Olympian Chloe Kim on Her Favorite Mountains, Embracing Jet Lag, and Becoming an Example for Young Female Snowboarders

"Seeing how much of an impact I have been able to make on other women and young girls, has been extremely empowering and has been a lot more fulfilling than just the gold,” she told T+L.

Chloe Kim
Chloe Kim . Photo:

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Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim has won a lot of accolades in her life, but one of the most rewarding is when young girls chat with her on the slopes.

In fact, she told Travel + Leisure, it’s her favorite part.

“Whenever I'm on the mountains, it's all these young girls coming up to me, telling me how big of an inspiration I am to them, and them telling me about all the cool tricks they're learning,” she told T+L. “[They’re] telling me that they want to be just like me one day when they grow up, it's really cool.”

In 2018, Kim became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal at the Pyeongchang games when she was just 17 years old. In 2022, she won another gold at the Beijing Olympics. And in 2026, she told T+L, she plans to head to Italy to compete in her third Olympics.

Chloe Kim
Chloe Kim.

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But it’s that public platform she’s earned that has been one of the most rewarding parts of her career. 

“When I first started snowboarding, my goal was to win an Olympic gold medal and I don't think I really knew what would happen after that,” Kim said. “But being able to see it now, and seeing how much of an impact I have been able to make on other women and young girls, has been extremely empowering and has been a lot more fulfilling than just the gold.”

That’s part of why she partnered with Mucinex Fast-Max for the company’s “Small But Mighty” campaign in which $100,000 will be donated to five YMCA chapters this year, including a donation that will go to the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA to support its winter youth leadership program. 

“It is really important to me because I started with very humble beginnings, immigrant family,” Kim said. “And just knowing how much this support could help others achieve their dreams is really important to me because we had a lot of help as well. And I think without that support, I wouldn't have gotten to this point.”

Kim grew up snowboarding in California, first at Mountain High Resorts, which sits just a couple hours away from Los Angeles, and then at Mammoth Mountain. Now, she travels the world competing and riding for fun, and dreams of going back to Japan to ride the amazing powder — where she went for some soul-cleansing riding before the Pyeongchang games.

Her favorite mountains to travel to are the Swiss Alps, especially Crans-Montana, where Kim actually lived for a few years when she was younger. There, she gets to practice her French and enjoy the amazing views.

“I actually would love to have a home there at some point,” she said. “[There’s] so many fun activities, it's beautiful… The people are so kind, the food is amazing. I love it there, I want to go back.”

Chloe Kim
Chloe Kim.

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While most of Kim’s trips are to cold destinations, she has a few warm-weather getaways on her radar: Thailand, Bora Bora, and Jamaica, to name a few.

“I think this year, now that I have some time off, I am definitely going to be going to more [warm] countries, and do more relaxing traveling,” she said. “I'm going to have to squeeze all of those in at some point.”

Of course, all of those plans are leading up to a big trip Kim will take for the Winter Olympics in Italy. But beyond the incredible skills she’ll showcase on the halfpipe, like most travelers who head to Italy, she is looking forward to two things: “pasta and wine, thank you very much.”

And, like many travelers, Kim isn’t great at getting over jet lag. So instead, she’s learned to embrace it.

“For me, it actually takes a long time to get over jet lag, but there's something about waking up at three in the morning that's kind of nice,” she said. “It's all dark, it's all quiet. When I go, it's typically snowing most of the time so I get to look out the window and just enjoy the snow at night.”

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