By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
September 8, 2015
Kelly Clark is a four-time Winter Olympian (2002 through 2014) who has won a gold medal and two bronze medals. The halfpipe specialist has said that if she stays at the top of her game, she would love to represent Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“There’s nothing like the Olympics,” says Clark, who is based out of California. “The Salt Lake City Games was such a memorable experience. For me, winning the first gold medal for the United States on U.S. soil was a big moment in my career. There have been some great competitions that stand out. The X Games in Athens was fun, too. And more recently, the U.S. Open in Vail was a really great venue as well.”
Q. Do you prefer beach or cold-weather vacations?
A. I go where it’s warm! I spend a lot of time where people vacation during the winter, so I have it pretty covered already on the winter side of things. I like to go to the beach. My friends and I take an annual trip to Central America. Costa Rica and Nicaragua are beautiful. We enjoy renting a house together in a more remote place that’s a little bit further away from the tourist areas. It’s a nice way to experience the culture. When I’m on vacation, I like not being on a schedule where you have to eat between certain hours. I like being able to take a nap whenever I want to. (Laughs)
Q. When you travel, what kind of food do you gravitate toward?
A. I’m actually not an adventurous eater. I was never forced to eat a lot of what I considered weird foods as a kid. So some people might regard me as a boring, safe diner, especially if I’m competing. I never have to worry too much about eating too much, though. The level of activity means that I have to ensure that I actually eat enough. Recovery food is really important to me. I really like smoothies at the snack bars in between workouts.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. We had a restaurant in Vermont and lived in Rhode Island for a while on a boat on an island. Every spring we would go to Florida for vacation on Spring Break on a road trip. It was fun. My brother and I sat in the back seat and my mom drove an old Cadillac. We had snacks in an old (Igloo) Playmate cooler. We didn’t have a CD player or iPhones to look at. We were told, “Don’t bother us,” and “No, we’re not there yet.” Those trips were full of lots of really good memories.
Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?
A. The more prepared I am, the more enjoyable it is. If I don’t have things well thought out, I stress out about finding the shampoo that I forgot or whatever. I like being prepared in general. Honestly, with my snowboarding and different things, it’s so easy to overpack. But I’ve found that keeping it really simple works. I basically wear the same thing every day when I snowboard.
Q. Do you unpack right away when you return home?
A. I pack in November and stay packed until April, basically. I’m home for maybe three days and then hit the road again, so that’s the most efficient way.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Tokyo is probably my favorite city. I liked Santiago, Chile, as lot as well. It was a really cool city. Innsbruck right in the middle of the mountains was nice. And then who doesn’t like New York City? It’s an amazing city. And then I recently moved to the Sacramento area and I really like it here.
Q. What do you always travel with?
A. I have to work out every day, even if I’m on vacation. I have to get creative sometimes, depending on the gym facilities. So I always have a little backpack that has exercise bands and cones and a heart-rate monitor. Most hotel gyms aren’t five stars, but that’s OK. I run up and down the stairs in the stairwells.
Q. How do you pass the time on your flights?
A. Being on the plane is one of my favorite things. I never get Wi-Fi on planes. I use it as my downtime. I love those few hours when I’m not on the phone and not dealing with social media. I listen to a lot of music, read and sleep.
Q. If you had extended time off from training, what would you do?
A. I would turn off my phone for a month and take it easy. I went camping (recently) and was out of cell service. It was paradise. I think that it would be healthy for me to turn off my phone periodically and go to the beach or drive up the coast and just relax.
© 2015 JAE-HA KIM
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.
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