The first time half pipe world champion Roz Groenewoud ever won a competition, she spent her winnings on a plane ticket to Montreal to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform. The cross-country trip from her hometown just outside Vancouver to Montreal may seem like a long way to go to catch a concert, but Groenewoud is a seasoned traveler.  At only 22-years-old, the athlete has zig-zagged the globe to compete in tournaments everywhere from France to Japan and Switzerland to New Zealand.  

Groenewoud is hoping to continue logging air miles when she heads to Russia with the Canadian National Team to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Until then, the skier, who's recently landed a sponsorship deal with Target -- their first sponsorship of a Canadian athlete as well as of a female snow-sports athlete -- will continue her "balancing act" of participating in competitions while working towards a Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts and Science, with a focus on math and physics, at Quest University in Squamish, British Columbia. Though the physics lab might seem a world away from the ski slope, Groenewoud occasionally sees the two disciplines cross over. When her ski coach comments on her momentum during a maneuver, she often thinks, "actually that wasn't my momentum -- that was my inertia."

Photo credit: Spyder

When not skiing or studying, the athlete is often listening to music, though she says that "skiing has definitely decreased my ability to keep up with the music scene." Groenewoud prefers getting ready to Florence and the Machine and practicing to "Jay-Z and Dre" but when it's go time, there's only one song that gets her blood pumping: "The Game Needs Me" by Seattle rap trio Dyme Def.

Set against this soundtrack, Groenewoud has had a big year, winning gold at the two X-Games and placing second in the Winter Dew Tour. Amidst these wins, however, 2012 brought one major loss: the skiing accident-related death of her close friend and fellow athlete, Sarah Burke. Hoping she will never again "have to do anything as hard as competing at the X-Games the week after Sarah's death," Groenewoud plans to honor her friend's legacy by continuing to set a positive example for girls interested in extreme sports. Urging girls not to change themselves to fit the mold of tomboy athletes she says, "You can be feminine and a really strong and powerful athlete. You don't have to change yourself or any part of yourself to pursue athletics."

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