Spring is coming!

This time of the season is the part of the snowboarding season where snowboarding overlaps with track. And it kinda gets stressful. Later today I’m signing up for track, which marks the first day of spring sports at the high school. On one hand, I’m psyched for it – I’ve been running a few days a week, getting my sprint speed up. Hopefully cross country pays off and I’ll be able to shave a few seconds off all my times. On the other hand, I’m still full committed to snowboarding, with a slopestyle competition at Keystone this Saturday, another slopestyle at Breckenridge on the 25th, Crested Butte boardercross on March 1st through the 4th, possible Hole Shot NorAm Tour cross competitions on March 26th-29th, Rev Tour cross at Ski Cooper on March 30th, and to cap it all off, USASA Nationals sometime during the first week of April.

Whew. That’s a lot of competitions. My track schedule is pretty packed this year, but with one significant detail: We only have two weekend meets all season until the League Championsips. That leaves time for snowboarding, which is pretty awesome. I’ll have to miss some snowboarding every few Fridays for track meets, and miss some track once or twice for Crested Butte and Nationals, but I’m confident that it will all work out in the end.

Anyways, flash back to two weekends ago. I had three boardercross competitions at Copper Mountain, which went pretty well overall. All three days, I only had 5 people in my age group, and, being the top seeded rider, I had a bye to finals, which meant that I waited till around 2 PM for one race. The first two days were pretty bad. On Friday, I collided with the rider in front of me who had fallen, and lost the race. On Saturday, I got beat straight up. I was only a few feet behind third place, but still, it was a bit crushing. Sunday, however, went a bit better. I started the race in first place, through the start and the first turn, but then got cut off around turn two and finished second. I was pretty stoked, as it was my first boardercross podium in my home series ever, having competed in 12 previous competitions with no medals (taking fourth the two prior days and at the final one last year).

Jadyn also did really well, taking second on Friday and Sunday! She’s gotten extremely good at boardercross, but if she had a race board, she’d definitely be much faster.

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Me and Jadyn on Sunday
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Jadyn preparing to race!

On Sunday, we went to Keystone to train for the slopestyle competition, and it was really beneficial. After running a slalom course made out of tree shrubs that we made (:P), I started practicing my slopestyle run, which is probably going to be switch backside 180, backflip, frontside 540.

Well, that’s just another update on my life! Hopefully I’ll get a chance to write another post next week after slopestyle!

 

 

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Competitions, Break and Semester 2

It’s been about two weeks since we got back from Christmas break, and it was definitely a much-needed rest, although we only did a little of that as we were snowboarding almost every day. But still, it was nice to have a break from the constant grind of school.

Over break, we had a photo shoot with Keystone Resort, competed in the annual New Years Eve Rail Jam at Copper, made cookies, shoveled a lot of snow that disappeared the day after, and recently, competed in the first Slopestyle competition of the season at Copper.

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A shot from our photo shoot

Semester 1 ended with lots of work, having 6 final exams in one week. It unfortunately did not get me the grades I needed to maintain a perfect GPA (4.23), so I ended up with just a 4.0 weighted GPA for this semester. Hopefully that won’t happen again.

After we got out of school, we went straight to snowboarding, and never left for the next week 😛 On Christmas, we went out as a family to snowboard at Beaver Creek before going out to a nice dinner. It was a great time, as we don’t get to snowboard all together often, even though Beaver Creek had basically no new snow.

Christmas was pretty great, but after it was over it was back to training. We all competed in the annual Copper Mtn New Years Eve Rail Jam, where I competed directly against Isaac for the first time in the 14+ age group. I had been training on rails for around a month, so I wouldn’t finish like I did at Howelsen Hill last year (10th/10). Isaac and I had a good time, and while he didn’t land the tricks he wanted to, we still had fun. I ended up 8th/17, which was about where I expected to be. Anyways, the tricks I threw will probably be the best tricks I will have done on rails this season, as I’m now training for boardercross.

Fast forward one week later to January 6th. The day before our slopestyle competition. We’d been training hard, and decided to take a fun day with the team before the comp. One of our coaches, Josh, made up a crazy fun game named by our friend Karis, called the Jimmy Points Challenge (completely random name). We’d go around Breckenridge Mountain completing challenges made up by Josh, each for certain amounts of points. Some were trick-based, such as landing a backflip or 540, and others were… people-based? Examples of that included high-fiving an entire family, getting someone to let you borrow their gloves, and even getting a pro to film you. Check out the video edit I made here, or visit my snowboarding YouTube Channel at GabeShreds.

On the day of the slopestyle competition, it had just dumped about a foot of snow, which made riding the jumps extremely slow. I was extremely happy and fortunate to still put down my run anyways (backflip, back 3, front 3), and almost put down my second run (backflip, back 3, front 5) if it wasn’t for the sketchy landing of the last jump. That put me into 3rd place, which meant I got my first Rocky Mountain Series podium. Isaac and Jadyn also put down their runs, which they were stoked about. Isaac finished 7th/21, and Jadyn took the silver with a 2nd place out of 8. Watch my first slopestyle run below:

On the podium with my friend Lachlan!

After the slopestyle competition, school kinda took over again. Nothing interesting happened up until last Saturday, when Team Summit bought time on the boardercross course at Copper Mountain, which is being used for this weekend’s boardercross races. I got to race my friends on the team, and also got some valuable practice for this weekend. The day before, on Friday, I had a real boardercross day with my coach KB and the four Australians that are visiting to race with us. We flew down Keystone’s Go Devil run at speeds above 65 mph, which was immensely fun. On Sunday, it had snowed a ton overnight, so we took advantage of the soft snow and rode the powder. In the afternoon, I sent backflips off of the only two jumps open in the park, along with my friend Akos.

Now I’m gearing up for the boardercross races coming up this weekend. I’m about to get my race board prepped with a base grind, tune and wax. So far I have 6 people in my age group total, and I have the top seed, thanks to my 15th place finish at last Nationals. I definitely want to podium, and hope I can take the win one of the three days. Jadyn’s also competing, and she’s looking really good on the course so far. I’m racing with two of the Australians training with us, so there’s always a potential for a podium sweep.

 

 

 

Almost There! – Thanksgiving, Snowboarding, and School

3 weeks left until December 22nd, also known to me as the last day of school before winter break! I just got off Thanksgiving break, but still… Something to look forward to. Well, better than the 188 days until school officially ends, at least.

Over thanksgiving break, our cousins Oz and Otis came over from Nashville, TN, and we had a fun time playing in the snow and around Breckenridge. We helped them learn to ski, and they went all over, from Keystone, to Copper, to A-Basin! While we weren’t playing with them, we were shredding hard at Copper, almost every day! I learned a lot of new tricks on rails, and I can’t wait till more terrain opens on the mountain. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like much more is going to open any time soon, as we haven’t been getting much snow at all.

On Thanksgiving, we snowboarded at Keystone while teaching our cousins how to ski, then we came home and ate and ate and ate and ate…. etc. Pie, stuffing, corn, turkey and croissant rolls were all part of an amazing dinner. If only Thanksgiving could be every week…

School’s been going pretty good, for being school. I’m working to bring up two grades to 3.5/4.0’s before the end of the semester, as I’m currently off-track for my goal, which is a small goal of a perfect GPA, which for this semester is 4.33 (I’m only on track to have a 4.0 right now 😦 How sad), and which combines with my 4.14 and 4.16 from last year to equal 4.21, and if I can pull off another near-perfect semester I can finish sophomore year with a 4.24 GPA. But anyways, most everything besides AP World History has been pretty easy lately, and it seems as though it’ll stay that way until the end of the semester.

There’s only 32 days until the New Years Eve Rail Jam at Copper, and I’m still going back and forth on whether or not to compete in it. Currently, I’m leaning towards yes, because I’ve been landing a couple of decent tricks on rails, but at the same time I wouldn’t want it to go like the Howelsen Hill Rail Jam went last year, with me crashing every other run, completely missing rails and falling all over the place in front of the judges, overall taking last place. I’ll probably make a final decision at around a week before the Rail Jam, so we’ll see.

 

 

 

Photo Shoots and Snowboarding!

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Two photo shoots last weekend at Keystone and Breckenridge made this last weekend really awesome! Last Friday (On opening day), we went to Keystone to load the gondola at 7:45, before the general public, and took some photos for Keystone before heading down (on a literally perfect groomed run!) to the new 6-person Montezuma lift to wait for 9 AM, when the rest of the people waiting in line came down to load the lift. We got to ride the first chair up, and took a few more pictures at the top before taking a few more laps by ourselves. Overall, it was really fun and a great experience, plus we got to miss school!

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Unfortunately, on Saturday, Jadyn broke her arm, so she’s out for a few weeks. She’s pretty bummed about missing all the snowboarding days on-mountain, but hopefully she’ll be back in just a few weeks! I drove a ton by myself that day, driving one of our 4runners around Copper to pick up Jadyn, then driving her to the hospital to get pins put into her arm. It’s really sad, but knowing her, she’ll be back on snow at the earliest safe date!

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On Sunday, we got invited to do a photo shoot at the Grand Lodge at Breck, and that was a great time. Dad, Isaac and I got a few shots snowboarding down Breck (Although they only have ONE run!) before coming inside to take pictures with the rest of the family plus our friend/snowboarding teammate Aurora, who had spent the night with us. We had pictures taken of us while we were eating, playing in the pool (a few of the shots involved us out of the pool, which was FREEZING), and walking around the town of Breck. It was really fun, and I’m so glad we got to do it.

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Yesterday, I went to Keystone with my friend Matthew to take a few laps after school (I get out at 12:15 on Mondays), and we had a blast racing each other at high speeds (nothing exceeding 40 MPH… At least I don’t think so. Still, nothing compared to the 70 MPH I clocked last season at Crested Butte), sliding a few rails in the early-season park, and doing some flat-ground tricks going down the mountain.

Team Summit officially starts on Saturday, and I’m extremely eager to get back on the mountain with our coaches. Isaac’s been progressing his skills like a madman, with new tricks being learned and mastered almost every hour (it seems like). It’ll be interesting to see how he can do in competitions this year!

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I don’t have pictures of our photo shoots yet, but they’ll hopefully be posted on Keystone’s Instagram pretty soon!

Here we go!

4 days until the start of the season. November 10th kicks it all off, starting at 9 AM on Keystone Mountain. We’re doing a photo shoot for Keystone, and as a result, we get the first gondola of the season! Also on November 10th, we have Breckenridge and Copper Mountains opening for the season, which is crazy to think about! It seems like just yesterday that I was finishing my last race of the season at Nationals…

Anyways, after the 18th, which is the kickoff for Team Summit, my weekends will be completely consumed with snowboarding, which is going to be awesome (although not for my homework :P). I thought I’d write down my goals for the season, since it’s so close to starting.

My goals for the season (competition and tricks):

  • Frontside 720
  • Backside 540
  • Make it out of one heat at Rev Tour.
  • Podium at Ski Cooper BX
  • Top 10 at Nationals

The list is significantly shorter than last year… And that’s probably due to my focusing on boardercross more intensely this year. Also, one more thing that I’m super stoked about, I’m (unless something happens that prevents me from doing so) going to be competing in the Revolution Tour for BX! It’ll be awesome to see what the next level of competition is like, just to get a taste of it, and who knows, maybe I’ll make it out of a heat or two!

Competition-wise, my schedule is going to be all boardercross, unless I decide to do an early-season Slopestyle or Slalom. Tentatively, my schedule goes like this:

  • January 25th – Rev Tour BX at Ski Cooper
  • January 27th/28th – USASA BX Ski Cooper
  • February 2nd/3rd – USASA BX Ski Cooper
  • March 2nd/3rd/4th – USASA BX Crested Butte
  • (Possibly) March 9th – Rev Tour BX at Sugarloaf, ME
  • April 1st-5th – USASA Nationals

There are two Slopestyle competitions at Keystone and Breckenridge on February 10th and 24th that I might do, but we’ll see how focused on boardercross I am then.

 

 

End of Cross Country Season!

Whew. That was interesting. I’m acting like I’m reacting to the entire cross country season all at once, if you couldn’t tell. Cross Country was definitely an interesting season, with its ups and downs. Unfortunately, I ended the season on a down, getting sick, running terribly, and not going to regionals (which is tomorrow, but I’ll still be there to cheer on the team!). But overall, it was a good time. I think, if I can keep up my fitness from the season, I’ll be well prepared for the snowboard and track seasons. During the season, I ran farther than I ever think I have in my life, and that took some getting used to. Prior to the season, I’d go on 20-30 minute runs, and that was the longest I ever ran. During the season, we’d go on 60 minute 7-7.5 mile runs every week, and while that seemed extremely long at first, it eventually became easier.

The last two meets didn’t go that well for me, and that was because I got sick a few days before the second-to-last meet, which also happened to be my birthday. The last race, which was last Thursday, went a bit better, but I could definitely still feel the sickness when I ran.

I finished out the season with a best time of 20:02, with my times going like this:

  • 22:01 (8/26)
  • 22:38
  • 21:15
  • 21:18
  • 20:02
  • 20:15
  • 21:45
  • 20:37 (10/12)

Last meet, I was working to break 20, and was on great pace for the first two miles, coming in at 5:59 and around 12:50 (I didn’t see the second mile marker, cause I’m pretty sure I was caught up in a pack), but fell short the third mile as my legs locked up and I started coughing a lot. I’m not even sure what happened, it just seemed like I was feeling amazing for the first two miles, then when running up a hill, started to tire extremely.

 

I had a few amazing and/or fun races, such as Leadville, which had a ton of steep hills, resulting in me finishing in 22:38, although 13th overall for the JV race, which was awesome. It was an extremely fun race to run, and I didn’t feel tired at all when I finished. Another fun course, as well as my favorite by far, was Fruita, where I ran 20:02. The course started on a big downhill, then went around a lake, up a hill to a huge field with some small hills in it, then back down around the lake again. I felt amazing during the whole race, and my only regret is that I didn’t push myself a bit harder during the final mile, as I wasn’t even tired when I finished. Next season, if I do Cross Country again, I’ll (hopefully) be more prepared. I know all the courses now, which will definitely help me run faster.

 

Snowboarding season is coming up fast, with Arapahoe Basin opening last Friday. Keystone opening day is November 10th, and we’ll be there on the first chair up the newly renovated Montezuma Lift. Less than a month left!

Weekday Excursions and Cross Country

Even with the constant drag of school, I still have it really good. Like, much better than most kids my age (At least I’m pretty sure. I can’t account for every sophomore in the country). Almost every day, I get out of school early due to my Academic Athlete schedule for snowboarding in the winter. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays I get out at 12:10, allowing for a bunch of free time where I usually go into Breckenridge and do stuff, such as run somewhere, work at YoYoLoco, do some homework, and write these blog posts! The only drawback is that while cross country is still in season, I have to be back at the school at 3:00 (except on Mondays, then I don’t have to go back to the school, giving me around 2.25 hours (subtracting the time on the bus) to do whatever!

A few times (the most fun ones), I packed my ENO hammock and go and chill out and eat lunch in my hammock. I usually hike/run up a ton of stairs to the top of Carter Park, a local park, then set up my hammock in the woods overlooking the whole town of Breck. To sum it up in one of the most overused words ever, it is awesome.

Looking back, I’ve went to quite a few different places. Most days I just go to Starbucks or another local coffee shop, but some days I plan out to go to other, more interesting places. Last week, I went to Silverthorne to go skate at the skatepark (only for 15 minutes though :P), and the week before I went to Frisco, to work at my favorite place there, the Next Page bookstore/coffee shop. In that same week, I went and played tennis at Carter Park with Dad for an hour, and that was great. I’ve gone to a few different restaurants to get food, and overall it makes for some good variety during the school week. Last year was a bit different (I didn’t have a 6th period, so I got out of school at 10:40 on Tuesdays and Fridays), and I got to do a ton of things (like go snowboarding on a weekday, then rush back for track practice!), but this year is still extremely fun after 12:10 on Mondays/Tuesdays/Fridays and after 1:05 on Thursdays.

On another positive note (let’s call this one G# 😛 ), my birthday is in less than two weeks! It’s so weird to think that I’ll be 16 years old (I have no idea why it wasn’t weird to be turning 15, but 16 is somehow more different than just a single digit more), and to commemorate this slightly significant event in my life, I’ll probably write a blog post looking back at the past few hundred blog posts I’ve written. Although a lot of the early ones are just posts I “wrote” with the help of Mom when I was really little, and the period from 2013 to 2015 when I was writing a ton didn’t include a ton of quality posts, there are still a lot that I consider to be influential in developing my writing skills, and (along with the weird ones that I wrote when I was around 9) I’d love to reread those.

Finally, I just wanted to write a quick update on my cross country season. I’ve been doing pretty well (according to my own standards), and recently clocked a time of 20:02, which smashed my previous PR by a minute and 15 seconds. I’m so close to sub-20, and that’s now my goal for the end of the season.

My progression for the season goes like this so far:

  • 22:01 (8/26)
  • 22:38
  • 21:15
  • 21:18
  • 20:02
  • 20:15 (9/26)

I have two races left (assuming I don’t beat any of the top 9 on my team to go to regionals), and my goal is to break 20 minutes in one of them (although I’ll see how close I can get at the next one!).