By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
As some of the world’s best snowboarders converge upon Mammoth Mountain for an Olympic preliminary competition this week, the Santa Clarita Valley will be represented by one of its own.
Kinsley White, 18, was born and raised in the SCV and now has the opportunity of a lifetime by competing in the halfpipe at the U.S. Toyota Snowboarding Grand Prix beginning Thursday at Mammoth Mountain. This will serve as the last domestic U.S. Snowboard and Freeski Olympic Event.
“It means a lot to represent Santa Clarita, a place where I grew up surrounded by wonderful people,” said White. “Whenever they announce my name and they say I’m from Santa Clarita, it’s a big deal that makes me proud.”
White started her snowboarding career when she was just 3 years old. Her older sister, who White says was very good and was better than her, was her inspiration to try to be great and what got her to love snowboarding.
White and her sister would make friends with members of the Mammoth snowboard team at just 7 years old, which is when her career really started to take off as she competed with them in various events across the country.
“When I first started, I practiced every weekend from 9 to 3 with a lunch break in between,” said White. “The first year I competed, I went to Nationals in Colorado and ended up winning the halfpipe event. After that was when I decided I wanted to be this good and see how far I can grow in this profession.”
White’s accolades include competing at the national level as well as a U.S. Revolution Tour and Junior Jam. With all the accomplishments she has made in her young career, her biggest stage will be the Grand Prix, which has been host to the final events before various winter Olympic events and home to the U.S. Snowboarding Team’s practice grounds since 2001.
White now has the opportunity to complete her lifelong goal, to compete at the Winter Olympics.
“This has been my dream since I was younger, for the chance to be able to compete at the Olympics,” said White. “It would make me feel like all the sacrifices myself and my family has made for me will have truly paid off. Being in this qualifier and being on the list of people they pick (from) to compete in the Olympics makes me feel like I did something in this sport. My family has helped me through all of this.”