Get ready to watch her fly.
Anna Gasser is a favorite to medal in both slopestyle and big air snowboarding and she’s got her sights set on big-time tricks and even bigger gasps from the crowd. The 26-year-old, who was named the Austrian Sportsperson of the Year for 2017, comes into PyeongChang after a dominant season on the international circuit and is hoping to make a little bit of history at this year’s Games.
Here’s everything you need to know about Gasser:
1. The PyeongChang Games Are Her Second Olympics
Gasser is hoping for a slightly different Olympic experience this time around.
She made her Olympic debut at the 2014 Games in Sochi, finishing first in the slopestyle qualifying events and earning an automatic berth to the finals, but she fell in both of her runs and had to settle for 10th place. It was a disappointing performance that has driven Gasser since and, now, fresh off one of her most dominant seasons, she’s got her sights set on gold. She told Olympics.org:
It’s amazing to win the dress rehearsal for the Olympics. It’s a significant moment and boosts my confidence for PyeongChang 2018. The ramp was really great; everything went smoothly. The speed was sensible and it was high-quality snow. I hope I can put in just as good a performance in a year’s time!
Gasser is expected to be one of the favorites in PyeongChang, competing in both women’s slopestyle and big air. And, she’s looking to make a little bit of history as well. Since women’s snowboarding was added to the Olympics in 1998, no woman has ever won more than one gold medal, but Gasser is hoping to do that at a single Games.
2. Gasser Was a Gymnast Before She Started Snowboarding
It’s difficult to imagine after so much success already, but Gasser’s snowboarding career is, really, just getting started.
She didn’t first start snowboarding until she was 11, relatively late compared to some of the other big names in the sport, and the sport didn’t grab her interest until her cousin showed her several videos of other athletes a few years later. Of course there was a reason for that – she was a gymnast first. Gasser actually competed with Austria’s national gymnastic team until she was 14 years old and the time commitment became too much.
Gasser decided to turn her attention, full-time, to snowboarding, but it still took a few years and she didn’t start competing until she was 18. It hasn’t seemed to hindered her. Gasser scored the first perfect 100 in big air at the World Championship in March 2017 and she can’t really say she misses gymnastics all that much.
3. She’s Sponsored By Several Big-Name Companies, Including Red Bull
Gasser’s rise to the top of the snowboarding world has been close to meteoric and big-name companies around the world are starting to take notice. The standout is currently sponsored by Red Bull, Burton, anon, Blue-Tomato.com, Love-Distribution, AbsolutePark and MiniCooper.
Gasser has become one of the biggest names in Austria over the last few years and while her schedule regularly keeps her away from home – including appearances for sponsorship events – she’s always determined to maintain her roots. She told Burton Girls: “During the season, it’s really hard to have time at home because I’m pretty much travelling non-stop. In the off-season, I always try to be home for at least a couple weeks. I really love my family, and I need the time at home to recharge my batteries.”
4. Gasser’s Signature Trick is the Cab Double Underflip
This one changed everything.
Gasser landed the cab double underflip consistently in her slopestyle runs throughout the 2017-18 season and her consistency, quite quickly, put her at the top of her sport. It also drove her to test out a few different tricks as well and Gasser unveiled a backside double cork 1080 at the big air world championships in March and successfully landed a cab double cork 1080 while training in August.
Of course, Gasser’s always been focused on grabbing big air. In November 2013, she became the first female snowboard to perform a Cab Double Cork 900 kicker – a double salto backwards with a half turn.
Expect much of the same from Gasser as soon as she takes her first run in PyeongChang. She’s going to put on a show.
5. She Says She’s Excited for the Future of Women’s Snowboarding
In a sport that’s always changing, Gasser isn’t worried about what comes next. In fact, she’s more than ready for the continued growth of women’s snowboarding, telling Burton Girls:
Yes, it’s really cool to see how women’s snowboarding is progressing right now. It’s not just that the tricks are getting bigger, but the style has also gotten way better! With so many young riders like Hailey [Langland] and Chloe [Kim], I’m not worried about the future at all.
Gasser has plenty of reason to be confident.
She returned to the sport in the 2016-17 season, after seeing her previous season cut short by injury, and found herself on the podium at nearly every event she competed in, including the Burton U.S. Open (slopestyle) and the PyeongChang Olympic test event (big air). Gasser also notched three X Games medals – gold, silver and bronze – as well as World Snowboard Tour season titles, one for slopestyle and one for big air and captured an FIS World Cup title for big air.