In the first two decades of the millennium, Norwegian snowboarder Kjersti Buaas was one of the most game-changing riders on the slopes and contests. Lifting the sport to the next level in all categories this sport had to offer. From Olympian athlete to Olympian coach and much much more. Being retired from contest riding we contacted her and asked about how her life, after her successful snowboard career.

Who is Kjersti Buaas, for the readers who might not know you?

My name is Kjersti Buaas, and I grew up in Trondheim, Norway. As a child, I loved to be active and my parents always encouraged me and my sisters to play all kinds of sports, like cross country skiing, soccer, ballet, and so on. We were always spending lots of time outdoors in the beautiful Norwegian nature. I started snowboarding when I was 12, after discovering it through my older sister. I just wanted to be like her and when she went snowboarding with her friends I would try to catch up even if I was not as fast. I think that helped me progress quicker.

When I was 14 I entered my first snowboard competition and a few years later I was on the Norwegian Jr National team. In 1999 I won my first international medal, the jr world champs in Telluride, Colorado. I was so stoked about the snowboard lifestyle because it was playful and open for individual creativity. I also got to ride with my role model Stine Brun Kjeldaas who won silver in the Nagano Olympics in 1998. That inspired me to follow my heart and travel the world with my snowboard. I continue progressing and put all my focus into snowboarding. In 2000 I officially turned pro and got a deal with Burton Europe and since then I competed on the international circuit for 20 years, in both slopestyle, halfpipe, big air, and freeriding. In 2002 I went to my first Olympics and in 2006 I won a medal in Turin Olympics, representing my home country Norway.

I am now using my platform as an athlete to share all the valuable tools I have gained through my long career. I am passionate about being a force for good, focusing on being the best for the world over being the best in the world. Even if I don't compete anymore I still work with several non-profits and responsible companies in the snowboard and outdoor industry. I helped arrange the first zero-waste snowboard event with my partner Chanelle Sladics and we are also the founders of PRSNT Women's Adventure Retreats. I also have a permaculture design certificate, Wilderness First Responder and I am a mind-body green-certified meditation teacher. In addition, I am also a Kind Humans advocate, aiming to spread and extend messaging like Kindnesspass it on throughout the world, through guided meditation and an active, playful, healthy lifestyle.

 

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Looking Back at your snowboard career, did you fulfill your dreams and goals you set up for yourself?

I look at my snowboard career as an amazing adventure. I have got to travel the world and explored so many different cultures. It is a true privilege. Being able to pursue such a career is something I don't take for granted and I know I am “lucky”. At the same time, I have worked hard to accomplish the dreams and goals I set. I am very appreciative of each accolade because they all represent so much more than a result of an award. They represent a journey.

Since I was a kid I always wanted to operate from a light heart. Being playful and supporting my friends and family was always the most important to me, and it still is. Life is about all of us coming together, learning to work together and uplift each other. There will always be challenges but if I can accomplish enjoying the ride, no matter if it’s labeled as bad or good, I feel like I win. The true goal of life for me is to live in and embrace this moment as much as I can. It is the only one we truly have.

Do you still have a lot of contact with riders from your generation and with whom?

Yes, social media has made it much easier to stay in touch with people from back in the day that I don't see so much in real person anymore. That is pretty neat. I still see Stine when I go to Oslo and I stay in touch with my girlfriends from “tøyteklubben” (Norwegian sister squad consisting of Lisa Wiik, Stine Brun Kjeldaas, Christel Thoresen, and Anne Modlin Kongsgaard).

The ladies from the One Life Crew are important to me because they were a big part of my life. Sarka Pancochova, Jamie Anderson Chanelle Sladics, Bev Vuilleumier, and Marie France Roy. I also chat with the old Roxy crew, my former Burton mates, and the people I have competed with. The snowboarding industry seemed so big when I was a kid but now I see that it is quite a small family consisting of people who nerd out hard on snowboarding :)

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You are an international speaker, what topics do you talk about?

With the current situation of everything happening in the world we have all had to adapt, adjust, accept & allow... for non-resistance, for change. For me, that means not as much physical speaker work and traveling, which in many forms is a good thing. Less flying for more people will help with co2 emissions. I do host some online speaks and it is working well for now. I love to touch on topics like breath awareness, presentness, the environment, health, and sustainability.

In my workshops, I like to integrate breathing techniques because it is something everyone can do and that makes people feel more connected, to themselves, to each other, and nature. My favorite speech so far was at the United Nations after the 2018 Olympics. Chanelle, Klaudia Medlova, and I got to go to New York on an invitation from the UN president. I held a three-minute breathing session with the audience. I was nervous, but it made me feel like I was competing again, a mindset I like to tap into often.

Not because I am competitive, but because it brings out the best in me: playfulness, clear focus, and quality work.

What are PRSNT and BPRSNT and what are they standing for?

We started PRSNT because we believe in the magic of the PRSNT moment. When we tap into this moment, we also tap into the pure source and essence of life itself. To #BPRSNT is a practice where all the moving parts matter. When we open up time in our day and allow for the physical, mental and spiritual to develop, strengthen and come together in alignment, we establish greater awareness and connection to our “inner" body. The body is always PRSNT, and we can use tools like the breath to help guide our wandering minds into the PRSNT moment.

We can use movement and breath to help move energy that may get stuck in the body to get back into the flow. Like anything else, the capacity to be in the #PRSNT moment strengthens as we practice. Most top-performing humans reach their highest level of performance because they have invested energy and intention towards developing these specific tools. You can totally improve your snowboarding, your connection to nature and the snow, and your ability to focus by using these tools, tapping into the now, and channel a PRSNT state of mind. When we are PRSNT we can connect with our self’s on a much deeper level, accessing creativity, joy, and playfulness, all ingredients that are a part of the recipe for success.

PRSNT Adventure Retreats intertwine yin & yang activities to promote balance, health, and happiness. We host women's adventure retreats in locations all over the world. Through healthy living workshops,  environmental education, and outdoor adventures, PRSNT aims to accelerate personal growth in a fun group setting. Adventure retreat activities are human-powered and include, but are not limited to: snowboarding, split-boarding, hiking, surfing, yoga, SUP, slack-lining, rock climbing, nutrition workshops, raw cooking classes, reflection circles, meditation, and goal setting coupled with campfire vibes and positivity At our retreats we aim to dip a little deeper than the norm and focus on creating a safe space where the retreaters can be themselves. Find out more on www.prsnt.co

 

You do a lot of volunteer work, which charities are important for you, and what made it your passion to work for these charities?

Yes! I love nature and no matter where I am in the world I find that nature always feels like home. In the forest, I breathe deeper. On the top of the mountain, after a strenuous hike up, I open up and let go of my fears. By the river, I flow with more ease. In nature, I feel safe to let my guards of separation down because it’s grandness makes me realize that we as individuals only are small pieces of a bigger picture. Maybe you don't feel the same but I think that whatever our worldview is, your ideals or principles, I am confident that deep down we can agree on one thing: Nature is worth protecting and nature is our responsibility. Nature is a part of us.

We are not separate from anything, in fact, we are all a part of everything! I am passionate to take care of nature and educate ourselves myself on how I can level up and use my platform to be a positive light in this world. The action sports community has, as long as I have known it, never been afraid to challenge the status quo. That is why I work with and am an ambassador for @protectourwinters and @protectourwintersnorge - That makes ripples into big waves and sprinkles of snow into powder fields. Make sure to check out @protectourwinters 🌎 Together we can make a massive impact and help save the beautiful, natural playgrounds we love to play in.

 

Also, Simply Straws and Zeal Optics are examples of companies that are working to make this world a cleaner, more sustainable place to live for both humans and animals. Simply Straws help reduce the absurd amount of plastic straws that become tangled in sea animals and the ocean and landfills by offering an alternative like glass straws. Kind Humans is another initiative I stand behind. Spreading kindness is more important than ever in this chaotic, sea parted world.

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Klaudia Medlova asked you and Chanelle Sladics to become her coaches at the 2018 Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang. How was it to be a coach instead of a rider at the Olympics?

It was such a fun opportunity to share all the awesome tools I have learned through my career as a professional athlete. We had so much fun being the only full women's team in snowboarding, representing three different countries. I had all kinds of jobs, on snow coach, fitness coach, mental coach, wax technician, on start coach, and mental support. 

Klaudia was fun to work with because she is so lighthearted and playful. My most memorable moment was when we went to the City of Soul and explored the street food. This lady was throwing around a whole octopus and the locals were super friendly. That is one of the things I am the most grateful for from traveling, meeting and connecting with people from other corners of the world, learning about their way of living.

We may seem different at first glance but I always find that humans are very connected at heart :)

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Which sports are you still in to and please explain what each sport does to your mindest and fitness?

I love yoga. Surfing is also becoming a favorite activity but it’s hard to learn!! I also love to climb outdoors.  It’s a holistic way to be active. I feel like climbing is so natural to humans, it challenges my body and mind in such a good way. Climbing has grown to become a lifestyle and activity that I cherish and love.

Through the lens of a snowboarder, I have always looked at the mountain as a canvas to ride down, but climbing has been teaching me that the way up can be just as fun. Climbing requires patience, focus, and trust, all qualities I want to strengthen. Climbing slows me down in a good way.

As I am taking each step at a time, really tuning into the moment, I realize how much different rock there is everywhere. I never knew how much uniqueness there can be on a single wall. Rough and sharp, smooth and “soft”, big holds, small pockets, tiny shelves, pieces of moss, grass, flowers, and big trees growing out of the stone... I am so mesmerized and fascinated by all these details.

Yet, I am not only learning to trust my foot and handholds and to connect with nature on a much deeper level, but I am also learning to connect deeper with “my self”, trusting my self more outside of climbing. Bringing the things I learn from climbing and bridging them into relationships, work and other areas of my life are so beautiful.

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New projects and adventures on the way?

Yes, Chanelle and I built out a sprinter van that we are traveling with. This winter we are taking it to the snow and we are super excited to see how our work holds up in the cold. We converted it ourselves (with some very helpful people), and it is a true work of art. Her name is #ladylunasprinter and you can follow our adventures on Instagram and www.ecovanbuild.com.

I am also focusing on fine-tuning my skills as a meditation teacher and also as a guide for people to use their bodies actively. I think the combination of a still mind and an active body is very important. Through PRSNT and PRSNTfit I host workshops and facilitate retreats that embody these principles. I am also working on some online healthy living courses.

I am spending a lot of time listening and observing.

Life is in constant fluctuation and it is natural for forms to change, shift, and dissolve. Just look up at the sky. Nothing is very permanent and when life takes its turns, our job is to shift with it. Allow and accept. The whole world as we know it is pretty much turned upside down, inside out. It is a challenge of a dimension greater than most of us could ever have imagined. The question is, what can we learn from this? And can we enjoy this moment now, even if it’s challenging and hard?

Can we breathe deeper into this moment when we are not free to go as wide as we are used to? We can learn so much from the mountains & nature. Always allowing for storms to pass through, without judgment and fear. Nature teaches us to breathe deeper into the moment. A sense of peace and quiet lives there…:)

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ONLINE/ SOCIAL LINKS:

 

www.kjerstibuaas.com

www.prsnt.co

 

@bprsnt

@kjerstibuaas

@chanellesladics

 

#BPRSNT #PRSNT

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