Student Profile: Marissa Hushaw
Age: 19 Major: Ski Business and Resort Management Year: Sophomore Hometown: Santa Cruz, California
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Most days you will find Marissa Hushaw hitting the slopes, either preparing for her upcoming competition or practicing her newest trick. But underneath all her snowboarding gear, Marissa has a big heart for helping those in need.
How did you end up at SNC?
I have had my heart set on attending SNC since I was first introduced to the college through student representatives at a Snow Bomb convention when I was 13 years old. Get a degree while snowboarding pretty much every day, in Tahoe? Yes, please!
How did you find you passion for snowboarding?
I learned to snowboard at China Peak Mountain Resort when I was six years old and fell in love with the sport almost instantly. It has provided me with so many incredible opportunities like traveling all over, making friends, and now college.
So are you a park girl? Free ride? Or pipe?
I love it all! My strong suit would be the park, but I also love free riding and finding natural hits.
Have you attended any snowboarding camps?
I attended High Cascade Snowboard Camp for 6 summers and 9 sessions. I got to hang out with pro snowboarders and made the greatest friends in the entire world. Those sessions made my love for the snowboard culture grow.
What is your favorite memory from snowboard camp?
Honestly, there are too many incredible memories. But one of my favorites was when I was introduced to my best friends in the whole entire world at 13 years old. A couple years later I met some more awesome people that I am lucky to still have in my life. I just went snowboarding at Boreal the other day with a camp friend.
Have you ever met any famous snowboarders?
My favorite pros that I’ve met are Kevin Pearce, Jamie Anderson, The Frends Crew, Sage Kotsenberg, and my idol Scott Stevens.
What age did you begin competing in competitions?
I started competing when I was 10 years old. I competed against boys because there weren’t enough girls signed up.
You are part of the Sierra Nevada Snowboard team. How do you like it so far?
I love it! What’s not to love? I get to ride with awesome people and compete as part of a team. I think that’s pretty great.
What do you expect from this upcoming season?
This season my goal is to progress in the park and push myself out of my comfort zone. I’m really stoked to ride with new people, learn new tricks, go on lots of adventures and make lots of memories.
What has snowboarding taught you so far?
Snowboarding has taught me patience. It is the most frustrating sport in the entire world when all you want to do is progress. But it is also the most rewarding feeling when you learn something new.
What is your advice to anyone who has not tried snowboarding?
Give it a try. You can only improve, so don’t give up.
You’re involved in charity work. What exactly do you do?
I became an active “hunger fighter” when I was 13 years old with a goal to raise $1,000 in one year to benefit the local food bank. That year I raised $2,000. Since then, I have made over $12,000 and held four annual rail jam competitions at China Peak. All of the proceeds go to the local food bank. This year on March 19 I will be holding my fifth annual rail jam to benefit the food bank. Did you know $1 can feed a family of four?
How did you become inspired to be a “hunger fighter”?
One out of every three children goes hungry in my home county of Santa Cruz, and one out of five go hungry across the nation. Growing up in a community that was surrounded by agriculture made it mind boggling to me that people didn’t have access to healthy food. I had to help make a change, so that’s exactly what I did. I reached out to a local organization that aimed to end childhood hunger in Santa Cruz by using skateboarding and surfing as a platform to spark a movement. I eventually moved my charity work to benefit Fresno’s community food bank because I was holding my event at China Peak. It seemed fair that the proceeds go directly to the community that hosted my event.
What kind of work goes into creating your own charity event?
First, it helps to have an incredible home mountain that has a passion for making its guests stoked. Second, it helps to have an extensive amount of sponsors and supporters that are more than happy to donate prizes for a great cause. Basically, I start drafting my event two months in advance by asking sponsors to donate and such. Then I get together with China Peak to plan a date to hold the event. Then I talk to the park crew about what I want to see in the contest (rails, boxes, hips…something for everyone!) Finally it all comes together on the day of the event. Then the magic happens.