Steltzer, a freshman from Maine, credits the team and Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre for helping to hone his freestyle skills and land the sponsorship.
“Basically all my tricks I’ve learned on Snowflex because it’s so easy to adapt and learn tricks,” he said.
The facility opened in 2009 and is the only slope of its kind in North America made of Snowflex, a synthetic material that simulates the effects of snow. Because it is open year-round, skiers and snowboarders have more opportunity to perfect their sport than those who can only practice during the winter months.
“Right away, we noticed something unique about Jon. His progression was increasing at a much faster pace here,” said Drew Sherwood, general manager of Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre. “With Jon being able to pick up a sponsorship, especially 4FRNT, which is a huge ski company especially in the freestyle industry, it shows a lot of good things about not only Jon, but our facility and what we’ve been able to help him do.”
Taking full advantage of the slopes in the fall, Steltzer has practiced four days a week, five hours a day.
Although he has been skiing since he was 3, he began to take a real interest in the sport when he was 15. He first came to Snowflex while visiting his older brother Tim, a former captain of Liberty’s ski team.
“(Snowflex has) a really positive atmosphere, everyone’s real cool here. It’s not just the people who work here, the skiers (too), we’re all just a group of friends that hang out, help each other progress in the sport,” Jonathan Steltzer said.
He will have his first chance to compete when the university hosts the College Freestyle Jam this Saturday, Feb. 4. The United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association event will feature more than 80 top high school and college athletes.
The ski and snowboarding team is one of 29 club sports offered at Liberty.