We first featured Yuki when she was just transitioning from a mogul skier to a slopestyle skier… In case you haven’t noticed, she’s had quite a successful transition. 

Hey Yuki! How’s it going? Where are you at these days?

Hey! Everything is going great these days, I’ve been home for about two weeks now, enjoying the sun and skiing at home with friends! Traveling the world was great this year I got to visit and ski two places I’d never been before; Korea and Switzerland.

Tell us a bit about your season.

This season went great for me, I’d say it was my best season yet. I made finals in every contest and won my first World Cup.

It was a little shorter than previous years as we only had one Grand Prix and no AFP finals but still lots of fun, it’s nice to be home now and have time to film and learn some new things. It was great to be able to go to Korea for the Olympic Test event and check out where the Olympic games will be in two years. They made a wicked course that was different from anything we’ve ever competed on and I think everyone was a big fan of it. Fingers crossed the Olympic course will be similar.

What a day. Loving the @xgames course! // 📷: @ilannaemily // #xgames #seriousfun

A photo posted by Yuki Tsubota (@yuki_tsubota) on

Who are two female freeskiers you looked up to when you were first getting into competing?

Growing up I really looked up to Jen Heil and Sarah Burke.

When I first started freestyle skiing I was mainly focused in mogul skiing and after seeing Jen win the Torino Olympics, that was all I wanted to do.

As for Sarah, I have looked up to her since day one and I still do. Growing up in the town she lived in I would see her around and always be star struck, I loved watching her ski, the person she was and what she did for the sport. Being grown up now and seeing everyone continue her legacy makes me realize even more how incredible she was and everything she did, not only for women’s skiing but for our sport.

Does freeski media need to do a better job of covering women and their stories? Why is it important?

Yes! But I think it has gotten a lot better in the last couple of years.

As women keep pushing and progressing the sport the media has been doing a better job with covering it. There are just as many girls as guys out there and they need mentors and athletes to look up to too, they don’t necessarily have to be skiers but to be inspired by us and look up to us for who we are as professional athletes.

It was tits deep today…literally! Keep the snow coming @whistlerblackcomb cause I ain’t done yet.

A photo posted by Yuki Tsubota (@yuki_tsubota) on

What is the biggest deterrent for young girls in becoming freeskiers? And continuing in the sport as they grow up? What can be done about that?

I don’t think this is a problem in just freeskiing but in all extreme and contact sports.

When I look back to when I was growing up I was no questions asked, a tomboy; I played hockey, soccer, climbed, biked and skied. I think when I played hockey there was maybe four or five girls that played compared to the 30-40 boys and a similar situation for skiing. Most girls want to dance or do gymnastics, which there is nothing wrong with but you’re on the ground not flying through the air or have someone running into you, I think those sports have impressions of being less scary.

There is no doubt that these sports are all high risk and scary as you get older, competing and playing competitively, but I believe it’s about learning properly. I would way rather do a backflip off a 60ft jump then have to do one on a beam or a crazy bar routine, but that’s because I started on a 5ft jump and worked my way up. If we can get girls out there young and teach them the fundamentals of skiing and that it’s not scary if you work your way up we will have a much bigger and stronger group of girls in the generations to come.

I already see it…. every spring I get asked to coach the Slayers camp that Tami Bradley puts on in Whistler and you should see how many girls show up, last year we had about 10-15 girls every weekend which was almost the same as the boys. These kids are doing flips into the airbag and starting to spin the jumps and they’re barely 10 years old.

I also think with how expensive the sport can be it keeps kids away. I was very lucky that my parents could afford to put me in programs and buy me gear, it wasn’t always easy but managed.

In 2012, I wrote your profile for SKIER’s Radar feature. Did you ever imagine that skiing would take you where it has?

Yep! I remember that, it was the first time for me in a ski article and I was ecstatic about it.

Back then I had just switched over to skiing slopestyle from moguls and it was was first year on the BC park and pipe team. Never did I think that back then I would be where I am today so quickly. When slopestyle was announced to the Olympics in 2012 my mind switched from one discipline to the other thinking I would aim for the 2022 Olympics; but it just all happened quicker than I thought it would. The next minute I was asked on to the national team, competing at X Games, World Cups, Dew Tour, and trying to qualify for the next two years for Sochi. My first contest with the team was Dew Tour and I ended up coming 2nd I was a crazy time and I can’t believe how fast the last three years have gone by.

What has been the recipe for success?

I think a big part to my success, especially in the beginning was that I had no expectations. Like I said before it happened so quick, I was new into the slopestyle scene and I was just out there having fun getting used to it all. Also that I had good jumping fundamentals, that was a huge help, so rails have been my biggest challenge and I still have lots of work to do there.

Who’s ready for summer camp at @momentumcamps?

A photo posted by Yuki Tsubota (@yuki_tsubota) on

Back then you mentioned having your sights on a University Degree — is this something you’re currently pursuing?

It is, I’m actually just starting my first course right now. I have some scholarships from local businesses when I graduated high school that I have to use up so I decided to start and see how it goes this summer. It’s taken a little longer to start than I anticipated for but with how busy it’s been for the last couple years I think I’ve learnt to manage my time better throughout the year and I’m ready. I’m pretty excited to start getting into it again and using my brain again, I think it will be good for me in my down time and training season.

What will you be studying?

I’ve enrolled in a Finance Major – Bachelor of Commerce program at Athabasca. I chose it because I’m Asian duh, I love working with numbers. Haha. I haven’t decided yet but I’d like to go into becoming either a financial advisor, mortgage broker or real estate.

How do you spend your downtime during the season? And in the off-season?

I spend my time at home catching up on life mostly. I hang out with my friends, boyfriend and dog lots. Stay in the gym since we don’t have much time when we’re on the road, and if there’s snow you’ll find me chasing that around the mountain. We don’t have much of an off season but when I’m not competing we’re chasing the snow around the world training or on the ramps learning new tricks.

We recently chatted with Cassie about her journey to the 2018 Olympic Games. We’re assuming you’re on a similar path? How would yours differ as a slope skier vs pipe skier?

We are actually both on probably identical paths besides our discipline. We both are under CFSA and if it’s the same as Sochi was our selection and qualifying criteria was the same for both sports, moguls, aerials, and skier cross have a different criteria which are the other sports we are competing against for spots. We haven’t been told what the criteria is for Pyeongchang yet but I’m guessing it’s going to be similar as Sochi; which was two podium for Method A I believe. We start our qualifying this upcoming season, so it’ll be game time when December rolls around.

How many people are working hard behind the scenes to make that a reality? Who is involved in training an Olympic freeskier?

There’s quite a few people behind the scenes. Beside our coaches who take the biggest roles we have, doctors, physios, chiropractors, nutritionists, trainers, sport physics, all the staff at CFSA, then there’s the behind behind the scenes people such as the guys who build the jumps for our private training camps and the staff that run the gym for us to train at; the list could go on forever. For me my family and friends take a big part in it as well, honestly it’s different for each and one of us and it’s amazing how we each get our personal needs from the organizations. CFSA, Own the Podium and the COC do a very good job preparing us for the games and doing their best to get us whatever we need to get us there.

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