Former Rowe student Tessa Maud to snowboard in Winter Olympics
Local resident Tessa Maud will represent Team USA in snowboard halfpipe in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The 18-year-old from Carlsbad is part of a 26-member U.S. Snowboard Team that is considered one of the strongest teams ever in halfpipe, slopestyle, big air and snowboardcross with multiple defending gold medalists on the roster.
“I’m so excited to be named to the Olympic team as I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a little girl,” said Maud. “I can’t wait to be able to compete with all of my friends that I’ve made throughout the years. And I think this Olympics is going to be a very special one.”
The women’s snowboard halfpipe qualifiers will be held on Feb. 9 with finals on Feb. 10.
Maud’s mother Janel is a third grade teacher at R. Roger Rowe School in Rancho Santa Fe and Maud attended Rowe until the seventh grade, when she transitioned to online schooling to accommodate her busy training and competition schedule.
She has always had amazing support from her Rowe teachers, “They have been some of her biggest cheerleaders,” said Janel of teachers who even traveled to proudly watch her compete.
Teacher Stacey Halboth remembers a third grade Tessa Maud coming to school and sharing with her classmates about her snowboarding wins and her big-sized dreams in the sport.
Maud has been on the snow since she was a baby—her snowboarding parents brought her to Mammoth Mountain where she tried (and hated) ski school, took to cruising the mountain with her natural ability and, at four years old, asking if she could snowboard.
She started competing with the Mammoth Mountain Snowboard Team when she was seven years old and has been on the U.S. team for three years, working with Coach JJ Thomas, the 2002 Olympic bronze medalist in halfpipe.
She has found success on the halfpipe, placing second in the Junior World Championships in 2019, third in the Europa Cup in Crans-Montana, Switzerland in 2021 and landing five podium finishes in the Nor-Am Cup in 2018 and 2019.
Maud spends most of her year chasing the snow. She is snowboarding in Mammoth until June and July, then the team heads to Mt. Hood in Oregon. By October, she is in Switzerland, training at Saas-Fee, a snowboard park called The Stomping Grounds, “The best halfpipe and park set up in the world,” she said.
She credits her support system of family, friends, coaches, trainers and sponsors for getting her to this peak.
International competitions in snowboarding are a very small world: “Everybody knows everybody, it’s like going to high school. A really small high school,” she said. The Winter Olympics contingent includes seven members from the Mammoth Mountain Ski and Snowboard Team, some competing for Australia.
In that small world, Maud knows exactly who her competition will be in Beijing which includes her teammate and the defending gold medalist in women’s halfpipe Chloe Kim.
“I think this one is just to gain experience,” she said of these Olympic games. “I’m just trying to go over there and do the best run I can do. I’m so excited.”
Before departing for Beijing on Jan. 29, Maud will be working on her competition runs in Mammoth— she likes spinning in the air on tricks like 720s and frontside 540s—and keeping close tabs on Beijing weather as all of the athletes wonder what to expect: “Weather is such a big thing, everybody’s talking about it,” she said. All she knows from coaching staff on the ground in Beijing is that it’s really cold.
This week, she headed to Los Angeles for a Team USA welcome party and to pick up her Nike and Ralph Lauren team gear—the gear she will be wearing in the Olympics Opening Ceremonies, representing her country in the red, white and blue. To Maud, all of it feels wonderfully surreal: “I can’t believe it.”
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