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Monday, July 8, 2013
Summering with Kaya Turski

By Megan Michelson
XGames.com

This winter, Kaya Turski became the first woman to four-peat in X Games Ski Slopestyle when she won her fourth consecutive gold at X Games Tignes in March. That win brought her total X Games gold medal count to a whopping seven, including three victories in Aspen, Colo. Next February, the Canadian hopes to represent her country when slopestyle makes its Olympic debut in Sochi, Russia. But for now, Turski, 25, is laying low, spending the summer in Santa Monica, Calif., working out at nearby Red Bull headquarters and spending her free time creating art projects.

XGames.com: Why Santa Monica for the summer?
Kaya Turski: I'm just a few blocks away from the Red Bull headquarters. They've got a really amazing facility -- a full gym, trampoline, nutritionist, sports psychologist, just a lot of resources. It's everything I need. Plus, it's nice to be in one place. I want to lay low. My body is telling me I need to chill for a second. It feels good to settle down. I've been longing for it.

Will you be skiing at all this summer?
If not in July, then definitely in August and September. New Zealand is still up in the air, but I'm hoping maybe we'll go to Australia with the Canadian team and definitely Mount Hood [Ore.] and Whistler [British Columbia] at some point.

Are you working on anything in particular for next winter?
I'd eventually like to learn a switch dub 9. It's something I can do on the trampoline and I'd like to do on skis. Red Bull and Mammoth are going to help me set up something really great. It's a matter of committing to it and having the right setup.

Kaya Turski on her way to her fourth gold medal in Women's Ski Slopestyle at X Games Tignes in March 2013.

Last winter, you got a four-peat at X Games Tignes but a silver medal in Aspen. Describe what that season was like for you.
It was perhaps one of the rockiest full seasons I've had where I haven't been injured. It was like a rollercoaster. But it was probably the season I learned the most about myself and my skiing, about my approach to competition and my competitors around me. At X Games in Aspen, after falling on my first two runs, my mind was all over the place. Then I had to wait at the top for 45 minutes [due to a course hold], and everything was crumbling. I got the silver medal and I was so thrilled about it. Looking back and analyzing the whole process and all the ups and downs and what I was feeling, I am so proud of it. I gained a lot out of that event.

How do you stay calm in those high-pressure situations?
The number-one thing is to remember to breathe. Breathing physically calms your body when you get tense. That's important in order to compete at a high level. Also, it brings you back to the moment right now, so your mind isn't wandering about what's going on down the line or what's gone wrong in the past. There's so much stuff that's running around in your head. Just breathing brings you back to right now.

Are you feeling the pressure of the Olympics already?
There's been so much hype with us being in the Olympics. This could be my first and last Olympics -- who knows? -- and I'm trying to not let the hype get to me. I'm not going to let my outcome at the Olympics define who I am. I will be as prepared as I can and take it one day at a time. Once you set all these expectations and you have all this pressure on a particular outcome, that's when you can get really disappointed.

I understand you're big into crafting. That must help take the edge off.
I've been on Pinterest a bunch lately and just the amount of do-it-yourself home crafts is insane and so inspiring. I found a site on how to make your own water fountain, so my dad and I made a fountain. I've been buying furniture at garage sales and sanding and staining and repairing it. I got some great driftwood in Mammoth -- and I want to get a glass top and make a cool coffee table. It could really be beautiful.