The Megan Gunning Profile
This article originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of Freeskier Magazine. For more from this issue make sure to pick up a copy at your local newsstand.
Words: Shay Williams
Cue the clichÃ© that Megan Gunning is the next best thing in women’s freeskiing. When any youngster amasses some success, they are lazily branded “the next big thing,” but the loquacious 18-year-old burst on to the women’s scene last year with incredible contest results, including her silver medal at the X Games. Throughout the season, Gunning displayed a level of style and confidence in the halfpipe that quickly became a wake-up call for many competitors. If last year was any indication of what Young Gunning can do, we’ll be hearing her name at the highest levels of the sport for years to come.
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
Sponsors: Salomon, Oakley, Kombi, Fresh Sports, Skullcandy
Results: 1st, 2010 NZ Open Superpipe, Cardrona, NZ
2nd, 2010 Winter X Games Superpipe, Aspen/Snowmass, CO
2nd, 2010 WSSF Superpipe, Whistler Blackcomb, BC
3rd, 2010 NZ Open Slopestyle, Cardrona, NZ
I was Googled you and there’s another famous Megan Gunning out there.
Yeah! She sent me a Facebook message once. She’s a model/actress and was once Miss USA or something.
Did you tell her how to do a 720 in exchange for some runway tips?
No, I kind of panicked that another Megan Gunning was talking to me. It was weird.
How did you get your start in halfpipe skiing?
I came from a figure skating background which I really helped me. I just skied halfpipe for fun when I lived in Ontario when I was younger, so when I moved to Calgary IÂ joined a team called Rocky Mountain Freeriders. I wanted to ski more park so I joined a team calledÂ “Freeskierz” which is the team out of C.O.P. The coaches at C.O.P. are great and taught me everything. My brother and all his friends were on the team â€” I was the only girl of course â€” but we skied everything including pipe. I entered a provincial halfpipe contest in 2005 and ended up winning and it all started from there.Â
You generated a lot of interest after the X Games. Would you say skiing is work now?
No, skiing is fun for me and I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it. I love the way it makes me feel after I land a good trick. I guess you could call it work because you get an income from it and competing is work… like a job. But getting respect and being recognized for being a wicked skier is really great, but thats not the reason I ski.
How did you stay under the radar for so long before X?
I’m not really sure how I stayed under the radar for so long. I wanted the chance to be in X Games to drop knowledge and everything happened after I did well.
People say you finally brought corked tricks to women’s pipe.
I like my 900s, they remind me of some of the guys 900s, which is what I’m going for.
How did you learn corked tricks, after they’ve eluded so many other women?
Water ramps helped me a lot. I cannot do a cork 720 on the tramp to save my life. I try and get better at trampolines, but I can’t do anything. But, the thing girls are missing is committing on snow. It’s so much easier than a straight up 720. Girls need to get past that it’s “scary” and do it. It’s a humungous mental block.
At Hood this summer I saw Dania doing cork 720s, and I think Ashley [Battersby] and Anna [Segal], too. So, I think girls skiing is going somewhere and I’m pumped to contribute to that.
Now that you’re big time, will see any diva behavoir?
No. Never. I panic sometimes when I have to talk to team managers. I hate asking for stuff.
That’s their job, to give you stuff.
I know but it freaks me out! Like, “Can I have a pair of skis please… maybe… it’s totally fine if you can’t…. but it’d be nice to have a pair.” That’s totally not me to be a diva.