Grilled: Taylor Gold on victory laps, Ross Powers & winning the US Open
This past season was, undoubtedly, the season of Taylor Gold. It seems that Gold was biding his time, standing in the wings of the contest scene before dropping into 2013/14 and succinctly solidifying his status as one of the best halfpipe riders in snowboarding.
Pulling inspiration from legendary riders like Terje Haakonsen and Ross Powers, Gold’s technical ability is matched only by his old-school style; a winning combo that made him a podium staple throughout the season. Gold took 3rd at the 2013 Dew Tour, 1st at the Copper Grand Prix, 2nd & 3rd at this year’s dual Mammoth Grand Prix contests— officially securing himself a spot on the US Olympic team— before wrapping up his season by taking the Burton US Open title, complete with victory lap.
Despite a prolific season and his new habit of topping the leader board, Gold remains a humble, authentic person whose love for snowboarding trumps all.
First off, congrats on winning the US Open!
Thanks, yeah, I’m stoked.
Give me a run-down of the contest today— how were the conditions?
I mean, the best conditions of the year. Sickest pipe, super warm, big crowd — it couldn’t have been better.
Have you been able to take a break since coming home from Sochi? The chance to just freeride?
Yeah, it was nice. I was just back in Breck, riding with my friends. I got to hit some jumps finally— I’ve been wanting to hit jumps all season, but I’ve been so worried about the pipe that I haven’t had much of a chance to do anything else. So that was really fun, and I think that really prepared me to focus more in this competition.
It gave you a little boost of confidence?
Yeah, for sure. After Sochi especially. And having a nice pipe is such a confidence booster.
So you stomped your first two runs, and your third was a victory lap; what was going through your head, standing at the top of the pipe?
I’ve never had a victory lap… it was so crazy. I never expected it. It’s hard to describe, I just couldn’t believe it.
So where do you go from here?
From here, I’m going to go ride Breck for a while I think. Maybe for a couple weeks, and try to learn some new jump tricks. And then maybe do the Red Bull Double Pipe, and then photoshoots at Superpark and The Launch maybe.
So where did that method come from? Was it inspired, or just spontaneous?
Yeah, I mean all season I’ve tried to figure out how to do a good method that’s kind of older-school style, because so many people do them the same now. I just thought that this would be the perfect contest— the US Open— to try to do a really good method…
Any specific rider you were modeling your method after?
I wanted it to be like Terje and Ross Powers’. Both of those dudes have amazing methods, and Ross actually inspired me to snowboard…his run at the Olympics. So doing a method like that, that was pretty cool.
Going into the contest today, were there any other riders that you were a little nervous about riding against?
I think anyone in the field today could have made the podium. It was just a really heavy group of riders, even though they’re young, and there were amazing runs going down all day.
With Danny Davis, Scotty Lago and Terje poaching the pipe between runs, it must have been pretty mellow at the top of the pipe; what was the difference between the vibe here and in Sochi?
Sochi, obviously, it’s the Olympics… everybody is very intense, just focused on their riding. There’s not a lot of talking going on, you’re just trying to focus on your run. But here everybody is laughing and having fun at the top of the pipe. Everybody is watching the runs and just stoked when other people land. Obviously the conditions were totally different here, too. It was just — it couldn’t have been better.
Any new tricks on your mind now? Anything in the works?
Yeah, actually— I’ve really wanted to do a McTwist, first hit, for the past three years. I can do them, but I can’t do them that big yet, so I think that’ll be one of the next tricks that I want to get really good at so that I can do it super big. And then mixing up the grabs… this summer I’m going to ride Mt. Hood and just try a bunch of weird tricks.
Going after Sage!
Get more GRILLED:
Olympic gold medalist Jamie Anderson— slope queen & all-around good human
Slope Style— Norwegian powerhouse Ståle Sandbech
Kelly Clark on 30-second cries, digging deeper than ever before & why her Olympic medal really matters