Olympic snowboarder finds home in Hood River

Defending National GS Champion will settle in Hood River after her third Olympic showing

December 10, 2005

Lisa Kosglow recently purchased a house in upper Hood River, where she plans to settle down, plant a garden in the spring and focus her attention on continuing her education at Portland State University, where she is most interested in a career in sustainable development.

Before Kosglow can settle, however, she has one final task on her forefront: the 2006 Winter Olympics.

As a member of the U.S. Women’s Snowboard Team, Kosglow, 32, from Boise, Idaho, has traveled the world as a competitive Alpine snowboarder.

Her list of accomplishments includes being a two-time Olympian, a two-time ISF World silver medalist, a five-time World Cup podium finisher, an eight-time U.S. Grand Prix top three finisher and the reigning U.S. National Alpine Champion. In the 2002 winter Olympics she finished eight in the Giant Slalom.

Kosglow leaves town on Sunday to Quebec, where she will start her quest to qualify for the upcoming 2006 Winter Olympics with back-to-back qualifier races. After Canada, she will travel to World Cup races in Italy and Austria, where she will have to finish in the top four overall to make the cut. The 2005 Olympic team will be announced on Jan. 25, with the Alpine team consisting of only one to two women.

“My chances are always good,” Kosglow said about qualifying. “But anything can happen in 12 runs so it’s always a bit of a toss-up.”

To get ready for the races, Kosglow’s training consists of weight lifting, intervals, yoga and mountain biking.

“My training has changed over the years,” she said. “It’s definitely a lot more mellow now. But it’s still effective in keeping me strong, competitive and healthy.”

A third Olympic appearance would be going out in style, as Kosglow plans to hang up her competitive boots and board after this winter.

“This will absolutely be my last shot at the Olympics,” Kosglow said. “I love to travel but I’m looking forward to spending some time in one place. I’m excited to get busy with other things in my life, like getting involved with environmental causes.”

If Lisa had a custom bumper-sticker on her race board, it might read: “My other ride is a vegetarian.”

On the road, she cruises in a Volkswagen Golf, modified to run on used vegetable oil she finagles from a few local sources.

“This area is ripe for sustainable ideas,” Kosglow commented, “I want to start a co-op for people who want to run their cars on veggie oil. I’m also interested in developing affordable green housing.”

Those ideas are just a few of the defending National Champion’s many goals and ambitions. Olympic athletes are often excellent examples of people with dreams in action.

Kosglo offered the following insight about the subject: “So many awesome things have come from this lifestyle. I get to travel and see the world. The whole lifestyle of eating well, being healthy and being conscious of the outer limits of the body has been an eye-opening experience … It’s been an amazing ride.

“My advice for others is to just follow your dreams, even if you don’t know how to make them happen. Don’t let uncertainty hold you back … For me, my parents and trust in myself have been the biggest influence I’ve had in terms of following my dreams.”

The Home Depot Program:

Kosglow is currently part of The Home Depot’s Olympic Job Opportunities Program, which helps Olympic athletes, Olympic hopefuls and Paralympians by offering flexible part-time work schedules for full-time wages.

Off the slopes, Kosglow’s passion for gardening comes in handy, as she works in the gardening department of the Home Depot in The Dalles.

“It’s an amazing program, and it's how I fund my career these days,” said Kosglow, who estimates she works there about 20 hours a week when she’s in town. “They pay my salary and let me travel. The Industry doesn’t really support alpine snowboarding so the program is really important for me.”

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