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We talk to the Belfast-based Olympian slopestyle boarder about Sochi, socks and the South Korean games

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SNOW: How did you get into snowboarding and how did your parents take it when you told them you wanted to be a professional snowboarder?
A: I never imagined that I would become a pro snowboarder living in Belfast. It happened thanks mostly to [surf and snowboard clothing brand] Roxy coming on board when I was 16. That gave me the opportunity to travel as a youngster and made my dream happen.
My parents have been super supportive from day one. When they came out to the Roxy Pro a couple of years back, that opened their eyes to the industry. They met the rest of the girls I had talked about too. I think it has just made it even more exciting for them to watch.

Q: When you were younger you raced motocross. How did you get into that, and do any of the skills from that sport cross over?
AF: Yes, snowboarding is very similar to motocross in that you have to catch the transitions. The skill of being able to read lines and distances transferred over well, that’s for sure.

Q: Do you have a road or dirt motorbike now, and if so what is it?
A: I have just bought a KTM 690 Duke for the road and I did some motocross last autumn with Rachel Atherton, who’s a downhill mountain biker. It’s great fun to hang with people in other sports.

Q: Do you ever ski any more?
A: I sometimes switch with Dara Howell, she’s a Roxy Skier, and just before the games we switched so I skied and she snowboarded during our chill days at the X-Games.

Q: Your form going into Sochi couldn’t have been better with a 5th in Stoneham, Canada and a 7th in the Aspen X-Games. Did that boost your expectations for the Olympics?
A: I went to Sochi open-minded and ready to have fun. I didn’t land the perfect run but left happy that I’d put all my cards on the table.

Q: Is it true you always sleep in your race bib and wear lucky socks before a competition. If so do the socks have holes in now?
A: Yes, the socks are getting holes! And yes, I always sleep in my contest bib. I am getting better at removing superstitions though.
Q: What about at the Sochi Olympics?
A: Yeah, I definitely slept in the bib and wore the socks there.

Q: You finished 17th in Sochi, after making it into the semis. Was it a big disappointment to miss out on the final?
A: I would have loved to have been in the final. That was my aim of course, but sometimes things happen for a reason! The course was gnarly and I was happy to finish in one piece. Seeing my grandparents in the grandstands after just made me smile.

Q: You got more media coverage post Olympics for your commentary on Jenny Jones’s historic medal run than on your own on-slope achievements. Did that upset you?
A: That didn’t bother me! I was happy to be a part of that history-making moment. When one of your best buddies wins a medal the last thing you are going to do is sit back and keep quiet. We were all excited and emotions ran wild as they should have done! Go on the Jones!

Q: In 2018 the winter Olympics will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea. Is it your goal to still be competing then, and if so will you try Kimchi, the national dish of fermented cabbage?
A: Hmm, I like cabbage but not sure about fermented! Yes, it’s definitely my aim to go into the South Korean games and boss it. Now I have one Olympics under my belt I know what it’s like: the hype, the media and all that. So bring it on!

Q: How difficult is it to find the financial backing to compete?
A: I am very lucky to have awesome sponsors: Roxy, Red Bull, Vans and Level. I love what I do, so I am going to keep going! It was also great to have UK Sport come on-board to help us out two years ago.

Q: If you’re in resort on a powder day is it hard to focus on training in the park? Do you sometimes head for open mountain?
A: For sure: just cruising the mountains with your buddies is the best! I love powder! You can’t beat being out there in the deep, steep stuff with a good crew.

Q: Slopestyle, board cross and ski cross were on everyone’s lips during Sochi. Do you think it’s possible to inspire the youth into snowboarding outside of the Olympic cycle?
A: I think so many people have taken up snowboarding since the games. It’s awesome and exactly the buzz I wanted to create when I was in Sochi. 10 days after the Olympics, Jamie Nicholls and I went to The Snow Centre in Hemel Hampstead, and it was packed.   

After a summer on the Australian ski slopes, Aimee Fuller is now back at home in Northern Ireland where she has been riding her bikes: her Duke motobike for fun, and her pushbike for fitness. See for the latest on the Roxy athlete.

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