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Arielle Gold has been having a very good year, living up to her name with a halfpipe win at the FIS World Snowboarding Championship in Stoneham, Quebec in January and another in February at the Burton European Open in Laax, Switzerland. According to Gold, winning bronze at X Games Aspen in January and silver this week at the Burton U.S. Open have been just as sweet. Gold will be going for -- what else? -- in France at X Games Tignes at the end of the month. We caught up with her after the U.S. Open podium presentation to find out more about her recent burst of inspiration.
ESPN: You've been having a tremendous season. Is there anything specific you can point to that you've done differently this year to help get to this point?
Arielle Gold: More than ever I've just been riding with all of my super good friends all the time, which has helped me progress a lot this season. Traveling around with all of them to all these contests has been huge. The support I get from my sponsors and from the USSA and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club has been amazing, too. Being part of Team USA definitely has its privileges.
This season we're seeing riders landing 1080 variations, and then there's Elena Hight's alley-oop double rodeo... Is there a target level of progression on your mind that you're shooting for?
Seeing double corks and 1080s definitely makes me a little nervous, but it also motivates me a lot. I know I'm going to have to step up to work towards those newer, bigger tricks. I know that's where this is headed, and fast, so I'm jumping on the trampoline and into foam pits and airbags every chance I get to develop that good air awareness I need to keep moving in that direction.
In both pipe and slopestyle we've been seeing younger and younger riders coming up on the girls side. What do you think is driving that and attracting more girls not just to snowboarding but to the top levels of competition?
I think more and more girls are starting to realize what we're capable of. Sports have always been kind of sexist all around, but I think in every sport women are progressing more and more and getting closer and closer to the level the men are at.
Snowboarding is just super awesome, and it's cool that more girls are getting into it, then getting into the pipes and terrain parks and going for it. Having equal prize money at events like the U.S. Open and having the Olympics in the mix definitely helps, because more girls now see that they can compete, and be rewarded, at the highest levels.
Your brother Taylor Gold has also been stepping up this season. Is there any sibling rivalry there?
It's awesome because we've always pushed each other and it's so much fun to have someone like him to travel with and get to see the world with. But I definitely think it's best for our relationship that he's competing with the guys and I'm competing with the girls, because if we were in the same contest we'd really be going at each other.
What are you most looking forward to in the rest of this season?
I'm really excited for X Games Tignes, and for a trip to Paris I have planned after that. Getting to travel has been the best part of all of this for me.