Local Lady: Chandelle “Chana” Wojahn
Board: 134 Burton Nugget
Years Riding: 3 years riding freestyle, 13 years altogether
Sponsors: US Airbag, Newt & Harolds
Our first encounter with Chana was a few years ago when she was just a tiny sophomore in high school and started up in a program called Team Shred. Now a senior and still just as small, she is becoming a burgeoning force to reckon with in the local freestyle scene. Beginning her third year with Team Shred, her style and bag of tricks have widened and she has not been afraid to put them on display. Her signature backflips and frontboards set her apart from the crowd on the slopes but what you probably do not see is how much of a great student she is off the slopes. While competing and riding as much as possible, Chana maintains a 3.8 GPA at Timberline High School, with all AP classes. She is fun, genuine and one of the quirkiest girls you may ever meet.
An encounter with Chana three years ago may have looked something like this: You and some friends are doing a park session and along comes Chana. You accompany a wave with a hearty “hello”, insinuating you want her to stop and join. What you got in return typically was a smile, a wave and a glimpse of her heading down the run. Now, things have changed. She has come into her own, confident in her abilities and identifies herself with a group of women who share her heart for snowboarding. We caught up with Chana, which has become an easier task, and asked her a few questions. Here is what she had to say…
SB: What got you interested in snowboarding?
Chana: When I was like 2 years old, my parents put me on skis, like every responsible parent normally does. I wined and cried because I saw a guy having much more fun on a board than someone on skis ever would. After strapping into my first rental board I was hooked.
SB: Where do you see womens snowboarding heading?
Chana: Womens snowboarding is heading in an amazing direction. Ladies are hitting the same jumps as guys and even pulling the same tricks. I believe that women are catching up to men and that is the way it ought to be! Girl Power!
SB: What do you think of Idaho’s competitive scene, especially women competitors?
Chana: This will be my third year competing in Idaho and I am sooo disappointed with the turnouts. More ladies need to compete. Who wants to compete all by themselves? I want to see more women on the slopes and heading into the competitive scene. Come to the dark side, we have prizes.
SB: What do you think needs to change in local women’s freestyle?
Chana: I definitely think girls need to come out of the lodge and into the terrain parks. Every time I go up the hill I see ladies being bystanders, watching the guys or simply filming. More women need to be more participative in the sport! Another thing I find annoying is the contest prizes. The girls who do compete get half (or even a quarter) of what the guys get even though they were throwing down their hardest tricks!
SB: How has riding with other women helped your personal riding?
Chana: Women definitely helped me with my riding and confidence. I used to be this girl who was loud but always kept to herself, especially when riding. I learned how to plug in my music and go for the ride and pretend like nobody is watching. Plus, when you are riding with other girls, you tend to have more fun and progress to levels you never thought were possible!
SB: You are planning on going to college in Utah, what are your riding expectations when you get there?
Chana: I am so gosh darn excited to ride bigger ski areas such as Brighton and Park City. The energy will be totally different and the fact that I am not going to be riding with a team will give me a unique vibe that I have yet to experience. Plus, the fact that Utah has some of the best features in the world makes me pretty stoked to go. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love riding boxes and simple down-rails, but the Miley Cyrus “Wrecking-Ball” feature in Park City is calling my name!
SB: Who are some of your favorite female snowboarders?
Chana: I really love the aura that Jamie Anderson gives off. She is just such a unique person. She is completely obsessed with yoga and treats her comps as if she is just riding down the mountain. Also, she is super short (not quite as short as me though because I’m special) and she reminds me that you can still throw yourself off 80 foot jumps even though we are fun-sized. Plus, she LITERALLY hugs trees,how cool is that?
SB: Tell us about Team Shred and your experiences?
Chana: At first, I loved how Team Shred really pushed me and my (single and ready to mingle) teammate Barrett Kilroy to progress. However, I did have some issues with the organization and the overall mentality of the team. I never thought the gap between skiers and snowboarders could be so cavernous. This year we have the legend Corey McDonald as our coach. I have learned more from him in the past three weeks than I have in the past thirteen years of riding. He has really brought the whole team together.
SB: You are a pretty quirky gal, you want to share any of those quirks with the world?
Chana: Well, I like long walks on the beach and I prefer my milkshakes shaken, not stirred. I probably had the weirdest childhood. My dad taught me drinking games such as ‘A White Hen’, ‘Flipping Coasters’, and ‘Quarters’ since I was young enough to understand the game but maybe not the meaning behind it. I had baby tigers as pets and traveled to places such as Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, China, Japan, and Europe. Being from an odd family, I kinda was born unique. I am super hyper, loud, make stupidly funny jokes, and I just look at the world in a different way than most people do, probably because I see a different version of the world from down here (ya know cause I’m 5’01 tall haha).
SB: What advice do you have for young women?
Chana: Don’t change for nobody. People should love you for all your faults, quirks, whatever. If they have an issue with you, that is their problem and not yours. Also, follow your dreams. I know it is cliche, but you never know what you can achieve until you try!
Even though Chana decided to trade Idaho for the land of the Beehive and its Wasatch Mountains, we support her in all her future endeavors. And hey, now us at the mag will have a free couch to crash on in SLC! We love you, Chana!