Famous for her capability to do specific high-problem antics in halfpipe contests, she won back to back U.S. Championships and four Winter X Games medals. A gifted figure skater as a kid, Dunn became more enthusiastic about skiing following the family moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, when she was 9. After Steamboat Ski Resort first let snowboards on its slopes in 1987, she became hooked on the up and coming sport.
Dunn dropped from the University of Colorado to continue a vocation in snowboarding, a choice that helped push her to the forefront of a field largely controlled by guys. Showing no panic in her performances, she was the very first girl to perform such hard magic tricks as the McTwist as well as the Frontside 720 in halfpipe contests, plays that helped her claim back to back U.S. Championships in the halfpipe in 1993 and ’94. Her fashion and winning touch made her the first girl to really have a pro-model snowboard named after her.
With snowboarding quickly gaining in popularity, Dunn won the women’s halfpipe competition in the inaugural Winter X Games in 1997. The next year, utilizing a snowboard she designed, Dunn ended third in the halfpipe in the 1998 Winter Games to end up being the very first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in the sport.
In 1994, Shannon Dunn co-founded Boarding For Breast Cancer, a non-profit, youth-centered education, awareness and fundraising foundation focused on raising knowledge regarding the disorder as well as the need for early detection. Dunn switched her name in 1999 after wedding fellow snowboarder Dave Downing, with whom she’s two sons. When not focused on really being a full time mom, she loves surfing through the summertime months at their home in Encinitas, California.