In 2014 Kaitlyn Farrington found herself in the enviable position of Olympic Gold Medalist. Although the climb to get to the top of that podium was difficult, it was arguably a lot easier than the climb down from that position and the climbs she’d find herself tackling over the next few years. Shortly after the Olympics she found herself in the less enviable position of hearing a doctor diagnose her with Spinal Stenosis and a premature end to her competitive freestyle snowboarding career. In true Kaitlyn Klassy style though, she found a new passion in snowboarding and positioned herself as a backcountry pioneer with an already accomplished list of ascents and descents that take some people a lifetime to achieve. She takes her position as a role model, brand ambassador, and pro snowboarder seriously and keeps things 100% fun all the time. Kaitlyn was born and raised on farm country, but her path as a free spirit has taken her on an Unreal Snowboarding adventure around the world and now focused on the backcountry. As a pro snowboarder with a pro model she’s in a position most people only dream of, but she will continue to redefine what that means to her and how she approaches the mountain for as long as she chooses. Kaitlyn has been riding GNU boards since the age of 14, we are proud to have her on the team and to be making boards to help position her to take on her next klassy adventure.
Kaitlyn Shares some of her favorite positions she’s found herself in along the way…
GNU: Coolest position you’ve found yourself in with your Olympic Gold medal?
Adventure Seeker, Kaitlyn Farrington: I think it was going to the Vanity Fair after party for the Oscars. I was told I had to wear my Gold medal just so people knew who I was. Running around that party drinking dirty martinis with top celebs, fanning out on my favorites, feeling like you knew them personally but nope just seen them on TV, getting invited to Coachella by Steven Tyler on his private jet, to telling Ellen she should have put me on her show as we took a selfie together, holding Lupita Nyong’o Oscar she won that night and by the end of the night eating In-N-Out with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. That was one of the funnest positions I found myself in with my Gold Medal!
GNU: In the backcountry do you prefer to be in the lead position or tail guide position?
Olympic Gold Medalist, Kaitlyn Farrington: Over the past couple years I have been working down in South America with SASS guiding and coaching. At first I was all about being the tail guide just because really you don’t have to do to much, you just follow and pick up the fallen pieces. Now I’d prefer the lead because once you know the terrain you just take clients where you want to ride! Even tho they always question and say “why don’t we ride that?” I smile and say, “You can but ill be over here where its deeper…”
GNU: What do you do to position yourself for climbing 25 Volcanos in 6 weeks?
Free Ride, Free Spirit, Kaitlyn Farrington: To be honest… I did nothing. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed on for that trip with Maria. I mean I had been touring, twice before that… so I really just went with, “Im in good shape how hard could it be…” And was I wrong! Luckily my body adapted after our second volcano and accepted that I would be hiking for the next 6 weeks. Also for me it was a huge mental game because I had just lost everything id ever known in snowboarding and now was taking on something totally new.
GNU: You not only climbed Denali, but you hung out at the basecamp for the fun of it, riding lines and ice camping for a couple weeks. How did you find yourself in that position?
Experienced Mountaineer, Kaitlyn Farrington: I was invited on this trip after i’d completed the volcano tour. Lucas DeBari was putting together a group of friends he wanted to share the experience of Denali with. This was one of the best months of my life! We spent 26 day on the mountain just hiking and snowboarding. We were a crew of 10 so we didn’t make it far before the rumors started. “I here The North Face team has a private chef.” was one that we had heard. First we weren’t up there with The North Face and the chef was each one of us. We would also hear commits like, “Why do they get to have fun everyday?” We were up there of a fully different program than everyone else on that mountain. To everybody else it was about summiting the largest peak in North America, to us its was about snowboarding. Yes, we all wanted to summit but that wasn’t the focus. It was about the being on the mountain, pushing ourselves, and riding good snow!
GNU: Did growing up on a farm, with a real cowboy for a dad put you in a unique position as a snowboarder?
Farm Hand, Kaitlyn Farrington: My dad famous word, “Put it on the list.” Growing up on a ranch formed me into a tough girl, I would say! There was never excuses accepted to get out of chores and my dad always found a way to put us to work/keep us busy. I grow up 20 minutes from town so I learned how to entertain myself. I would disappear for hours on my 4wheeler or bareback on a horse, just exploring. I’d say this is where I got my adventurous side from.
GNU: What type of position do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
Living for the now, Kaitlyn Farrington: 10 years…thats a long way down the road. I hope to see myself still gallivanting the mountains, living by a lake, mountain biking, fishing, climbing, running and just living life in the mountains!