You could argue that 16-year old Chloe Kim has accomplished more than most do in their lifetime. Competing in eight major snowboarding contests last season, she walked away with her second consecutive X Games gold medal (the youngest person to ever do so) and a record-breaking win at the Burton US Open. Among this season's historic moments, she also became the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s in a contest. There’s a lot to be impressed by, but Chloe also recently celebrated her 16th birthday and had cake thrown in her face, so there's that.
Although snowboarding has a lot to do with who Chloe is, we're curious about the other parts of her life, too. Sixteen has been a big year for her: her astounding contest results are one thing, but she also learned to drive, met a famous DJ, did tons of traveling, and much more. At this year's Rider Roundtable back in May, we were lucky enough to sit down with Chloe and fall in love with her humility, fun-loving attitude, and easy humor.
Congrats on an incredible season. For this year's ESPY awards, you've been nominated for Best Breakthrough Athlete and Best Female Action Sports Athlete. Where would winning either of these rank on your list of achievements?
It would definitely be up there! It's such an honor to be nominated and I think it'll be an amazing experience.
With so many awesome moments, can you talk to us about some that stand out for you?
Being able to land the back-to-back 10s was definitely one of the bigger achievements this season. It meant a lot because I was the first person to do it, but it was also a dream I’ve always had, like “I want to do back to back 10s one day, when I’m a big girl.”
When did you start thinking about that?
I was probably eight or nine. I think that just always feels cool: when you achieve your little-girl-dreams.
What’s next on your little-girl-dream list?
Obviously winning X Games was one of those dreams, but I would have never thought it would have happened by the age of 15—even just going to the X Games was a dream come true for me. I just want to stay consistent in my contests, and try to stay on the podium. This season that really worked out, but on top of it all, I had so much fun. We travelled so much this year, I was worried that it would get to me, and maybe bring me down a bit. I definitely had tough moments, but I got used to it and had a lot of fun.
How do you handle those tough moments?
I just try and stay as positive as I can—see it as an opportunity instead of a task or a job. That keeps me up: Realizing that I get to travel with all my best friends, have fun, and do what I love.
So how about now, what’s life like in the summer time?
I’m going to Hawaii for a week for my dad’s 60th birthday, and then I’ll be going to New Zealand for two months. Before that I’ll be in Park City getting back into shape. Since I’m goofy-footed, my left leg gets really strong which puts my right leg at risk of injury. So I spend time getting stronger in order to have more confidence in my body and trust myself.
What do you listen to when you’re snowboarding?
I’m always all over the place with my music. Sometimes I go over to the country side of things and then I go to pop. As of now, I’m really digging that new Rihanna album.
Are there any things that you're bad at?
Any sport that involves a ball, I’m terrible at. Soccer, volleyball, tennis, ping pong, pool—can’t do any of it. I tried to play pool with Hailey last night and she’d get them all in and I’d still have all of mine left. I’m not really good at anything besides snowboarding.
So you’re 16 and you have your license…
Haha, yeah but my dad won’t let me go by myself. He blames it on the insurance, but I know deep down it’s not the insurance it’s him not being able to let me go.
That’s pretty funny. Well if you could drive anywhere right now, where would you go?
Right now? Hmm, probably Laguna or Seal Beach, I love it there.
Do you surf?
I’ve definitely tried multiple times annnnd it’s hard. I can’t do it. But I do skateboard!
That’s awesome, so can you tell us about meeting Steve Aoki?
He hit me up on Instagram before he came to Mammoth. I met him, we went with a big crew to Roberto’s, and it was really cool talking to him. He asked me a bunch about snowboarding: We were talking about crashing, how we learn tricks and how he got into it. He was a really cool guy, I was pumped on meeting him. The next day he had a whole airbag setup and he was learning to backflip. I was helping him out, it was pretty sick.
What tips were you giving him?
Well, I was telling him that he needed a lot of airtime, so to go a bit faster into the bag and stay compact, ‘cause that makes you spin and flip faster. He did great. The first one he came around to his stomach and the next time made it to his butt.
You ever listen to his music?
Yeah! That’s why I was even more excited, because my sister is old enough to go to clubs and stuff and she hears his music and she likes it. So I was like “Hey you know, Steve hit me up,” and she’s like “Steve who?” I said “Steve Aoki, you know you’re always blasting his music in your room.” She was pretty hyped on it.
That’s funny, I bet she was. Before we go can you tell us a little about keeping up with school while you’re on the road so much?
It’s really hard. This summer looks really intense for me school-wise. I try and knock out as much as I can during the summer so that I don’t need to worry about it in the winter when I’m competing. So this year I’m going to try to finish most of my classes so I don’t need to worry about it this coming season. I’m going to try and do a lot of my senior stuff, cause my senior year is the Olympic year, so I really can’t be doing school that year. I’m just going to try and finish everything right now, which is going to be terrible this summer, but I know that it’s going to be worth it. ∆
Lead photo taken by Gabe L'Heureux.