DOVER -- Having already earned her spot on the U.S. Olympic halfpipe snowboarding team, Kelly Clark says she was happy to go home and spend the holidays with her family.

"I get to simply work on my snowboarding now," she said.

Clark’s home had been in West Dover for her earlier days on a snowboard. She learned how to compete as a student of the Mount Snow Academy.

It was at Copper Mountain in Colorado, where she clinched her spot on the 2014 Olympic halfpipe snowboarding teams. Days before Christmas, Clark won the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix event.

On Jan. 9, she spoke with the Reformer via telephone from Breckenridge, Colo., where she was on location for the third qualifying event for athletes attempting to go to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Olympic Games.

There are five of these qualifying competitions altogether. Only the top two athletes from each group make the Olympic Team. An official announcement of just who else made that team will be made on Jan. 19.

Although, the points Clark has earned in earlier competitions have made her "virtually unbeatable" for the spot, she will continue to practice for the Olympics by competing at these types of contests.

"I’m the only one who has enough points right now. There’s some other people who have set themselves up pretty promising," she said.

Before the Winter X-Games, there are a couple qualifying events and other contests in between.

Before the Winter X-Games, there are a couple qualifying events and other contests in between.

"I always find the best preparation for big events is to do big events," said Clark. "My focus is on these next events and to try and really put myself in difficult competitive situations so I can be prepared as can be. I’m going to try and take risks and take technical runs so when the Olympics come around, they won’t be as risky and I’ll be as comfortable as I can be."

She mentioned falling during the first round of the qualifying events.

"If that happens at Sochi, I want to get up again and still have a chance," Clark added.

On Jan. 31, she will head to Germany for processing before the games. From there, she will go to Russia.

Having won bronze in the last Olympics four years ago in Vancouver, Canada, this is nothing new for Clark. She has also won gold in 2002.

Although much of her time is spent training in the halfpipe, working out in the gym and recovering from that grueling schedule, her nonprofit organization the Kelly Clark Foundation has just announced another round of funding will be released this year. It will enable young athletes, who wouldn’t have had the opportunity without financial support, the chance to ride. Approximately nine children will benefit from this round of funding. Throughout the past four years, the foundation has given out $65,000 towards getting more kids out on the snow.

Although much of her time is spent training in the halfpipe, working out in the gym and recovering from that grueling schedule, her nonprofit organization the Kelly Clark Foundation has just announced another round of funding will be released this year. It will enable young athletes, who wouldn’t have had the opportunity without financial support, the chance to ride. Approximately nine children will benefit from this round of funding. Throughout the past four years, the foundation has given out $65,000 towards getting more kids out on the snow.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.