Ski and snowboard teams continue to gain competitive edges at Snowflex
After holding a Big Air competition in late September, Liberty University’s men’s and women’s ski & snowboard teams are gearing up to host a Slopestyle event at the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre on Oct. 30 at 3 p.m. as they practice for the winter regular-season schedule.
“We are so excited to be back at it, another year with the ski & snowboard team, another season to be able to be preparing for the season pretty much when no other schools are because of this facility,” Gibson said. “It is such a blessing and we’re thankful for it. Being able to practice here at Snowflex on a daily basis is incredible. Being able to host contests and … really testing their skill level and their consistency … in the fall is awesome to prepare us and get us better equipped for the regular season and competing against other universities.”
The Flames and Lady Flames enjoyed one of their best performances at USCSA nationals in program history in the March 2020 event, shortened one day by the pandemic.
“Last year, with all of our competitions being canceled, it was definitely a pretty big disappointment for the team,” Gibson said. “As of right now, everything’s a go for a (USCSA) National (Championship) contest as well as a regular season, so we’re really looking forward to it.”
“It’s really nice to get back on Snowflex, to get used to it again,” Flames senior snowboarder Ian Rosario added. “The season’s looking good. We have nationals in Lake Placid (N.Y.) this year in early March. Hopefully, we can pull through and put Liberty on the national stage.”
Gibson said with the program’s recent success, including the first two individual national titles by Coleen Leja, who is now a senior, interest from prospective student-athletes is rising.
“The team is continuing to grow,” Gibson said. “Our female side of the team is bigger than ever before so it is awesome to see that, and then athletes coming in with more experience. That just means that we’re going to be able to get to another level of progression.”
What Gibson most enjoys seeing at Snowflex, and what keeps skiers and snowboarders coming back to the synthetic slopes, is the team culture on the Mountain.
“I think the most exciting part about coming up here is just the camaraderie with the group and how we all get along so well, doing something we enjoy and also getting to glorify God through it,” graduate Bobby Bynum said. “Our freshmen coming in on the ski side are definitely willing to send it and get a little rowdy in the air, so that’s definitely going to help us out. We’ve got some really good talent coming in and it’s honestly cool to see the all the guys pushing each other and ultimately getting better each and every day.”
Video edited by Kylee Ligle/Club Sports Video & Media Assistant