Lesley McKenna

All pictures on this profile are courtesy of Josie Clyde at StockShot. Click here to buy their 2003 calendar of the UK’s top 12 snowboarders – including Lesley.

Enter the promotional code ‘POWDER-ROOM’ at the checkout and get a free gorgeous snowboarding poster worth ¬£6.

Nationality: Scottish

Years riding: 8

Date of birth: 9 August 1974

Sponsors: Roxy (Quiksilver), Nokia, Thomson Snowboarding, Casio G-Shock, Smith, Nidecker, Drake/Northwave, Reef, UK Sports Council

Career highlights:
2002 – Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City – first ever UK snowboard competitor
2001/2 – 3rd in FIS World Cup halfpipe
Overall 2nd in Berchtesgaden and Sapporo
4th FIS World Cup halfpipe, Whistler
5th FIS World Cup halfpipe, Tignes
99/00 5th in season opener in half pipe
98/99 4th in SBX at Kreischbeg

Where will you be spending the 2002/3 season?

I will be spending the coming season based in St Anton in Austria but I also have a season pass for Mammoth so I will be there a bit too.

How would you sum up your experiences at the Salt Lake City Olympics?

I was way too nervous to really do myself justice at the Olympics last season. I never in my wildest dreams thought that anything could be so nerve racking. I think it was worse for me as Melanie [Leando – Lesley’s best friend and a fellow UK professional snowboarder] was not there and I was on my own. I hope we are both there together for the next ones. I thought the riding was really amazing though and it was great to watch the boy’s pipe.

Your cousin Alain Baxter lost his Olympic skiing medal in a controvertial ruling. Has that marred your opinion of the games?

What happened to Alain definitely affected the way I think of the games and the IOC in particular. I think Alain was made an example of and that does not sit well with me at all.

Are you involved in developing your sponsors’ product lines?
I am always involved in product development for my sponsors and this season I have been riding some really cool stuff. Roxy clothes have been getting more technical and the heavy weather range is such a great range to ride in. Nidecker boards are very rider orientated and I put a lot of input into the Princess board which is nice. I am also an ambassador for visitscotland.com and am helping them to spread the word about how good the Scottish scene is. I think the Scottish scene is pretty under rated and some of the best times I have had riding have been in Scotland. You do have to check the snow conditions first though.


How do you keep fit for snowboarding?
I am pretty into keeping fit and do all sorts of other sports as well. My favourite other sport is mountain biking . I do a lot in the gym and with a swiss ball too.

What’s the worst thing about being a professional snowboarder?

Travelling so much from comp to comp can be really tiring but I love riding the comps so much it keeps me going. I do start to loathe packing though and it does not seem to get any easier.

What’s been your most memorable competition or result?
My most memorable competition is the World Cup finals in Livignio a few years ago. It was great as it was the first time me and Melanie were in the final together and there was also a very large party afterwards.

Do you have any goals for this season?
This season I really want to step up my riding. I learned to spin backside in the pipe and I would like to start putting backside spins in my run. I would also like to ride more parks too and freeride a bit. I want to do everything really!

Who inspires you?

Anyone who is willing to push their own limits inspires me a lot. They do so even more if they have a good time while doing it!

What’s the best piece of snowboarding advice you’ve ever been given?
The best piece of snowboard advice I have ever been given was to wear slam shorts! I will not go out of the house without them.

Who are your favourite riders?

My favourite girl riders are Kjersti Buaas and Natasha Zurek.

Any impressive rookie girls out there that you think we’ll be hearing more about in the future?
There are so many rookie girls at the moment and they are all very impressive. It is great to see so many new faces on the scene. Heidi Kurkinnen is one to watch.

Where do you see yourself in ten years time?

In ten years time I hope I will still be riding for fun and when I am not riding I will be chilling somewhere learning about alternative medicine.


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