MAHALAH Mullins’ goal is simple — to be the best in the world.
Sibling rivalry was the catalyst to the teenager’s passion for snowboarding that now sees her in a state of perpetual winters, travelling from southern to northern hemisphere in the quest for snow.
The Albury Scots School student spends our summer in Colorado — on the snow five days a week, hitting the school books in between training sessions and on days off.
The 15-year-old only started competing two years ago but swept all before her last winter in her preferred slopestyle discipline — a new event at the winter Olympics.
Slopestyle involves performing tricks in a terrain park, with points allocated for the complexity of the moves and style over the course.
“I would like to be No. 1 on the World Snowboard Tour world rankings. ... I would like to be able to explore the other sides of snowboarding.”Mahalah Mullins
Mullins won all under-18 competitions in Australia this year and qualified second in the US titles and finished sixth.
In late November she was included in the shadow Olympic squad, following in the footsteps of a fellow student who made the Vancouver Games in 2010 at the same age, Britt Cox.
Mullins missed out on Sochi and while Olympics remain high on her agenda her goals are even more lofty.
“I would like to be No.1 on the World Snowboard Tour world rankings,” she said from Breckenridge at the weekend.
“Olympics have always been a major goal for me however I would also like to be able to explore the other sides of snowboarding such as filming and backcountry riding.
“I’m very motivated to help progress women’s snowboarding.”
The world of snowboarding is split into two competing tours with the International Ski Federation running World Cup events and the Olympics, the World Snowboard Tour the X Games and other major events.
“World Cups are the journey to the Olympics,” Mullins said.
“Not all the best riders are always there due to various countries selection processes.
“The Olympics are the pinnacle of snowboarding events and allow us to broadcast our sport to the world.
“But world cups become less relevant post Olympics while WST competitions such as X Games and Burton US Open are always important.”
Mullins started snowboarding at Falls Creek when just six years old.
“My parents only started skiing as family activity but they have definitely inspired me to work hard,” she said.
“I started snowboarding because my older brother and I were always competitive — snowboarding was something he didn’t have a head start on.”
Mullins admits pursuing her sporting ambition and keeping up with schoolwork were a challenge.
“Now I ride (train) five days a week,” she said.
“On those days I ride from 9am — 1.30pm before going to the gym for an hour’s recovery.
“I then do school work until 6pm.
“On my days off I do around seven hours of school work.”
Mullins’ immediate goal is a podium finish at a world championship.
“I’m competing in the junior worlds later this season — hoping to get a top-10 or possibly a podium,” she said.
“I will continue to compete in world cups but my goal for next season is to qualify for a six-star WST event such as the US Open.”
Mullins also expects her sport to continue to grow in popularity following its introduction into the winter Olympics.
“I think it was a very progressive competition,” she said.
“There was definitely some controversy regarding judging but the level of riding was high and the challenging course saw the riders step up.
“There has been a big shift from the popularity of half pipe to slopestyle over the last few years and this will only encourage that to continue.”
Mullins said she never tires of the endless winter.
“I occasionally miss the summer but I figure that I’ll have at least one season over my career when I’m injured and be able to enjoy all that then,” she said.