Husky Nation: Riley Rivera Snowboarding to Success

Noa Noh, Co-Editor in Chief

Riley Rivera at U.S. Open BurtonSome say, love, at first sight, is impossible. But Riley Rivera disagrees. It could not have been anything else but instant love that causes Riley Rivera to dedicate her life to snowboarding and pursue a professional career in the snow ever since the beginning of her journey as a snowboarder. Riley currently is a freshman attending Chino Hills High School and has been snowboarding ever since she was four years old. She remembers some of her fondest memories of the snow when “I recall my parents running down the hill pushing me and cheering me on as I made my first move down the hill.” She chose the sport due to the exhilaration and adrenaline rushes that one is able to feel that most sports do not have “which is why I believe snowboarding is an extreme sport and not a lot of people are in the sport because of the multiple challenges and high potential of receiving an injury”. Riley realized that she wanted to snowboard for the rest of her life as a career when one of her dad’s students asked to take her up the mountains to go snowboarding eight years ago.

A highlight that was most significant to her this year was the Burton U.S. Open Junior Jam, an international competition that brought 9 girls from the nation, including athletes outside the U.S. together to compete and share the love of snowboarding. The competition was on Monday, February 26 and held at Vail, Colorado. The full event lasted for a week and a half, but Riley only stayed for two days. She won an impressive title of third place and gained a lot of learning experience as well.

Riley also has an impressive resume where she has competed and won awards in many national competitions. In 2015, Riley won 2nd place for the halfpipe at the Girl’s Halfpipe and Boarder Cross, in 2016 she won 1st in the Halfpipe and 1st again in Boarder Cross, in 2017 she won 3rd in slopestyle and 2nd in the halfpipe, in 2018 she received 2nd in slopestyle and 3rd in the halfpipe. She remarks the reason that she loves competing “What I love about competing is that I get into this zone, where I need to be my best and show all my skills there’s no turning back, and as long as I work hard and use the time I have, I will be okay no matter what outcome I get after a competition” she states.

Before heading off to competitions, Riley has a routine in which she makes sure to practice every day the month before the date of the competition, consistently staying active by exercising as much as she can at home and participating in off-time sports at school.

When she is not snowboarding, Riley is involved in the school’s choir as a soprano, plays soccer, runs on the school’s JV track team, skateboards, and body boards in the summer at the beach. She is also an excellent student dedicated to her academics.

Riley’s future goals are working her way up in rank, participate once more in Burton US Open, and make it to the Olympics, Riley Rivera has a full schedule that requires much endurance and commitment for a student-athlete, but looks positively towards the future.  When asked to give advice to others who are striving to be on the same path as her, she states, “work hard, do NOT give up, it’s going to be hard of course to achieve the goals that you have, but in the end, it’s always worth it.”