Skip to main content

Kelly Clark's Power Tools

  • Author:
  • Publish date:

The four-time Olympic snowboarder on her go-to creative outlet: woodworking

When I started to furnish my home, I had the desire to express myself, but I didn't just want to buy the same things everyone else had in their homes. I wanted to have my own furniture. So I learned about woodworking much like any rookie would [learn to snowboard].

There's a trendy coffee shop in Mammoth, California, where I live, that does a really good job of restoring things. I go in there and get inspiration sometimes. Then I go to the local scrap yard. It's amazing what you can find.

I also use a lot of beetle-kill wood. The trees die after beetles infest them, but it's actually cool because I'm not cutting down trees, I'm using wood that's already dead. It comes with these blue streaks from the beetles in it, which is kind of cool, too.


​My coffee table is definitely my favorite thing I've made because I knew what I wanted, I could envision it, and I made it specifically for the room. It's beautiful.

My brain is always going, and I'm constantly multi-tasking. I've never been very good at resting. For me, woodworking is an outlet. It gives me something constructive to do that doesn't recruit all areas of my brain.

I don't have to be thinking about travel plans or snowboarding, it's simply focusing on the task at hand. It's really refreshing for me because I usually have such a complex approach to life. If I can simplify it and just build something, it's wonderful for me. I love it.

Photos: Jed Jacobsohn for Sports Illustrated (woodworking), Cameron Spencer/Getty Images (action)