Queralt Castellet, one of Spain's and the world's best Halfpipe snowboarders. The last fourteen years she rides at the pro tours and major championships. Her last season was one of her best seasons in her career with two World Cup and one X-Games gold medal. Who is Queralt Castellet, our Spanish Furia?
Where are you born and did you grow up?
I was born in Barcelona and lived all my childhood life in Sabadell (North-West of Barcelona) where I went to school and practiced gymnastics and during the weekends I was always in the mountains snowboarding.
When did you start with snowboarding and who were your childhood heroes in snowboarding?
My parents set a caravan every year in Ordino, Andorra and that’s where we would go to shred all together. My favorite was riding with my brother and his friends as they always would go for fresh lines and built jumps! My favorite snowboarder was Kazu (and I think he still is!) but I looked up too many riders that I would see on the videos back then like Nicholas Muller, Iker Fernández, Ikka Backstrom, Peter Line, Devun Walsh, and many other shredders!
They all influenced the way I look at snowboarding and understand my sport and then I looked up to riders like Torah or Gretchen, who became kind of guides for me, as to be able to reach their level and style I would have to follow their steps and learn from their riding
Why did you choose Halfpipe snowboarding?
I really like any and every face of snowboarding, the reason why I mostly compete in Halfpipe, (even though I also enjoy taking part in some Big air events now and then) is that when I started competing, halfpipe was the discipline that was also in the Olympics. However, by the time Slopestyle became bigger and became an Olympic discipline, the level of snowboarding had risen so much that it required a full-time dedication to make it to the top.
However, I love to ride it all and I am one of the only snowboarders that have podiumed in a World Cup Big Air and a World Cup Halfpipe, I qualified for Big Air as well as Halfpipe in the WOG 2018 which would have allowed me to compete in Slopestyle as well but due to snowboarding being a high impact action sport I suffered a shoulder injury that needed surgery and because it was the Olympic year, I focused in the Halfpipe as it is my pet event.
It was my goal to represent Spain in both disciplines in 2018. Because I was riding with a torn labrum that would sublux whilst training and competing I had to make a choice. I had surgery on my shoulder as soon as I finished the 2018 season.
We see a lot of Freeskiers combine Halfpipe and Slopestyle/Big Air, Why don't we see that in snowboarding?
Currently, the depth and competitiveness of Freeskiing on the female side is not as strong as the sport of snowboarding, however, I am sure that in the future the female Freeskiing will become stronger to the point that will require full dedication in one discipline.
What are your favorite tricks and are you famous for, which tricks are you training for to stomp them better in contests?
My strongest tricks are the Back to back nine combos, also the Switch backside spins and Front tens are the tricks that allowed me to achieve my best results. Currently, I am working on getting my Cab and Switch backside game stronger to add bigger combos in my runs.
In the last decade, we see a decline of Halfpipe snowboarders who ride contests on a Pro level. Only a few countries still invest in snowboard Halfpipe riders as well. How did this happen and how do you think this can be changed so more girls will start riding Halfpipe?
What could be helpful in your eyes to get young kids starting Half Pipe? I think it’s a discipline that requires a lot of practice, spending a lot of time riding the halfpipe and riding transitions. The current regulation size of the halfpipes in the contest is 22 ft. which even though it’s much safer than smaller halfpipes like we use to have in the past.
Nowadays there aren’t many 22ft halfpipes in the world to practice, and neither there are that many shapers that can make them well, and that doesn’t help. The level of technicality and precision required to ride a Halfpipe well already gives you the skills to be able to ride any sort of terrain in any snowboarding discipline. If I had the choice, I would like to see an education platform for resorts and individuals to get the tools and skills on how to build them and maintain them so all levels of snowboarders could ride them. However, the governing body of the sport which is FIS likes to own the sport, but not to grow it.
How is your life during the winter season and during the summer season?
In the Winter I travel around the world and make it to all the events and try to win. In Spring I train to learn the tricks that will give me the results on the next season and in Summer I travel to the Southern Hemisphere to keep working on it and if I can’t, I go to the glaciers in Switzerland.
Because I am a professional snowboarder, I am constantly working to achieve my goals as it is not only my profession but also my passion. During winter and summer, I sometimes take eventual resting periods of a week or ten days to disconnect and recover.
You won many World Cups and World Cup podiums, and you won X games gold on the Halfpipe. Your Olympic and World championship record is not as high as in the World Cups, Is there a reason for it?
I think even though the conditions and the competition are the same in all these events, the environment is completely different. I have entered every World Champs and Olympic Games with the same preparation and chances to do well than in a World Cup event, however, it has never quite worked out for me yet!
You are already a veteran at still a young age, what have you seen changing during your career in women snowboarding?
As you said, at the moment there are many more young riders in the field than years ago. This is a perfect sign that shows our sport is rising so much and it’s great to see!
What are your goals and dreams for the coming years?
Become a greater snowboarder, enjoy every day I strap in like the first one, learn more from the mountain and my environment, push my limits, and share my achievements with all my friends!
Will there be a contest season this season that you know?
At the moment it seems like it’s on, however, we are all aware that anything can change at any moment. It is for that that we have to keep being very careful and responsible and consider the seriousness of this virus. If we are very careful and follow the rules, the contest season will go ahead.