Chloe Kim, a pro snowboarder, and her dog, Reese, a Miniature Australian Shepherd, both have reputations for being highly active.
From October through March in any given season, Kim is training and competing on snow to maintain her position as the best women’s halfpipe snowboarder in the world, defending her Olympic gold medal in halfpipe from the 2018 Pyeongchang Games at the Beijing Olympics this February.
And Reese, according to Kim, lives up to her breed’s billing as one of the most active out there, requiring hours of activity every week to stay healthy and happy.
So when Kim and Reese had the opportunity to partner with Purina Pro Plan for its Million Mile Challenge initiative, which aims to challenge owners and their dogs to get out and get active to log miles, it was a no-brainer for them both.
Kim, one of the faces of women’s snowboarding around the world, has an impressive list of sponsors including some of the biggest names in their respective industries—Nike, ROXY, Oakley, Toyota and Monster Energy. So whenever she’s approached by a brand for a potential partnership, she thinks carefully about how it aligns with her values and her goals.
“I think its really important for me to have it make sense when it comes to working with a brand; it wouldn’t make sense for me to do a cat food campaign, because I don’t have a cat,” Kim, 21, said. “Purina Pro Plan was such an incredible opportunity for us; it was Reese’s big debut!”
In this moment, as we speak, Kim sits on Zoom with Reese in her lap. The mini Aussie’s sleepy demeanor, eyes slowly closing as she rests in Kim’s arms, belies her typically high-energy state.
“Reese being an Australian Shepherd, you can imagine she’s very high-energy and really likes to stay active,” Kim said. “It’s amazing to work with a brand that can fuel her and her energy.”
A couple months ago, Kim says, she and her boyfriend, skateboarder Evan Berle, took Reese along on a “massive” 15-mile hike. “And Reese was just trekking along the whole way,” Kim said.
Now six years old, Reese, whom you may remember from her Sports Illustrated cover after Kim won gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics, had started to slow down a little. She’d probably have a good hour or two of hiking in her before she got tired, Kim said. “As a professional athlete, [my hikes] aren’t just flat; it’s a pretty heavy incline for a long period of time, so she would get pretty tired. But after we made the switch to Purina Pro Plan Sport she’s been able to keep up.”
On that 15-mile hike with a steady incline, Reese was running ahead of Kim and Berle, checking everything out, and was able to keep up with them the whole time. “I was kind of jealous,” Kim said, laughing. “I feel like I need some of that food. I’m getting tired; what’s going on?!”
In her partnership with Purina Pro Plan, Kim and Reese will be hitting the trails more frequently in order to log miles toward the overall goal of 1 million, and other dog owners are invited to join in. For every mile, Purina Pro Plan will contribute 10 cents, up to $100,000, to Athletes for Animals, an organization founded in 2013 by Kelly and David Backes for advocating, rescuing and protecting the welfare of homeless pets around the U.S.
People can track their miles—walking, hiking, running, swimming or otherwise—with their dogs on the activity logging app Strava and contribute to the overall goal.
It’s no surprise, given her deep bond with Reese, that Kim’s favorite cross-training activity outside the professional snowboarding season is hiking. But she’s also been hitting the gym more to work with her trainer, Roy Chan, who in the lead-up to the Beijing Games helped Kim stabilize her core and increase her strength so that her body could better handle taking the sometimes hard impacts of the halfpipe.
Reese, unsurprisingly, is a fixture at the gym too, where she comes to “work out—really, she just naps and licks my trainer,” Kim said. But anytime there’s a ball involved—if Kim has to roll out her feet or do ball slams—Reese makes it her business to involve herself.
In addition to hiking three or four times a week, Kim also enjoys walking at the dog beach with Reese. Though the Mini Aussie hasn’t showed a lot of interest in swimming, she likes to get her paws wet and trot alongside her famous mom—sometimes accidentally blowing her cover.
“It’s so funny because I was walking her at the dog beach in Huntington and I hear this girl, ‘Oh my gosh, that looks like Reese!’ and then they were like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s Chloe Kim!’” Kim recalls, laughing. “They recognized Reese and then they put two and two together and realized it was me and I was like, oh my god, Reese, you blew my cover! I had a hat, sunglasses, and she totally blew my cover.”
Kim has long wanted to get involved in causes supporting animals and hopes her partnership with Purina Pro Plan on the Million Mile Challenge is just the beginning of her work in that sphere. “I just think it’s so amazing, just getting out there with your dog, giving to a good cause. It’s 10 cents a mile, so let’s get that money!”
Anyone interested in learning more about the challenge and how to register can find details on proplansport.com.
If dog owners are feeling particularly competitive, Kim will be tracking her activity and progress through Strava. It may be difficult for anyone to keep up with her and Reese, however.
“I’ve made a plan to go on a few more long hikes with my boyfriend this week so that we can really get out there,” Kim said. “Just go on a walk, go on a run, go on a bike ride, get out there, and have a fun moment to spend with your beloved pet,” she adds, scratching and petting a very contented Reese in her lap.
She’ll also be celebrating her birthday this upcoming weekend—as well as finally properly celebrating her second consecutive Olympic gold medal. “My parents went to Korea so I feel like I really didn’t get to celebrate at all,” Kim said. “So my parents are coming home and we’re going to do a big proper celebration.”
The professional snowboarding season has wrapped, but the work is just beginning for Kim. She’s inarguably queen of the halfpipe, but if the Beijing Games showed anything it’s that there are plenty of other women around the world nipping at her heels.
It will be a long off-season of hikes with Reese and working out in the gym so that Kim can maintain her seat on the throne when the 2022-23 World Cup season kicks off in October.