Thursday, June 21, 2012
Snowboarder Kelly Clark rides F-18 jet
By Colin Bane
Kelly Clark gets some flight tips from Lt. Jason "Fisheye" Papadopoulos on Tuesday.
Snowboarder Kelly Clark has double corks, 1260s, and new switch tricks on her mind as she looks to next winter and the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but her training so far this summer has been a bit unorthodox, to say the least: On Tuesday, Clark and U.S. Ski Team racer Stacey Cook flew over California's Mammoth Mountain, flying in F-18 Hornet fighter jets with U.S. Navy pilots, after receiving a condensed version of Aviation Physiology and Survival Training. We caught up with Clark, a two-time Olympic Halfpipe gold medalist and four-time X Games SuperPipe gold medalist, on Tuesday after her flight to find out how breaking the sound barrier and stomaching 6Gs compares to landing 1080s.
Fill us in on what you've been just been up to?
"I'm just driving out to Carson from Naval Air Station Fallon, where I just climbed out of an F-18 a few hours ago. I'm kind of on cloud 9 right now. The opportunity came up through Stacey Cook, who is a member of the U.S. Ski Team: She had a connection through Mammoth Mountain to someone who worked up on the Navy Base about a possible opportunity for us to come out and go up in some jets. I'm always up for an adventure, so the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association pursued it and set it up for us, and we got to have this experience of a lifetime. It was one of the most incredible things I've ever done."
Were there a lot of "Top Gun" jokes all around?
"On the base we learned that they actually have a $10 fine for anybody who makes "Top Gun" references. I guess they're over it."