Students journey to jumps

The Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center (LMSC) began its second Trails 2 Rails experience, Journey to the Jumps, Feb. 21, offering students an opportunity to expand their skills in skiing or snowboarding.

Pump up the skills — Liberty students looking to expand their skiing and snowboarding skills set took part in the Trails 2 Rails tryouts, hoping for a chance to learn more about executing intense jumps. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

Students took to the slopes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. to participate in the initial tryout sessions for Journey to the Jumps. The tryout sessions were open to any Liberty University student who wanted to learn more about skiing or snowboarding, while learning to execute jumps.

“I’m really excited that we are able to give students who have never skied or snowboarded before an opportunity to learn a lifetime sport,” Director of LMSC Ski School, Brent Blakeney, said.

In order to be a part of the program, students had to attend at least one of the sessions so that the instructors and coaching staff could meet the participants and observe their skill level.

The tryouts the first week were conducted at the beginner slope to see how much skill the students had, and to see if they would be taken to the next level.

While no skills were required to attend, many students just wanted to expand their skills by learning to do intense jumps.

“I’ve skied my whole life, but have never really tried the jumps,” sophomore Mark Landis said. “I figured if they are going to train us, I would just take the opportunity and run with it.”

The coaching staff at the LMSC made their selections Thursday evening on who would be advancing to the next round starting the following week. Each student that the coaching staff thought had enough skill or willingness to take on the challenge of the intimidating jumps would then be allowed to take part in a two-month training program.

No longer on the beginner slopes, the students would be able to work on improving their skills and learning to be more comfortable with the jumps, pushing themselves to the limit.

One of the perks of advancing into the next round of Journey to the Jumps is an opportunity to compete in the third annual Dew Games on April 28 at the Snowflex Centre. Students will get to compete for $10,000 in cash prizes, including gear and equipment.

Because some of the jumps are intense and could be dangerous, the LMSC staff urged students to start with the basics and build from there, moving at their own pace and following the instruction they were given.

The staff at Snowflex hopes to record and photograph the entire event to document each participant’s accomplishments and growth over the course of the next few months.

For more information on Snowflex or Journey to the Jumps, call 582-3539.

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