[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/10/art.snowboard.jpg
caption=”Elena Hight, 19, is an Olympic snowboarder.”]
I didn’t know what a “backside 900” was before I started reading about how Elena Hight became the first female to land one in the 2007 Winter X-Games. Apparently, it’s trick where a snowboarder rotates 2½ times in the air with their back facing down the mountain. It’s probably one of the most difficult things in the sport, but when I saw Elena do it, it looked easy, like she was dancing or something.
Elena grew up in Hawaii, far away from any semblance of snow, much less a snowboard. When her family moved to Idaho, her dad got her one of the first snowboards for kids when she was 6 years old. She was one of the only girls doing it, but she was hooked.
“Making a career out of it is fairly recent thing,” Elena says of a sport that’s been around since the ’70s. Elena has done it though, with big-name sponsors and competing as the youngest member in her event in the 2006 Winter Olympics. As she looks to new, well, heights, she knows more people are watching the sport. “It’s a much bigger deal. A lot more pressure. But, I’ll be ready.”
Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview