Tess Coady went into her debut Olympics a Junior World Champion for both slopestyle and big air– nice way to make an entrance, we think.

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This is undeniably her breakthrough season but Tess is super chilled when she talks about it.

“I was just going to check it all out on the World Cup circuit and on the tour, and I got a few really good results under my belt, and it's just taken off for me from there.”

Yeah, it has…

First on snow at 9 years old at Mount Buller, Tess says it wasn't like she stepped on a snowboard and had a, “I'm going to be the best at this!” moment. It was about the fun – she went back again and again, started doing tricks and just enjoying it.

Hearing her chat to Pete about her epic season just gone and her love for her sport in general, you can see that is something that she has kept with her. [Watch the full interview here]

'It never seemed like one day I woke up and just went, “I'm going to be a pro-snowboarder.” But it just slowly built more and more momentum to the point where it was like, “This is actually really possible.”

Tess calls out three-time Australian Olympian snowboarder, Chumpy Pullin as an athlete she looks up to and someone that has really supported her with advice throughout her career. No doubt, she will be a name dropped by athletes in the same light in a few  years time.

Tess’s Slopestyle cheat sheet for Winter Olympics Rookies
"Slope style is an event combining jumps and rails. It's all about tricks and trick progressions. Each feature is broken down - it's 50% for the score is for the rail component, 50% of the scores  focusses on the jump.

Riders try and land their best and most technical tricks on every feature the whole way down and the best run wins."

And big air…                                                                                                                                  
"Big air is just the one jump and there are different formats. In a Jam format, you just go as many laps in as you can in a certain amount of time or it can also sometimes be just 2 or 3 runs. Same deal as Slopestyle, the aim is just to get the best and biggest trick as possible.  Big air is super sick because it always attracts a massive crowd. Because it's just one hit, one thing to watch and it really just to gets everyone super excited when someone lands something massive."

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Tess says although both events are up there for her, she is prouder of slope style.

“I think it's probably harder in terms of getting a whole run together. In big air you have one thing to focus on all the time. But, slope style, you’ve just gotta try and get everything perfect in that moment which is a lot harder, but it's a lot more rewarding I think.”

Now 17 and the youngest member of Australia Pyeong Chang Winter Olympic team, Tess had her first overseas training program at age 11, and entered her first major event at 15, and her first World Cup at 16 this past season just gone at the World Cup in Mammoth Mountain.

“I think I was just like really ready to get into World Cup scene, I was up against some of my favorite riders too which was… it was actually really inspiring. I was really ready to ride among them”

Tess says she went in with no real expectation, just looking to get a World Cup result on the board and get onto the World Cup circuit and have a bit of fun. She did all of that and finished 6th in a field of snowboarders she looked up to – definitely a super impressive way to do your rookie year.

World Junior Championships was also a big breakthrough for Tess.

"It was the first time I've ever gone to a Junior World Champs. But the park was so fun it didn't even feel like a competition. it was kind of like reminded me of being like a little kid in a playground just sort of mucking around on all the features, which was sick."

Tess managed to put down on all of her runs and came away with a couple of Junior World Championship titles to boot.

"Getting down to the bottom and being the very last rider of the second run and seeing my score come up, it was just… yeah, I got the XTM feeling from that one. It was insane! The feeling is a bit of a hard one to explain but anyone who's felt it knows. You always just want to like laugh and just like cry at the same time. Just proudest moment for sure being able to walk away with that."

Tess managed to snag Rising Star Award at the SSA Awards last year and is going into the Olympics, again without too much expectation but just really wanting to put down a run.

“I want to prove that I deserve to be there, and prove that I deserve to be there for Australia as well”

We have no doubt at all that she will do just that. She will compete in the snowboard slopestyle on today, and in the newest Olympic event 'big air' on February 19.

XTM’s own Al Dower will be on the ground in Pyeongchang for the Games, cheering on the team and sending back all the news as it happens. Subscribe to our news for all the latest updates and interviews. Want the latest updates to your inbox? Sign up to receive Olympic news and athlete videos.

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