Teter uses halfpipe as charity springboard

Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:21pm EST
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By Steve Ginsburg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hannah Teter has led such a charmed life that the Olympic snowboard champion even has an ice cream flavor named after her: The Maple Blondie.

The easygoing, 23-year-old Vermont native has fame and fortune, and concedes that making a living doing tricks on a snowboard is not a bad way to go through life.

Yet social awareness has a big place in the soul of the 2006 Olympic halfpipe champion, the youngest of five siblings, who began snowboarding at the age of nine.

"I've always felt really lucky and really privileged with my life, how I grew up and the opportunities I've had," she told Reuters in a recent telephone interview.

"From a young age I knew if I were ever to make it big in the world that I would want to be somebody who was going to give back and be a positive role model.

"After the last Olympics, it was a prime opportunity to do something."

After reaching the top of the podium at the 2006 Turin Olympics, Teter embarked on a charitable mission through her website Hannah's Gold (www.hannahsgold.com) to help an impoverished town in Kenya to acquire basic necessities.

"The slogan is, 'A world that works for everybody, including everybody,' We're starting with Kenya, getting them clean water, and then hopefully branching out," the American said. "I've got a lot of my sponsors on board."   Continued...

<p>Snowboarder Hannah Teter of the U.S. grabs her snowboard during the half pipe snowboarding competition at the 2010 U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Park City Mountain Resort in Park City, Utah January 23, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>