It may seem a bold question to ask at this early stage, but is Chloe Kim the best female rider to ever drop into a Superpipe?
Yes, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind.
At just 15, last week was Kim’s third X Games appearance, her second gold in a row and, quite simply, a very clear display that she’s way better than any other female rider. And yes, a win at X Games backs up that premise. But to me, it has nothing to do with why I think she’s the best female the sport has ever seen.
Snowboarding is about style. Period. And Chloe Kim oozes the stuff. She has such better style than the competition it’s silly. But the thing is, at the same time, she has a lot more progressive tricks in her arsenal, and goes bigger than anyone else, too. She certainly knows how to do a method. But she can spin a 900 with more grace than anyone who’s come along before her. She’s on a different level altogether.
Obviously if you were to view “best” by competition standards than Kelly Clark is by far the “best” snowboarder ever, given that she has more podium finishes at major competitions than any other person, male or female. An incredible accomplishment that has moved the women’s side of the sport forward. But as much as she’s done, which is a lot, Kelly Clark is not the best female snowboarder ever.
There’s a very real fact that all of us male snowboarders who know the sport are coming to terms with even as it shatters our egos and let me be the first to accept it: the way Chloe Kim rides half pipe is the way I snowboard in my dreams — so smooth, going so big with an effortless, almost sleepy approach that sings in its fluidity. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen from a female half pipe rider in all my life. And I’ve been playing at this sport for a long time.
If you tuned in to the X Games you probably heard the commentators say (repeatedly) that Chloe Kim is the future of women’s half pipe snowboarding. That’s too generic, over used and quite frankly, another soggy term that’s doesn’t truly respect the impact that Kim is having on the sport, even in these first few years of her career.
F*** the future — Chloe Kim is the best rider in the half pipe right NOW.
And that’s all that matters.