Snowboarder Jules Marino uses fear to fuel her high-style performance

Published February 5, 2018

COLLAGE BY MAXWELL N. BURNSTEIN.

In the lead up to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang on February 8, 2018, we will be introducing 10 young athletes who will be stealing America’s hearts and standing on the podium.

Jules Marino is the wildly creative snowboarder who will be dominating the Women’s Slopestyle and Big Air events as an Olympic freshman. She is the only woman to land a Cab 900 Double Underflip—which, for the layman, translates to two forward flips while rotating two and a half times. The 20-year-old puts the achievement down as a progression for women’s snowboarding instead of a personal victory in looking to push the sport forward.

Making a late debut into snowboarding simply because she broke her skis, Marino quickly mastered the sport, earning four medals in her rookie X Games season this past year alone. A head-turning Big Air performance earned Marino the gold at World Cup in February 2016 as an alternate, and a fast track to the Olympics.

Creativity in snowboarding is…

The ability to express yourself the way you want, and to be as unique and imaginative as you want to be with what you’re doing. It’s a blank canvas and with your snowboard you can invent your own style and adapt tricks. It’s really an open door to whatever kind of possibilities you want to create.

The significance of landing a Cab 900 Double Underflip is…

Less about landing it. The bigger tricks that women are doing these days are a representation of the progression of women’s snowboarding, which is really huge for us. A lot of times there is more focus on the guys, but when we can step up and show that we have great style as well … People are really interested to see what we can do when we push the limits.

The girls I compete against in snowboarding are…

All really supportive of each other. This is really encouraging because you want your friends to do well, and when they want you to do well it brings you together. When you’re riding with friends that believe in you, it brings the experience up.

Channeling your fear…

Is a huge part of it. The mental game is just as big as the physical game—if not bigger. Sometimes I’m really scared to do the trick, but it’s [more] the adrenaline. When there’s training there is a lot more stress to do the tricks, but in the contest you don’t have much time for outside thinking aside from what you’re doing at the moment, which is about to drop into the course—so the fear definitely turns into excitement at that moment.

Competing in slopestyle feels like…

A playground, there is so many different features and they’re always very creative and never the same which is very cool. Now, I’m at the Aspen Grand Prix where there is a quarter pike with a rail on top of it and two jumps that banked to the side like wings, which is cool. No slopestyle course is the same, so when you get to it, you’re surprised but excited to see what you can do on it.

My strength in Big Air…

The fact that it’s just one jump and you don’t have to plan out a whole run like you would in slopestyle. My strength is just staying composed for Big Air because it’s not that complex – it’s just one big jump.

The training involved to get here…

Is mostly behind the scenes which people don’t really see. Like any athlete, you have to work very hard to where you want to be. It’s commitment to doing what you’re doing…the tricks are not easy, and scary. It’s a lot of physical and mental preparation. All the snowboarders are capable of doing these crazy tricks, the part that holds people back is the mental side because it’s scary.

To step away from the sport…

I always have my camera with me, I really enjoy photography. Taking pictures of my friends and places we get to go is like therapy for me if I’m stressed. It’s calming for me.

Leading up to the Games…

I’ve been feeling a lot more stress now being in tour of the really high level completion like X-Games and Dew Tour there is more stress to perform. I put that pressure on myself because I want to do well, but this is the Olympics, which adds stress and places the contests back-to-back. In reality it’s nothing different than I’ve done before.

Going into the games…

Everyone’s dream is striving to go for the gold and that is also a goal of mine. Getting another notch on my belt for experience is another great life experience. Going to a different country, competing in The Olympics, against your closest friends. It’s a pretty cool experience to have. Getting a gold medal would be a huge accomplishment, but also just having an awesome experience out there.

 

LEARN MORE AT TEAMUSA.ORG. THE WINTER OLYMPICS BEGIN LIVE ON FEBRUARY 8. THE PARALYMPICS START ON MARCH 9.