Hannah Teter plans to hit the backcountry and plow through homegrown powder next year to reignite her passion for snowboarding.
After coming excruciatingly close to making her fourth straight winter Olympic appearance, the one-time halfpipe gold medalist is not ready to ride into the sunset.
And she thinks several doses of powder riding, mixed in with her regular training, will give her the competitive sparks she needs.
"After such a crazy contest this year and just missing out, next year I definitely am going to compete and have fun doing the contests, but I'm definitely gonna ride more powder for sure," Teter said while at an Olympic athlete celebration hosted by her home mountain Sierra-at-Tahoe. "I got so good at halfpipe because I rode powder in between and somehow … Being so stoked and excited about snowboarding makes you better at competing. So I want to mix it up more, because this year was just … hard."
Teter, a Meyers resident, competed in four U.S. Olympic qualifiers, three in Colorado and one at Mammoth Mountain. She fell one place short of qualifying for a trip with Team USA to PyeongChang, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Games.
Teter grabbed the gold medal in 2006 at Torino, Italy. She earned bronze four years later in Vancouver, British Columbia and finished just off the podium in fourth place at the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.
Now she wants to get back to her roots and take advantage of the local resorts and discover what the Tahoe backcountry has to offer. She plans to splitboard her way to the top of non-resort mountains and do "some soul riding."
That was the whole reason Teter moved to the South Shore from Vermont almost 14 years ago, to escape the icy slopes and ride pow. Moving west was a dream come true and helped her develop into an Olympic champion.
"I wanna be more local because Tahoe has so many options," Teter said. "People come here just to ride in the backcountry, so I wanna get more into that. March was awesome this year. Hopefully we can start next winter like we finished this year."
Teter, who is a global ambassador for the Special Olympics and a co-author of an instructional snowboarding book, sat alongside her good friend Jamie Anderson, a two-time gold medalist in snowboard slopestyle, last weekend at Sierra and signed hundreds of autographs at a celebration in their honor. Teter and Anderson live near each other in Meyers and naturally a friendship developed.
"It's so incredible to be celebrated in my hometown," Teter said. "I moved to Tahoe almost 14 years ago and that was always a dream to come here, and now to be here and to be celebrated with Jamie, my best friend growing up, to have like a party in our hometown here at Sierra is dope."