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Skiers, snowboarders perform well; DeMoss Rail Jam on tap

January 26, 2011 : David Hylton/Liberty University News Service

Liberty's Matt Rodgers, above, performs in the skiing halfpipe event in the weekend event against University of Maryland. Below, Zak Bukolt, performs a move in the snowboarding halfpipe competition.

Liberty University’s Freestyle Ski and Snowboard team is off to a hot start in its first official season in the USASA (United States of America Snowboard Association) Collegiate Division.

This past weekend, the men’s and women’s club sports teams took first place in several events competing against the University of Maryland at Whitetail Ski Resort in Pennsylvania.

Following the event, Liberty has three team members in first place in the Appalachian division of the USASA: Dave Promnitz (snowboarding), Kiersten Cummings (snowboarding) and Tim Steltzer (skiing). Other point leaders from Liberty are: Brent Washburn and Ryan Leeds (tied for second in snowboarding) and Matt Rodgers and Joe Strong (second and third for skiing).

Coaches said the teams received a lot of recognition from spectators from the weekend event and used the opportunity to talk about Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre.

“After the first two events we were really proud of how our team presented Liberty University and themselves,” said head coach Eric Hegreness. “Not only did we compete well, but everyone at the ski resort was asking where we were from and about Snowflex.”

Liberty is the only university in the country to feature a ski slope on its campus, Hegreness said.

“The team really pushed themselves hard to make sure they represented Liberty well,” said assistant coach Will Scheren. “I was proud to be wearing an LU jacket and to be coaching the team.”

Following last week’s event, the team is gearing up for what Hegreness describes as a “marathon” of a weekend Jan. 29-30. Saturday morning the team heads to Wintergreen Resort – about an hour from campus – to compete against the University of Maryland and Virginia Tech. They’ll then return to campus for the DeMoss Rail Jam – an exhibition event – and then head back to Wintergreen on Sunday for a second day of competitions.

The DeMoss Rail Jam will feature several members of the team showing off their skills to about 2,000 people in front of DeMoss Hall, said Snowflex general manager Drew Sherwood. The public can also take part in the event.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top skiers and snowboarders, he said, and fans will have a chance to walk away with prizes as well.

Sherwood said fan prizes this weekend include a weekend trip to Massanutten Ski Resort, a TV, a PlayStation 3, Flip cameras, iPods and much more.

Saturday’s event gets under way at 7 p.m. in front of DeMoss Hall. For more information, visit the Tickets & Events section of the Snowflex website.