Gabi kicking back before she hits some cliffs at Vail pass. Photo by Christy Chaloux
For someone who is able take her body almost as high as the clouds, her head is very well-grounded.
Gabi Viteri is truly one of the reasons why I really enjoy creating and working on these website interviews. All bases are covered with the balance of phenomenal traits she carries; not only can this girl school us on how to really shred gracefully through backcountry powder, she can shed light on growing and gaining through challenging life experiences – even at her young age. Her insight on life seems beyond her young years. I’ll have everyone know too…..Gabi is one of the sweetest and most aware girls I have gotten to chat with. I felt a sense of sisterly care and respect from her correspondences and it made it so easy to evoke a feeling of sisterly pride in her accomplishments back at her…..AND the greatest thing ever is to know this gentle spirit of a lady can get fiercely wicked and downright dirty on the slopes and in the park.
Initially, I had seen photos of her riding handrails like that was their sole purpose – like, they had no use in existing as fixtures to keep us balanced as we walked down stairs. No. Those things should have their name changed from “handrails” to “Gabirails”. She owns those things. However, her potential is limitless. Her true love ranges from riding and exploring the backcountry, playing in the parks and of course, baking. Baking? Yeuuup.
We’re grateful she took the time to speak with us about her passion for riding, the love for her family (shoutout to Darbs! woof!), her life-changing trip to Africa and snowboarding in Hawaii (oh, you di’in’t know?).
Gabi has the whole world at her fingertips and we can see why: a spirit that spreads enthusiasm, appreciation, a positive outlook on life….and a solemn vow to continue to SHRED. ;)
Self-portrait – Gabi at Island Lake Lodge, cat boarding. Only minutes before injuring herself (dislocating her hip)
RRRG: Where were you born? Raised? Live now?
Gabi: I was born in Highlands Ranch, Colorado and lived there until I was about 12 and then moved up to Summit County in the Breckenridge area so I could snowboard more. My Mom was super supportive and made the move for me.
RRRG: How long have you been snowboarding for?
Gabi: I started snowboarding when I was 8 and started competing a little when I was around 13.
RRRG: How did you first get involved with snowboarding?
Gabi: I really looked up to my older sister and she was snowboarding so that convinced me. I actually hated it when I first started, it was not something I liked right off the bat but after a week or so of learning and getting past the falling part, I loved it.
RRRG: That’s funny, hard to believe you didn’t like it at first with where you are now. Who have your biggest influences been?
Gabi: When I was younger and the movies ‘Decade’ and ‘Technical Difficulties’ were released, I looked up to all of those riders in those videos. I watched those movies every night before I went to bed. Tara Dakides was really the only girl shredder back in those days that I looked up to. Now I look up to pretty much everyone I snowboard with from my friends to some pro riders. Mostly my friends and family inspire me the most.
Blotto Photo “Natasza Zurek, Gabi Viteri (on the wall ride) and Hannah Teter. Aspen, Colorado for a contest called “Team Shoot Out”.
RRRG: What keeps you inspired to ride? Is it the feeling of flying off ramps? Is it the challenge and risk? Being in nature? All the above??
Gabi: Haha.. well, I don’t think I could sum it up to flying off jumps. I would have to say it’s the whole process. When I am snowboarding, that feeling is what keeps the passion alive, and what’s even better is the feeling after you do something you feel is great. It doesn’t have to be the coolest trick in the book, you could have done a small, flat ground trick that day that felt really good because you don’t usually do it and that feeling is what keeps you progressing and keeps your confidence up for when you do have to hit bigger things.
RRRG: Right now, I saw your message that you dislocated your hip. Tell us what happened and how you are dealing with no being able to ride…..
Gabi: I was cat boarding at Island Lake Lodge with Natasza Zurek. We were having a blast until I flew off a cliff that I wasn’t suppose to go off. Honestly to be alive right now is a blessing and my dislocated hip is nothing to what could have happened. It is so hard for me to sit around and do nothing since I am usually always going.. But I am taking it as a lesson and getting the most out of it that I can. I started school for my business degree, I never have had time so now I have no excuses.
RRRG: Where are your favorite places to ride? And what types/styles of riding do you enjoy?
Gabi: Honestly, what I enjoy most is riding powder; in trees, backcountry, whatever… And if the snow isn’t that great, park riding is the best; fun park riding, not 100 foot jumps… those just aren’t “fun” to me but if they have to be hit, then it’ll get done.
Gabi’s home mountain in Breckenridge, CO – “..has some of the most unique logs right there on the mountain..”.
Photo by Chris Owen.
At the Aspen set-up again, this was our first day testing the waters of the wall ride. Blotto Photo.
RRRG: I saw pictures of your lovely family…can you tell us something about them? How many bros and sisters you have? Do they enjoy riding too?
Gabi: My family is the BEST. They are the reason for where I am at today. I only have one sister; we really have a whole family of girls, except for all our boyfriends. My mom and sister are amazing at riding! I can even get them to go through the pipe, but they never go out anymore, i’m going to change that when I am better. My mother is a strong lady for all the crap she has has to put up with me, I can’t say she gets use to me calling her up telling her I knocked my teeth out or I hurt this or that and I am in the hospital but she sure deals with it much better than a lot of moms would. They have never left my side.
RRRG: That is so cool that your mom can ride with you! Will you be in any competitions this year?
Gabi: I was suppose to be in quite a few this year, but considering my injury I will not be returning to the scene until summer if I am lucky, possibly next season. Just have to really focus on healing good.
Gabi’s lovely family! L to R: Her grandma with Charlize, Gabi’s sister, Nichole with Jayla, Gabi, her mother, and her pup, Darby. Photo by Cody Rosenthal.
RRRG: What are your other hobbies?
Gabi: My hobbies include hanging with my fam and friends…I love to bake anything sweet. I like to hike around a lot, try to skate every once in a while and do anything outside really… rock climbing, beach time, yoga..
RRRG: I’ve seen tons of photos of you riding handrails – it almost seems like your trademark trick it seems because you do it so precise……what tricks are you known for?
Gabi: Well, I see there has been a lot of handrail photos published, but actually I don’t like them anymore then I like jumps or backcountry. I actually don’t even feel like they are my “specialty”. I feel like they always get published because not a lot of girls hit them. There are some really good girls coming up that are starting to bring hand rails into the scene more. And to answer your trademark question I don’t really know what my trademark is. I would hope it was just good style, I think anything can look good if you don’t look out of control and girly.
Gabi in Vancouver hitting some rails. “This rail I hit for hours, it was so darn long…”. Photo by Chris Owen.
She bakes and boards. “This is me and Elena’s annual Ginger Bread cookie party. We have all our friends over before Thanksgiving and we all create our own cookies…”. Photo by Elena Hight.
RRRG: I saw that you went to Africa. You said it “changed your life…”. Please tell us what you were doing out there and how you got hooked up to do that trip?
Gabi: Hannah Teter supports a part of Africa (Kenya) where she gives all of her contest winnings to and much, much more. She had never seen where her money was actually going, she just knew it was going to a good place. She decided she wanted to take a trip over there to do a documentary and see where her money was going and what was happening after it reached the country. She invited me to come also; I am very blessed to have gone. We saw the schools, clean water projects, and everything she had built. It was incredible. I can compare my life to anything over there now, it’s easy to take everything for granted when we live in a society that we do, but the minute you step out of the box you never forget what your eyes see.
Gabi and Hannah Teter at one of the schools that Hannah supplies clean water to. “The kid to the right of Hannah is wearing my shades; all the other kids were so jealous!”
RRRG: What parts of Africa did you go to?
Gabi: We were in Kenya, for a few nights in the City which was Nairobi and then we traveled to the outskirts in the middle of nowhere to Kirindon.
RRRG: Also, please share why you think those people that you met there live so simply and yet were so happy. When comparing, do you think people in America are as happy as them even with everything we could ever want at our fingertips?
Gabi: Most definitely, I am a strong believer that happiness comes from your heart and nothing else; not the car you drive not the house you live in and not getting to go on shopping sprees. I believe it is all the journey that brings the happiness, and if you are not happy with those things when you receive them they will bring you nothing but an empty happiness. I believe that the people in Africa have to use their hearts for happiness because they have nothing else to distract their minds into BS… compare to here in the US; we have been trained to believe that all these materialistic things bring happiness and define “success”. It is engrained in our society and it’s hard to step out of but realizing it is huge.
RRRG: I saw a piece on you girls going to Hawaii to snowboard too! That was a great article……what was that like for you? Did you ever think you’d be snowboarding in Hawaii?
Gabi: Not in a million years would I have imagined I would be taking a snowboard trip to Hawaii. It was more like a vacation to Hawaii in the middle of winter. We were there for a week and snowboarded about 3 days. The snow was very icy and not that fun to ride on but the whole experience made it a good time.
“Me and the girls chillin’ in Hawaii! Bev, me, Elena and Brynn”. Check the awesome photos and full article here: Shred Hawaii
Gabi: “A little hand plant to wrap up the night; probably around 1am”. Photo by Kevin Zacher.
RRRG: Do you ever think about what global warming will do to the sport of snowboarding?
Gabi: Yes I do. I don’t know if it is global warming or climate change (I know there is a lot of debate between both) but I have noticed a huge difference where I live and where I travel yearly to ride. I have never seen the snow so bad in my area the 10 years I have lived there. It’s really bad!
RRRG: What are your future plans and goals?
Gabi: My goals right now are to simply be happy doing whatever I am doing and wherever life takes me. My goals are to someday open a bakery since that is my second passion and to make enough fortune off that and snowboarding to help support the kids and families in third world countries that really need our help.
RRRG: That’s amazing, Gabi…we have no doubt you will fulfill that. Who are you currently sponsored by?
Gabi: Burton, Anon, The House
RRRG: Any shoutouts?
Gabi: To anyone that took the time to read this very long interview and to RRRG for supporting girls in every sport. Much love to everyone out there!
“Dustin Craven interviewing me at the Paul Mitchell Progression Session; he had some naughty questions…” Photo by Susie Floros.
“On a Burton shoot. Hood shredding is so much fun!” Blotto Photo.
Self-portrait. “On an 8-hour flight to London. Very sleep…..”
“I am always on my phone talking with my family when I am away….”. Blotto Photo.
“Having a good time at the B shoot in Tahoe, the entire team was there, it was insane…”. Blotta Photo.
Stellar video of Gabi – interview and riding footage:
Interview by Christine Cauble