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Labor of Love: A Q&A with Sarah Burke


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Featuring skiers Sarah Burke and Jessica Cumming and snowboarders Kjersti Buaas, Torah Bright, Vanessa Coletta, Erin Comstock, Amber Stackhouse, and Alexis Waite, Roxy’s Labor of Love is a whole different kind of chick flick. Freeskiing champion Sarah Burke told us about the film, the girls, and what she’s up to these days.

Skinet Were there any locations in Labor of Love that you hadn’t been to before?
Sarah Burke We went and filmed up in Hokkaido, Japan on the North Island where we had a couple good powder days there, it was awesome. A lot of footage from there was from Terrace in BC. I loved it. There was so much snow, it was great.

Skinet Had you filmed anything with snowboarders in a while?
SB: No I never had. It was really different because when we were filming in Japan, we had to make sure we weren’t traversing too far. But it was cool. They see some things different than I had seen before. So it was cool to get a different perspective.

Skinet Did you try any new things because of them?
SB: Yes, hitting smaller things with different angles to it. I just had a lot of fun filming with them cause it was like another girl, another friend on the mountain.

Skinet Any competition?
SB: None of that I don’t think. I don’t feel like I am in a contest with them because we are all doing different things. Everyone gets along well.

Skinet What skiers do you admire right now?
SB: I still admire (Mike) Douglas because he just knows everything about the mountain. And guys like Simon and TJ and Sammy and those guys just bring a whole new element to things and make everything look so smooth. Grete and Jess and all those girls I find inspiring to me because they push me and make me do things I wouldn’t try if I was on my own. I see them do something and it makes me say okay, I want to try that too. Or let’s try this together.

Skinet Are you trying to get other women’s freeskiing events into the X Games right now?
SB: YES. Halfpipe has been in there for a while and I pushed really hard for that. I have been after them for a couple years for Slopestyle. The talks in September/ October were going really well and I was told that it was pretty much in. Then just last week I got the final that it wasn’t put in because they are worried about the prize purse. I guess two years ago the skateboarders protested like 12 minutes before they were supposed to go on because they weren’t going to get equal prize purses. Which is great, that’s how we ended up getting an equal prize purse for halfpipe. But I think ESPN is terrified of doing something now without making it equal and they don’t know if they can do it. I don’t care how much the prize purse is. If we go back down to $2,000 for that event, I don’t mind, just get it in there.

Skinet What are you trying to improve upon right now?
SB: Everything still. I want to be a better skier for sure because I have my weaknesses there. (I want to be a) lot more solid and fluid and I want to do bigger and better tricks. I did one 1080 in the halfpipe last year and I’d like to get that in my run for competition season. I’d likke to get a new trick invert in there too. I want to make my harder tricks more fluid and not as scary to me. I’d like to be more confident and do bigger cliffs. I got a lot to work on this year but I am excited for it.

Skinet What are you asking for for Christmas?
SB: I haven’t thought about it yet. There was a book that I wanted that I just got, so I can scratch that off the list. I think satellite radio for the car. I am listening to the radio a lot more and it’s not very good in Squamish Whistler, so that would do the trick.

Skinet Where are you most excited to ski this winter?
SB: I am excited to go back to Japan. I booked my ticket yesterday, which is like the first time I have booked a ticket that far in advance in my life. So I am really excited to go back there and have a couple of days to go to a new resort for the world cup and then over to the Nippon Open. I am also working with MSP right now to figure out a cool filming trip to set up. I am trying now to figure out somewhere exotic, somewhere that I haven’t been before. I would be happy going back to Terrace too, it was so much snow and such a great crowd.

Skinet What scares you in the park?
SB: Hitting a big jump for the first time. I am not the greatest at judging my speed. I have learned over time but still don’t quite trust myself with big jumps. I don’t do too many rails these days because I have had my fair share of crashes on them. Being in the air really gives me that rush whereas hitting a rail and doing a 270 on doesn’t give me that same feeling. I like them, I like the challenges of them and maybe I’d like to like them because they do challenge me.

Skinet Have you felt the pressure from younger jibbers coming up?
SB: Yeah definitely. I get heckled for being so old now. I saw Douglas in line skiing yesterday and he’s was like “haven’t you retired yet? The girls are young and they’ve got all this spunk. It’s funny because I look at them and that’s totally how I was. Just going for everything with no fear. There are a lot of good girls coming up and that is something that inspires me too. I am not ready to step down or retire so it inspires me to learn the tricks and keep up to them. It’s awesome cause you get to have new friends and a good time and it’s cool to see a lot more girls coming up and ripping it.

For more on Sarah Burke, the Roxy Team, or Labor of Love, check out