing fans to check out some of her best videos, favorite recipes and plenty more. It follows her social media content, just in a less constrictive way – no character limits, no video restrictions, none of that.

We got the chance to catch up with Hight, who’s enjoying her summer surfing, snowboarding and traveling the world, to discuss her career, her favorite trick and her website.

CraveOnline: So Elena, how’s summer been treating you?

Elena Hight: It’s been great. I’ve been getting a little bit of snowboarding in and a little bit of surfing in.

Crave: Do you get to shred as much in the summer, since there’s very little snow around?

Hight: You know, my summers are always kind of consistent. I try to get a little bit of surfing in and then I usually go to Mt. Hood [Oregon] for a little while every summer in July and then I’m down in the southern hemisphere later in the summer. So, I do get some snowboarding in, for sure.

Crave: You mentioned surfing, does it take a lot of the same skill set as snowboarding?

Hight: I think, definitely, they’re very similar. Surfing was, for me, way harder [laughs] and so there’s more going on and the ocean is always moving. But it is great crosstraining, as far as the actual balance and the actual riding the surfboard is very similar, so it’s a great way to keep myself in the snowboarding mindset, without being in the snow.

Crave: You’ve been somewhat of a pioneer in women’s snowboarding. Can you talk a little bit about what that’s been like for you?

Hight: Well, thank you.

Crave: You’re welcome.

Hight: I guess I wouldn’t [call myself a pioneer], you know, I have been snowboarding since I was six and I have been competing professionally since I was 13. I think that the word pioneer just comes from being in the sport for a long time and having kind of grown up with the sport and had a chance to push myself over the years.

Crave: You’ve landed a lot of big tricks over your career, the 900, the rodeo, etc. Looking back do you have one that is your favorite?

Hight: The alley-oop rodeo has definitely come to be one of my favorite tricks. The double [backside alley-oop rodeo] was something I had wanted to do for a really long time and so being able to land that for the first time, and at the X Games the first time, was like a dream come true.

Crave: Speaking of the X Games, you’ve won four X Games medals; you’ve won gold at the Burton U.S. Open and been to two Olympic Games. Do you have a favorite moment?

Hight: Yeah, you know, I’ve done a lot of things and been to the Olympics a couple of times, like you said, the X Games but I don’t think anything will ever top winning the U.S. Open. I grew up watching the U.S. Open as a kid and you know, it was one of the first snowboarding contests there was and it’s just such a pioneer event for us, the snowboarders, and so winning that was something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid.

Crave: As a two-time Olympian, how does it feel to represent the United States?

Hight: It’s a pretty crazy experience. I went for the first time when I was 16 and the second time when I was 20. The whole experiences were absolutely amazing. The cool part about is that I compete in a sport that is an individual sport, but being a part of the Olympics, you get to go and be a part of Team USA and root for your teammates and be there and feel the comradery – there’s nothing like that in any other sporting event, I think.

Crave: And it’s got to be cool meeting all the other athletes and seeing all the pageantry, right?

Hight: Absolutely, you know! It’s just such a great uniting event where everyone is coming together for this common purpose of sport and the passion that we all have for sports and it’s really cool to see everyone’s differences, from where you grew up, to where you’re from, to what language you speak, all disappear and everyone is there uniting together for sports.

Crave: We got a chance to check out your website and it looks awesome. What does it offer fans?

Hight: The main goal for my website was just to create something that was really clean and simple and easy to navigate – basically, just a hub for all of the content I’ve been working on. It’s a lot of snowboarding video content, a lot of content that has to do with my other passions. It has a lot of food stuff, yoga stuff and fitness stuff – so basically people can find everything I’m about.

Crave: How long was the site in the making – was it stuff you’d been gathering in preparation?

Hight: You know, it’s content that I’ve been pushing out through my socials, but there is a lot of exclusive content on there. The highlight reel is new and I’m really excited with how that came out. There’s definitely some exclusive recipes and all my web series live on there. I’ve been working on those for the last two seasons, so you can kind of link all those videos together and watch those.

Crave: What’s been the focus of your web series?

Hight: The first series I did, which was called ‘New Hights’, was just a behind the scenes of my season and this last season I did ‘Hight Hopes’, which was in coordination with Snowboarder Magazine and their video mag hosted it and it was an inside look at my Olympic journey this season. It basically gave everyone a real, through-my-eyes look of what we go through into the Olympics and obviously I wasn’t able to make it this season, so it showed kind of after where my journey took me.

Related: ESPN Body Issue 2014 Releases Pictures Of Featured Athletes

Crave: Good play on words.

Hight: Thank you.

Crave: So, the website is a bigger outlet for you. Social media limits characters and content and stuff, this gives you a chance to kind of keep building on what you put on social media?

Hight: Yeah, absolutely. It’s kind of a central hub for me to have a little bit more freedom of showing my true personality, you know. Social media does a good job but, like you said, there are lots of limitations. It’s exciting to have a place where my fans can go and really get a better idea of who I am.

Crave: Believe it or not, winter is right around the corner, what’s next on your schedule, what do you have coming up?

Hight: I have a trip to Argentina coming up, actually.

Crave: Oh, that’s awesome.

Hight: Yeah, so I’m heading down there for their winter for a couple of weeks with Smith [Optics] and I’m going to the SASS Global Travel Camp, so I should be riding some good powder with those guys – and I’m excited.

Ed Miller is a contributor for CraveOnline Sports and a movie quote extraordinaire. You can follow him on Twitter @PhillyEdMiller or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.

Photos courtesy of ElenaHight.com