Candace Parker is perhaps best known for her role as forward for the Los Angeles Sparks. When not playing for the WNBA, Parker spends the off-season playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg in chilly Siberia. As a professional athlete, Parker spends much of her time traveling the globe for games — even winning a gold medal during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Not a bad souvenir.
HuffPost Travel caught up with the 25-year-old basketball player on her Christmas break back in the States to talk travel, her favorite spots and just how cold it really gets in Siberia.
Huffington Post Travel: Where do you travel most often while playing in Siberia?
Candace Parker: I play for UMMC Ekaterinburg, which is east of Moscow via a two-and-a-half-hour flight. We travel constantly to play the EuroLeague and the Russian Premier League — we go to Spain, Istanbul, France, Germany and Poland. One of the big problems with playing in Russia is that every flight is 6 to 7 hours. When I go back to Russia [in January], we play in Istanbul and I’m so excited.
HPT: What do you enjoy most about playing in Russia?
CP: I love that everyone from my team is from a different place, so I just sit in the back of the plane and chat with my teammates about where they are from.