5 things no one knows

Courtesy of Kelly Clark

Kelly Clark and her fellow snowboarders may love snow -- but they love their summer surf trips even more.

As this long and crazy 2014 season comes to a close, here’s some intel on our sport and what we’re doing in the offseason. What you might not know about snowboarders…

1. We’re wannabe beach bums. You might think snowboarders live for winter, and we do! But we all secretly love the beach more than the snow. We just dress really warm when it’s cold out. I guarantee every snowboarder spends the winter counting down to a surf trip.

2. We’re our own sport’s superfans. I’m literally on the first chairlift up at 8 or 9 a.m. on the weekend -- for fun, not for training. You wouldn’t expect someone who spends 150 or 200 days of the year on snow to be up bright and early riding groomers. But that is my normal. People often ask me, “Kelly, what are you doing?” “Just snowboarding,” is my answer. Because I love it.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Kelly Clark has won three Olympic medals in snowboard halfpipe: gold in 2002, and bronze in 2010 and 2014.

3. When we’re not snowboarding, you can find us on the green. The boys on the U.S. team and I travel with five or six golf clubs in our board bags so when we go to New Zealand we can play golf every day after we snowboard. Golf is so technical, challenging and pretty much impossible to master. Which makes it actually pretty similar to snowboarding.

4. We may be less adventurous than you think. People think that snowboarders are the loosest cannons out there. Not so! I’ll go to the lake in the summer and we’ll go cliff jumping, and I’ll find that my friends who are pro snowboarders are often the mellowest. Sure, we take risks on the halfpipe, but they are calculated risks -- and there’s a difference. I’ll be out there with a bunch of non-snowboarding friends and they’ll be jumping off all this sketchy stuff. But the snowboarders are like, “We don’t know how deep that water is.” Sure there are exceptions, but if we don’t know the risk, most of us are like, “Nah, we’re good.”

5. When we do something, we’re all in. We’re passionate people, and we don’t just do things. We do it 110 percent. That doesn’t just apply to snowboarding, either. My friends Scotty Lago, Matt Ladley and Greg Bretz and I don’t just play golf casually. We play every day. Look at Shaun White and his band Bad Things. He’s not just dabbling; he’s going to be excellent.