The rise of slopestyle skier Dara Howell
From the town of Huntsville, Ontario, Canada, Dara Howell has made a quick rise to the top in the sport of slopestyle skiing. She's been competing at X Games for a couple of years now and this winter, at age 19, she won the gold medal in her sport's Olympic debut in Sochi, Russia.
New to the Sport
A competitive figure skater until age 15, Howell switched to freestyle skiing in 2010 after joining Ontario's Muskoka Ski Club.
X Games Invite
At age 17, she got her first invite to X Games and landed on the podium with a bronze at X Games Tignes. "I put some pressure on myself going in just to do the best that I could do," Howell said. "X Games in France was the most exciting -- landing on the podium just blew my mind."
Although she competed in halfpipe and slopestyle at the beginning, she's recently been focusing on slope.
In Sochi, Howell hoped a Canadian would take home gold in memory of the late Sarah Burke. She had no idea that Canadian would be her. "My coaches helped me learn new tricks and all the puzzle pieces fell into place at the right time," she says.
"[Sarah] always wanted to see the progression," Howell told the Associated Press after winning Olympic gold. "To see the girls throwing what the guys were throwing ... I feel like that's what I did."
More to Come
"I'm just getting started," Howell says. "I'd like to keep pushing the sport and myself as far as I can. We'll see where I wind up."
During the summers, Howell spends her time at her parents' house on a lake in Ontario, wakeboarding, surfing and more. "It's cottage country," she says. "Lots of things to do."
Howell will be back at X Games Aspen next January, where she hopes to improve on her medal standings. "I only have an X Games bronze medal," she says. "I'm looking for at least silver."