Super Fun. • 03.11.14
The dream realized. After 14 years in the making, adaptive snowboarding has evolved into its own entity. Thanks to all the people and organizations that have pushed for this moment for over a decade. I made the pick for the U.S. Paralympics Snowboard National Team. So stoked!
Click below on the USP logo for the full article at: teamusa.org
It is the last day of the season at the Big in Whitefish, MT and I am not riding. My neck is stiff and my arm has a lack of sensation in various spots. I guess this is what happens when you try to flatten out the roller section of the course with your face. It didn’t work. I was able to pull myself together enough to take my third run and manage a 4th place finish.
I keep thinking about the sign on the ceiling during my x-rays that said, “consider this to be just another part of your alpine experience.” The truth of running boardercross is that it is not a matter of if you go down…it is a matter of when. This is true of all snowboarding; when you love it you just keep sending it.
US Paralympics will be announcing the national team picks in a few weeks. Cross your fingers!
After a 14 hour drive home from Big White in a packed team van, I had some restorative time yesterday…a little me time. It is amazing what a directional twin, a solo hike, and slushy spring corn snow can do for your soul. I love the competitive element of adaptive snowboarding but it is taxing. I leave for the US National Championships at 5a.m. tomorrow.
I have to give it up to the Canadians. This was the best boardercross course I have ever shredded. I loved the flow, the deep banked corners, and the table tops that are just big enough to scare you a bit. Check out this video from Big White.
The event was billed as one World Cup but it was actually two days of racing with two chances to gain IPC points. These points help determine a rider’s position on the US Team and if they make the team at all. Each athlete has three runs and the best two are combined to determine who wins.
On the first day of competition, I had the oddest run of my life. The jump at the finish line had a bad lip and it was sending riders in awkward directions. I gunned it off the jump and when I landed I buckled at the waist, kissed my boots, and spun an unintentional 180. Now riding switch, I headed toward the finish line. Then I clipped the gate about 1 foot in front of the line and was disqualified. This left me in 11th place for the day but as they say, “that’s racing.”
On day two of racing, things came together so much better for me. I had consistent times and good placement internationally. The results from these two days combined puts me 4th in the US and leaves me with a good chance of making Team USA!
After 13 years in organized sport, this unique group of individuals continues to blow my mind. I do not believe in much but I am intuitive enough to know when I have been blessed. Thanks for the good times people.
I am currently at the IPC Para-Snowboard World Cup at Big White B.C. The course is a series of deep banked corners and table top jumps. It is super fun and has so much flow that one turn has been dubbed ‘the toilet bowl’. Boardercross footage to come. I have had some technical difficulties with the camera. For now, enjoy some blower turns from back home in Montana.
Here I am at the end of this segment of an amazing adventure. At the second NorAm boardercross event in Copper Mountain, CO, I placed 4th in the US and 6th internationally. So excited about this! This puts me in good standing to be selected for US national team this spring. There is one more qualifying event in April. I also may be able to attend the World Cup in Canada come March. Cross your fingers!
While doing well in these competitions is awesome, I don’t feel as though I am competing for a spot on the podium, a medal, or the right to say I am the best. I feel like I am competing for the right to go on the next amazing adventure. By seeking the podium, I am able to go further… to experience more. The people I meet, the sick places to shred and the journey are the true prize.
Here I am in Frisco, CO. Tired, ready for a day off snow, and to otherwise be out of motion. I have spent the last 2 days in a bus with my teammates traveling from the Paralympic qualifier in Tahoe to the next NorAm here in CO. Riding in this vehicle feels like you are standing in the galley of a ship for 28 hours straight.
At the US Paralympic NorAm Boardercross in Tahoe, I placed 4th in the US and 8th internationally. So stoked! My goal for this season is to step my riding up and to make the US national team selection in May. This event was a solid start. There are two more North American events to go before a national team is selected. This makes me a little nervous.
The whole experience in Tahoe was amazing. The BX course was fun with a lot of flow. The course timing system was great and event staff were very professional. Leave it to Brent Kuemmerle of the Tahoe Adaptive Competition Center run a flawless race and to book the event right next to the coolest bowling alley in California. Nice work, El Duderino!
The event in Tahoe was the largest gathering of adaptive snowboard competitors in world. Yes, it was a record at 51 athletes! For me, this is validation that the sport I adore has truly become successful. I define success as something that lives beyond your own efforts and beyond the contributions of others. I was standing at the top of the race course looking at dozens of foreign competitors and realized that I didn’t know any of them. They did this on their own. This is success. Adaptive snowboarding is now an entity within itself.
I am looking forward to the next event. Training starts the day after tomorrow.
Please check out the photos and video below.
Well folks, a super productive week. Stu Rea, of Team Utah, was out with us on Friday night at the Utah Olympic Park for BX training. Yes Stu, flat board, got it!
My custom BX race board will be here in the morning. I have to get it into Rennstall, a ski and snowboard tuning shop, for a base grind and a solid race tune before the first NorAm event in Tahoe on the 27th. Rennstall is like a honeyhole vortex of superior tuning, rad customer service and a shop that knows how to bro down. I have long thought that the soul of Park City had been drained out but this shop and the unique people they employ have proven me wrong. It is the kind of shop where if you are on the team, you are family. A high five, a thank you and a six pack of cold ones goes a long way. Word to Rennstall!
Check out the video of Friday night practice. Thanks and stay tuned!
Today, training was great. Thank you Ryan Enfield of Team Utah! You are an awesome BX coach. Super fun and constructive day.
After practice, I finally got some footage of the step down feature. There could be a feature like this in the NorAm events at the end of the month and a little hang time now will help me later. Please check out the GoPro photo of the jump and video of me gettin r done. Yes Dad, I bought some short term accident insurance.