There aren’t many snowboarders who can say that they turned pro as a high school freshman, won the USASA Nationals and stood on a podium alongside Kelly Clark and Gretchen Bleiler. Even fewer could have accomplished all that before they got their driver’s license. But not in the case of Maddy Schaffrick, who can claim all that and a whole lot more.
After stepping on a snowboard at the age of seven, Schaffrick’s initial attempts weren’t exactly an indicator of the phenom she would soon become. Despite watching how-to videos before her first lesson, Schaffrick struggled in beginning, and in her words, did “everything wrong.” However, the youngster quickly reformed her ways and became known as one of the more technical riders on the hill.
Competing with a hypermobile meniscus in her right knee – which caused her meniscus to detach if she bent her knee to much – Schaffrick went under the knife twice in two years to fix the problem, threatening her career when it was just beginning. Returning to snowboarding as soon as she was physically able, Schaffrick’s raw talent shined through when she claimed the overall title at the 2006 USASA Nationals after earning first-place finishes in the halfpipe, slopestyle and giant slalom contests.
Schaffrick used the momentum to go pro just two years later at the age of 14, taking fourth place at the Grand Prix at Copper Mountain. Later in the year, she claimed third place at the Grand Prix, rounding out the podium at the circuit’s stop in Killington before making her X Games debut as the youngest athlete at the contest.
After narrowly missing the cut for the 2010 Olympic team – Schaffrick finished seventh overall during the Grand Prix series, including a fourth-place showing at the final event in Park City – she took second place at the final event of the 2009-10 Winter Dew Tour season.
With a resume like that, it’s clear that the future is bright for Maddy Schaffrick.