INTERVIEW: ALEXIS WAITE
December 15, 2006
The first time I crossed paths with Alexis Waite was in July 2003, at High Cascade Snowboard Camp, where Waite was a coach. I had just stomped my first backside board slide, and I heard someone say, “That was sick! Great job!” I glanced up and was greeted by Waite’s enormous smile. I nodded my thanks and we hiked back up to the top of the rail, introducing ourselves and making small talk. At the time, I did not realize that Waite was a professional snowboarder but I found out soon after and instantly felt a streak of excitement.
Alexis Waite began snowboarding twelve years ago. She lived every young snowboarder’s dream: attending the Stratton Mountain School and focusing on the school’s specialty, half pipe. After leaving SMS, she moved across the country to Lake Tahoe, California to begin focusing on becoming a pro and improving her slopestyle skills. Her current sponsors include Roxy, Thirty-Two, Etnies Girl, and Electric.
Waite exploded into the competition scene in 2000, winning the USSA Eastern Regional Halfpipe competition in Stratton, VT. Over the next few years, she continued to dominate, winning the Steven’s Pass Pro Halfpipe Competition three years in a row. Sometimes referred to as Sexy Lexi by commentators, she has been killing it ever since with first place standings in high profile competitions such as the 2003 Vans Triple Crown Jib Contest and the 2003 Summer Windell’s Bonfire Triple Rail Jam. Her other competition achievements include the finals of the 2004 Winter X-Games. She entered the 2005 Winter X-Games in hope of reaching the finals once again, but was stopped short due to a wipe out in her practice run that resulted in a broken eye socket, cheekbone, and wrist.
Waite has received coverage in industry magazines, including advice columns in TransWorld Snowboarding magazine and the cover of SG Magazine. Her ads for Roxy, Electric, and Etnies can be found in all of the top snowboard magazines. Waite has also been a guest on Fuel TV’s “First Hand Experience,” as well as filling in the co-host position on “The Daily Habit,” this past October.
Her riding has also been featured in several videos including “411VM,” issues 6 and 7, “Exit Real World Team Video,” 2002-2003, “Declaration,” “Neoproto,” and most notably, “As IF!” and this season’s “Ro Sham Bo.” “As IF!” and “Ro Sham Bo” are produced by Misschief Films, an all-female film company established by riders Fabia Bruebler and Amber Stackhouse. This season, Waite will be working with a new company called Runway Films.
Currently, Waite is living in Salt Lake City with roommate, and fellow Roxy rider, Erin Comstock. She has been busy this season shooting photos for the 07/08 Roxy catalog, riding in Switzerland and hitting rails in Vancouver. This season will be challenging for her, because she has decided to postpone surgery on her injured wrist until the summer, as surgery now would mean a recovery time of 6 months.
In the future, Waite hopes to establish herself in the fashion world by designing clothes. She has experience helping with Thirty-Two’s women product development and designing two Roxy jackets for this season. She also helped develop the Roxy Ollie Pop, along with Comstock and Stackhouse, assisting with the design of both the graphics and the board construction of one of the first women-specific twin-tip boards on the market. Although Waite does not plan on quitting snowboarding anytime soon, she currently works as an intern at Roxy, helping out in the street wear department. Keep on eye out for the Alexis Waite pro model jacket in the near future.
Jackie Stickley: How did you end up getting a sponsorship with Roxy?
Alexis Waite: I was riding for Santa Cruz snowboards and they had put me on the International Pro team and had run some ads of me and then they decided that they didn’t want to pay me for being a pro, they were just going to have me represent for free. I liked riding for Santa Cruz but I had to make a point to them that they can’t treat their riders like that so I just quit. It was a pretty crazy thing for me to do but morally I had to. So I spent my first season riding pro for 32, Etnies, Planet Earth, and Velvet without a board sponsor. I tried out a lot of different boards and was talking to a lot of different companies. Roxy wanted me to ride for them and it took a long time for me to see all the benefits because I really wanted to be a more core girl than I thought Roxy would make me but I learned that actually, when it comes to supporting women in sports and women in general, Roxy is the very BEST! It might seem a little girly at times but it is way cooler to have a company that fully supports women as riders than having a company that only has you on the team because they have to have one girl.
JS: What is your favorite trick?
AW: I love jumping and I really like doing backside corked 5’s, it feels fun! Also I like doing McTwists in the pipe. That trick is like riding a bike for me, I don’t have to do it much, but it always comes back. That is fun too.
JS: While you were attending Stratton Mountain School, what made decide to focus on slopestyle versus half pipe?
AW: When I was at Stratton Mountain School I was totally focused on halfpipe. Slopestyle was this awesome thing I really wanted to do but our coaches wanted to coach us in the pipe. When I left school I continued to compete in the pipe and I got bored. I was living in Tahoe with my friends and we rode in the park a lot and they told me I should start riding slopestyle! I did my first pro-slopestyle event and loved the coach-free loose atmosphere. I then pretty much quit competing in the pipe and focused on riding the park and filming handrails and backcountry jumps with my friends.
JS: What is your favorite snowboard movie and why?
AW: “As IF!” is my favorite snowboard movie of all-time because it is the first women’s snowboard movie that meant anything. Second would definitely be Robot Food’s “Afterbang”
JS: Do you listen to music while you ride? If so, what do you listen to?
AW: Yeah I like to. My most common songs I rock for contest runs are:
Jerk it Out- The Ceasars
Sinking Hearts- The Organ
Y Control- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Kick start my Heart- Motley Crue
And I think Nelly Furtado’s “maneater” has the right beat, that one I’ll definitely rock this year.
JS: What female rider do you admire or respect the most?
AW: I have the most respect for Natasza Zurek. She is awesome, learns every trick every way before learning her next, never sold herself out and never quits. She is an incredible individual.
JS: If you could pick anywhere to board, where would it be?
AW: I would love to go to South America right now. I have never been and everyone who has, has stories to tell. I love adventures. I also think shredding a wave like I can a mountain would be pretty amazing. I would love that, currently surfing can be fun but it usually just frustrates me because I can imagine what it feels like to kill it on a wave but I just can’t do it yet!
JS: Is Misschief Films going to be filming a third video this winter? And if so, can you divulge any details you may know?
AW: No it is NOT doing a third video. They couldn’t decide what to do until last week (end of November) which is a huge bummer because it left all the rider’s hanging and with nothing to do. Leanne Pelosi, Erin Comstock and I have stepped up and created Runway Films to fill the void. I think it is going to be sick. It is rider run and will kill it!
JS: Do you have any advice for girls who are too intimidated in the park?
AW: Well, if you don’t try, you’ll never learn and if you want to learn, suck it up and try! Stay within your ability, push just a little higher than you think you can go, NOT a lot higher and listen to your intuition. There is a difference between knowing you can’t and thinking you can’t.
Posted by freelance on 12/15/06