Go Hard or Go Home: Shannan Yates

This week, we talk to the women’s snowboard Freeride World Tour leader, Shannan Yates.

Shannan Yates, Amber Schuecker and Estelle Balet on the podium of the FWT Event in Chamonix 2014.
Shannan Yates winning the FWT14 Chamonix stage© Jeremy Bernard

Our new series, Go Hard or Go Home, looks at the girls pushing the levels in snowboard and freeski.

American snowboarder Shannan Yates is no stranger to the podium. Aged 36, Shannan has been riding competitively for 10 years, dominating big mountain contests in the States before joining the Freeride World Tour (FWT) in 2011.

Having finished in third place overall for the past two years, Shannan has her sights set on the gold this season, and with two firsts in Chamonix and Fieberbrunn so far, she’s currently leading the rankings.

I am very excited to be in the lead, it gets me closer to my goal of world champion!

 

Shannan Yates snowboarding down a steep slope in the backcountry of Squaw Vally, USA.
Fearless...© Christophe Margot

Hailing from Snowbird in Utah, Shannan has a true big mountain background and is happiest charging her home terrain with friends and her husband. Aside from dropping cliffs or hiking couloirs, she’s studying to be a nurse and has to balance her degree with time on the mountain.

Shannan Yates walking on the mountain top at an FWT event.
The last tense minutes before the start...© Tero Repo

Just one month before the first women’s Tour event in Chamonix, Shannan injured a ligament in her knee, and feared her chances of riding, let alone winning, were over. But a month of solid physio and she was back on her board just a few days before the event; thankfully, her knee held and she rode a solid clean line to earn 70 points and first place.

“I was the first female competitor to drop!” says Shannan. “The atmosphere at the start gate was so exciting and all of the female athletes were enjoying the beautiful weather and fantastic scenery that Chamonix presented us that day.”

In Fieberbrunn, conditions were super sketchy with tricky landings and no fresh snow, but Shannan’s cool head and experience won over and she landed some big airs in the technical sections to get a high score of 73 points, and another first place.

Shannan Yates riding down a steep slope in Fiebrunn, Austria.
In treacherous terrain, control is all.© Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face - David Carlier

With just two weeks before the next event in Snowbird, Shannan is back home, focusing on her training: “I work out with Josh, my trainer, a couple times a week, ride my road bike in the summer and snowboard, of course. The mental game is a tougher challenge.”

But it’s a mental challenge she’s used to, and we look forward to seeing her compete at the next FWT event in Snowbird, Utah.

Will Shannan get the gold? Follow her progress and watch FWT events live on redbull.com/snow.