Snowboarding and skiing competition hits the rails
March 6, 2012 | Lynchburg,VA
Heavy snow was falling, the temperature was far below freezing and the event was held on a slope-style course, but this was not enough to keep Liberty University's Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding Team from qualifying for the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association nationals at last week's Mid-Atlantic Regionals.
The event was held at West Virginia's Snowshoe Mountain Resort, but the snow kept the event from taking place on the larger, better shaped parks. This created a challenge for the team as they are more proficient at larger features and, more specifically, larger jumps.
The snow was to blame for the difficult riding conditions, as it was extremely slow and made it hard to get enough speed even for the smaller jumps. The riders had to be pulled in by their coaches in an attempt to get more speed.
The course consisted of two small jumps with a five-foot gap, an oil-barrel-bonk on top a spine transfer, a down-rail or down-box option, a rail or hip transfer option and a butter-box or a kink-rail. It was recommend that athletes hit as many features as possible on their run through the course to increase their chance of a higher score.
"The course was alright for the most part, it was just the snow. It snowed so much it made it slow and hard to clear the jumps. The down box was my favorite feature," Liberty senior and snowboard team rider Zach Huff said.
Starting and finishing USCSA regionals meant that the team was qualified for nationals at Sunday River, Maine. This was due to a unique position that the Southeastern division of the USCSA was in.
Knowing this information up front was a huge advantage to competing at regionals. It meant that athletes could represent Liberty well and still save some of their bigger, better tricks for nationals. The need to start and finish Saturday had the team up at 6 a.m. to make the three-hour trip to Snowshoe Mountain, and they made the trip back as soon as the event was over.
Coaches Will Scheren and Kevin Mangioub accompanied athletes Ethan Acree, Zach Huff, Zach Bukolt, Dave Promnitz, Eden Jones and Jonathan Steltzer on a the trip.
These six athletes contended against the best collegiate athletes that the Mid-Atlantic had to offer from big names schools like the University of Virginia, Appalachian State University and West Virginia University.
"We rode great. Everybody qualified for nationals." head coach Scheren said. "Eden Jones won the girls division, and we had many other riders podium. It was a difficult day to ride, conditions were slow and snowy, but our riders rode great. Our main objective was to get in there and qualify for nationals and that's what we did."