Jamie Anderson has had no shortage of success as a snowboarder. Heading into the 2018 Olympics, Jamie has won four X-Games gold medals, six World Snowboard Tour championships and a gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Away from the competition, Jamie stays grounded with her seven siblings, her boyfriend Tyler Nicholson and her parents.
Her unique upbringing in Tahoe, California prompted Jamie to be passionate about nature and preserving the environment. Jamie explained to Today.com that her mother’s decision to home-school their family, and give them a lot of time outside made a drastic difference in her life.
“It brings tears to my eyes, how much I feel that same vibration that kids should be kids,” Jamie told Today.com. “I think it’s sad how much time kids have to spend inside nowadays and I have so much gratitude for how my mom and dad chose to raise my family. I look now at how successful we all are — and I believe what my mom says that kids are naturally driven to learn and progress.”
Learn more about Jamie’s family, her parents and the bond shared by the Anderson siblings.
1. Jamie Is 1 of 8 Siblings With 5 Sisters & 2 Brothers
Jamie grew up in South Lake Tahoe in a big family with five sisters and two brothers. One of the ways she fell in love with snowboarding was watching her siblings have fun with the sport.
“I grew up watching my sisters and seeing kids at the local mountain hit jumps,” Jamie told NBC. “After I hit my first jump, I knew this was something I was going to pursue.”
Given the size of the family, Jamie and her siblings had to be resourceful. While she loves snowboarding, she understands the expenses associated with the sport keeps some kids from participating.
“Snowboarding is such an expensive sport,” Jamie told Huck Magazine. “I feel so lucky that I was given hand-me-downs from family friends, my sisters and everyone else, and that I eventually got to become this professional snowboarder. I also want to give back to the mountains that have supported me for a decade strong.”
2. Jamie’s Mother Lauren Decided to Home-school Her Daughter so She Could Spend More Time Snowboarding
Jamie’s mother Lauren had an unorthodox approach to schooling her children, which drew criticism from other members of her family. Lauren wanted her children to experience more than just text books, and allowed for a little less structure than a traditional school system. Jamie explained the freedom she had growing up in an interview with NBC.
“My parents have always supported me and they still come to my events and support me each day,” Jamie told NBC. “My mom homeschooled me so I could spend most days snowboarding at Sierra with my siblings.”
Lauren admits she was more concerned with her kids becoming well-rounded than simply learning school subjects. In an interview with Today.com, Lauren explained what she wanted her children to gain from the home school educational experience.
“I wanted them to be like children, playing outside, running and jumping and not sitting inside at a desk,” Lauren told Today. “They got to be free, building their bodies, protecting their spirits and minds, and not being pushed or pressured….They went on the mountain and skied and snowboarded and they took the bus, and then they came home and did schoolwork — just to make it official. There wasn’t a big push for them to read and write and do arithmetic. I wanted them to learn how to get along and let life be the teacher. Character-building was more important than academics.”
3. Jamie & Her Sister Joanie Anderson Became the First Siblings to Win Gold at the X-Games
Jamie is not the only member of the family to love snowboarding. According to ESPN, she and her sister Joanie Anderson made history by becoming the first siblings to both win gold at the X-Games Aspen 2007. Joanie spoke with ESPN about the historic moment for their family.
“The entire family was in Aspen to support us, so it was a huge celebration,” Joanie told ESPN. “We won within moments of each other. Our family was literally running back and forth between the slopestyle and boardercross courses to watch us. Jamie won first, then the family ran over to the boardercross venue just in time to watch me win. I had no idea that Jamie had just gotten gold until my mom jumped the fence and ran over to me to congratulate me and tell me. It was surreal and such an incredible moment!”
Joanie would go on to win a bronze medal at the 2010 X-Games, before retiring after the 2011 games. Her sister Jamie continued to be one of the best snowboarders in the world. Joanie explained to ESPN that there was not a sibling rivalry, but the two still managed to bring out the best in each other.
“We were constantly challenging and pushing each other at home and on the mountain,” Joanie told ESPN. “I think it’s where we all got our competitive drive. Stacie, Jamie and I grew up on the snowboard team together. If one of us learned a new trick, the other two wouldn’t be far behind…There has never been any sibling rivalry, just support. We were never against each other, only with each other.”
4. Jamie’s Mom Purchased a Vermont Farm to Raise Alpacas
With her kids out of the house, Lauren made a move across the country to Vermont where she bought a farmhouse along with three alpacas. According to the Vermont Standard, she worked on a nearby farm to pay off the cost of the alpacas. Not only is it awesome to have pet alpacas, Lauren has a business plan for her alpacas and small farm. She worked with New England Fiber Pool who uses alpaca fiber to make clothing items including sweaters, gloves and hats. Jamie spoke with the Vermont Standard about her mother’s surprising move.
“My mom has always loved Vermont and she’s been talking about it my whole life,” Jamie told the Vermont Standard. “When she had the motivation to pick up and move and make the journey all the way across the country…I was surprised, but I also 100 percent supported her to follow her heart and do what makes her happy.”
Lauren made a good point on why people should have faith she can raise alpacas. “I raised eight kids, I think I can do alpacas,” Lauren told the Vermont Standard.
5. Jamie’s Dad Lives in Tahoe in a Sled-Accessible Cabin & Enjoys Playing the Harmonica
With a family of eight plus her parents, money was not always overflowing. The family lived on her father’s salary, who was a firefighter at the time. Jamie explained to NBC that things were tight growing up.
“Our entire family — 10 people — was living off of my dad’s income,” Jamie told NBC. “He was a firefighter, so I used hand-me-down gear from my sisters. We were all a very close and supportive family and nothing has changed.”
Huck Magazine described Jamie’s mother and father as “hippie parents who couldn’t afford to take their kids to the mountains.” Her parents remain passionate about the environment. According to Huck, Jamie’s father now lives in a small cabin in Tahoe where he enjoys listening to country music, and playing the harmonica. Jamie has also picked up playing the harmonica, but admits she is not as good as her father. She’s likely too busy winning gold medals to put a lot of time into her new hobby.