Steamboat snowboarder Arielle Gold flies out of the halfpipe in March at the FIS Junior World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain. Gold was one of eight teenagers named a “Future Game Changer” by Sports Illustrated. Gold is featured in the July 9 issue of the magazine.

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Steamboat snowboarder Arielle Gold flies out of the halfpipe in March at the FIS Junior World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain. Gold was one of eight teenagers named a “Future Game Changer” by Sports Illustrated. Gold is featured in the July 9 issue of the magazine.

Steamboat snowboarder Gold is featured in Sports Illustrated

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View a Sports Illustrated video feature about “Future Game Changer” Arielle Gold.

— Sometime last fall, 16-year-old Steamboat Springs snowboarder Arielle Gold sat down and looked at a blank goal sheet.

Goals, Gold knew, are a tricky thing in the world of competitive snowboarding. It wasn’t but a couple years before that snowboarding had lost its appeal for the teen. She had put too much pressure on herself and it started to wear on her.

But, she figured, what the heck? Lofty goals it is.

“When she learned to be consistent and go bigger,” said Ashley Berger, the Pro-Am freestyle snowboard head coach for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, “those goals no longer became a stretch.”

Gold had a banner year last winter. She won two silver medals at the inaugural Youth Olympics in Austria. She followed by winning the halfpipe at the FIS Junior World Championships.

She also had a pair of fourth-place finishes at the U.S. Open and U.S. Grand Prix events, two competitions that draw the top names in the sport.

“Of course, those are subjective events, but a lot of people thought she should have been on the podium,” Berger said about the Open and Grand Prix.

As a result of her on-snow accomplishments, Gold is one of eight teens named “A Future Game Changer” by Sports Illustrated. Gold will be featured in the July 9 issue.

“A few of those goals seemed pretty unrealistic, but I was willing to write them down,” Gold said. “Even though they were unrealistic I was always keeping them in the back of my head.”

To understand how far Gold has progressed, look no further than the goal she’s most proud of.

At the beginning of the season she had just learned a frontside 720. She wrote down that she wanted to learn a frontside 900.

Prior to the U.S. Open event at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., she learned the 900 and went out and stomped it in competition.

Gold is currently at a camp at Mount Hood, Ore. She’ll spend the rest of the summer training before going to a camp in September in New Zealand.

Berger is confident Gold will continue to progress. She described the young star-in-the-making as calculated in her approach. She’s also learning to have fun while competing at the highest levels.

As for this season’s goals, Gold said she hasn’t put pen to paper. She said that will change after she returns from New Zealand.

After this season, qualifying for the 2014 Winter Olympics begins. For Gold, that’s one goal she will always have.

Two seasons ago, “I didn’t have anything to be proud of myself for,” Gold said. “Last season was the best season of my life. It helped me realize I can make a career out of snowboarding. Now making the Olympics seems a lot more realistic.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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