Kelly Clark's "Sweet 16" win streak in women's halfpipe competition came to an end last season when she sat out finals at the Burton Canadian Open in February, leaving an opening for Spanish rider Queralt Castellet to top the podium. Then Elena Hight beat her outright at the Burton U.S. Open in March, further proving she's not invincible. And while Clark opened the 2012-2013 season with a win at the Burton High Fives event in New Zealand in August, it was Kaitlyn Farrington's turn on top this week at the Dew Tour's Ion Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colo., where Farrington, Castellet, Maddy Shaffrick, and Torah Bright bumped Clark all the way down to the fifth spot after uncharacteristic falls in both of her runs. We caught up with Elena Hight in Breckenridge to ask about the recent podium shakeups and the double backside alley-oop rodeo up her sleeve that just might change everything.
ESPN: Are the days of Kelly Clark dominating women's pipe competition coming to an end?
Elena Hight: When she's on it's pretty tough, but Kelly's definitely beatable. After I beat her at the U.S. Open last year it kind of fueled a lot of fire among the rest of the girls, and it was great to see Kaitlyn on top of the podium at Dew Tour because she's been killing it. I think that everyone's going to be pushing it this year and you're going to see a lot of different people on top.
Were you disappointed to finish down in 6th place at the Dew Tour this week, coming off of that momentum from the U.S. Open last year?
Not at all. I took the summer off to rehab an injury, so I'm just coming back: I'd only been on snow for about two weeks before Dew Tour and I'm just easing my way into it and getting back on it.
Kelly's 1080s made her unbeatable for a while there. Now Queralt has them too. But in May the world got a taste of you landing a double backside alley-oop rodeo. Is that a trick you'll be throwing in competition runs this season?
It's definitely my goal to bring it into the contests this year so hopefully you'll be seeing it very soon, and I think there are some other riders who are getting close to bringing doubles around. It's going to take the right pipe and the right conditions, but let's just say I'm especially looking forward to X Games, for sure, and to the U.S. Open, seeing how it goes in Vail. Those are going to be good contests this year, I think.
What else are you looking forward to this season?
I've got a new line coming out with Volcom that I'm really stoked on, I'm doing a lot of work with Boarding For Breast Cancer, and I'm doing some fun stuff with Nixon and Toyota this season. We're also earning Olympic quota spots for our country this year and looking ahead to the 2014 Olympics, so it's going to get pretty hectic.
How are you spending the holidays?
I'm headed home to Tahoe. I hear we're getting a lot of snow, so hopefully I'll be riding some pow before everything starts getting crazy.