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Ski and snowboard team wins back-to-back competitions

February 6, 2012 : By Olivia Witherite/ Liberty University News Service

Ryan Leeds, snowboard team captain, helps lead Liberty's team to a first-place finish at the USCSA Slopestyle competition at Wintergreen Resort on Sunday, Feb. 5.

Liberty University’s skiing and snowboarding team swept the competition this weekend, beating universities at home at Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre and on the road at Wintergreen Resort in Wintergreen, Va.

In its first competition of the season, Liberty hosted the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) Slopestyle competition on Saturday, Feb. 4. Liberty took first place in all of its individual competitions, beating out Virginia Tech, Appalachian State University and the University of Virginia.

“We were pretty confident going in that we were going to have a good showing. We came in with a purpose,” head coach Will Scheren said. “There’s a lot of practice going in to the last four months.”

Earning first-place finishes were Ryan Leeds, men’s snowboarding; Eden Jones, women’s snowboarding; and Brad Hardwick, men’s skiing.

On Sunday, the team traveled north to Wintergreen for the second USCSA Slopestyle competition of the season. Liberty took on many East Coast schools, including the University of Virginia, East Carolina University, Appalachian State University, Duke University and James Madison University. Again, Liberty emerged first in men’s snowboarding (Zach Bukolt), women’s snowboarding (Eden Jones) and men’s skiing (Matt Rodgers).

The team practices year-round at Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre, the only slope of its kind in North America made of Snowflex, a synthetic material that simulates the effects of snow.

Scheren credits Snowflex for much of the team’s success.

“It helps a lot just because our guys get to practice year-round. We get to really learn how to stomp out tricks,” Scheren said. “I think just having (Snowflex) there to learn new stuff gives us an edge on the other competition. … We have a larger bag of tricks than they do.”

The team is working toward the USCSA Nationals in Maine in March. For the full schedule, click here.

The skiing and snowboarding team is one of 29 club sports offered at Liberty.