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THE OUTDOORS ALMANAC | BOOKSHELF

Flying pretty

The uppity life of an ex-pro germ freak.

November 04, 2003|Pamm Higgins

In the turn-and-burn world of action sports, 34-year-old Californian Tina Basich is big for the big air she got in the '90s and still gets in videos such as "Keep Your Eyes Open."

Her pivotal snowboarding trick -- a backside 720, which most guys could not come close to doing when she pulled it off in 1998 -- is the XXL achievement in her petite (and Barbie pink) new autobiography.

Here is a sampling from "Pretty Good for a Girl" (HarperEntertainment).

On nailing the backside 720: "I took three deep breaths and dropped onto the runway. In my head I repeated the words 'strong legs, strong legs.' The speed was fast and I launched off the jump, twisted my body to begin the rotation, spun around once very tight and fast, then went for another spin in the air.... My rotation was perfect, square to the mountain. I landed exactly where I had visualized it.... I had done it!"

On a later crash: "I landed flat, on the top deck, all the air knocked from my lungs, missing the downhill slope of the landing by two feet. It all seemed so slow in the air, but it happened really fast. I crashed so hard -- like hitting cement -- that my body bounced like a rubber doll."

On competing post-crash: "I took in my three deep breaths, feeling cold air burn in my lungs. I dropped in. Speed was good. Just at the lip before I took flight, I could feel it. My bravery was there, my talent was there, and I got my 720 spin around."

On the downside of winning: "I can tell you that being the underdog and winning is the ultimate high. But winning when you're expected to win is more of a feeling of relief that you can even come out there and pull it off."

On her hotel workout: "Put the phone books and the Bible in a pillowcase and use this as a weight to do arm curls."

On her vigilance against germs: "Whenever I order a drink I always ask for a straw, which is usually clean and fresh, instead of sipping on the lipstick prints from some old lady who drank from that glass before you."

On her ninth-grade report card: "Five A's and one B (in English)."

-- Pamm Higgins

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