Tag: Snowboarding

Nationals and Forward to Next Season!

The last two weeks were a flurry of competitions, school, homework, fun, disappointment, and a little bit of sleep. I had my first boardercross Rev Tour one week ago on Friday, and it went pretty okay. I went out to Ski Cooper Friday morning, and raced hard. The top 32 out of the 38 competitors were seeded into brackets, and I ran a pretty bad time trial, and ended up barely making the cut, qualifying 30th. I got eliminated in my first heat, which I was extremely downcast about, but it was fine for my first Rev Tour ever.


After Rev Tour, all that remained was USASA Nationals. I had both boardercross and slopestyle practice on Saturday, my slopestyle comp on Sunday, and boardercross on Monday. Saturday went pretty well with practice. I landed a couple tricks on the large line at Copper and got my start down on the boardercross course – I was all set to compete.

Sunday went pretty okay, around what I expected, although I think I could’ve gotten a few places higher. I didn’t land my first run, because I sent the second jump too big and overrotated my frontside 360 to a 540, almost landing but ultimately going down.

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Attempting to land my overrotated spin. So close!

On my second run, I once again stomped the first jump, which I sent a backflip off of (although I did send the second one quite a bit bigger than the first time), and kinda-barely landed my 360 on the next jump, but hit the knuckle of the jump and lost all my speed. I proceeded to hit the last jump, but landed on the deck. I guess I can count my second run as landed, but it still only scored me a 24.5.

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Mid-backflip over jump 1

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Anyways, slopestyle wasn’t my main focus to begin with, so I wasn’t that mad that I didn’t completely get my run. I was ready for boardercross the next day, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. I placed 15th in time trials, meaning I got the second gate choice in my heat. My heat started out great, I was out in second place, in a good spot to qualify, edging out the two people behind me around the first and second turns. Around the third turn, I unfortunately got caught up in the slush and slid out. That kinda ruined my day, so yeah. How unfortunate. Only 340 more days until I get to try again!

Racing at Nationals

Overall, this season went pretty well as a whole. I got a few new tricks, and began spinning the large line at Copper, which I thought wouldn’t happen till next season. Early season, I worked on my rails and actually didn’t do terribly at the New Years Eve Rail Jam at Copper, taking 8th/17. I placed third at my first slopestyle of the year at Copper, then won the next two at Keystone and Breck (although I don’t really count Breck as much because there wasn’t really much competition). Boardercross started out pretty terrible, but ended up ok. I lost my first two races, then took second at Copper on day 3. I had a ton of amazing races against some really talented racers, and that definitely helped in my progression. I even got to race Banked Slalom at Steamboat, which was one of my favorite weekends of the season. I’ll definitely be ready for next season, where I plan on competing in Rev Tour and the Hole Shot NorAm Tour. But for now, it’s track season, and time to run.

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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.

 

 

 

Final Competitions!

Once again, I find myself at the end of the competition season. I competed in a total of 11 competitions this season, trying out slopestyle as a secondary event this year, and even one rail jam, because why not? I finished my last comps of the season at Crested Butte, with three boardercrosses. I ended up finishing top 3 all three days, and obtaining my first three USASA medals, which I was extremely excited about. I finished third on Friday and Saturday, and then improved to take the silver medal on Sunday. I raced against some really good competitors, and it was overall a great time. In this post, I’m going to go through each competition of mine from this season and write a bit about them all.
Copper Slopestyle – January 8th 

Best Run – 50/50, Backside 360, Front Shifty Roast Beef, Straight Air, 50/50

My original plan for the competition season was to wait until boardercross comps finished, then participate in one or two slopestyle events. That changed when, after I saw the fun that everyone had in the New Years Eve Rail Jam, I decided to scrap that plan and enter the first slope event of the season on January 8th. I kept my run pretty basic, throwing a backside 360 as my best trick. I ended up placing 11th out of 16, scoring a 39.3. It was a fun experience, trying something new and getting to perform a few of my tricks under pressure. Ultimately, it made me decide to do the rest of the Rocky Mountain Series slopestyle comps, and I don’t regret that in the slightest.

Copper Slopestyle – January 22nd

Best Run: 50/50, Frontside 360 Mute, Backside 360, Front Shifty Nose, 50/50 Front 180 out

Naturally, after the fun I had during the first slopestyle comp, I couldn’t just not do another. I decided to do the next slopestyle comp, and with all the practice I had put in, my trick list had grown, and I think that was evident in my performance. On my first run, I landed hard on my back, but I pulled myself together to put down a solid second run. I finished 9th out of 17, with an improved score of 44.3.

Ski Cooper BoarderX Weekend 1 – January 28/29th

 

After the second slope event, I began to prepare Ski Cooper Boardercross. I had just ordered a new Donek Saber (race board), but it didn’t arrive in time for the first comps. The first two competitions didn’t go very well – I took 9th out of 16 on both days, getting eliminated in the quarterfinals by taking third. Not much else happened besides that, and it wasn’t until the second weekend where things got more interesting for me.

Ski Cooper BoarderX Weekend 2 – February 4/5th

On the second weekend of racing, I was prepared. I had my Donek, I had a good wax, and I had run the course through many times previously. On the first day, I didn’t make it out of my first heat (the semifinals), and raced in the consolation final (video above), taking second in that race. Overall, I placed 6th/9. The next day, which was also the last day of racing at Ski Cooper, I successfully made it out of my heat to go to the finals, where I was in third for most of the race but fell on the last turn and took 4th out of 9 overall.

Howelsen Hill Rail Jam – February 18th

I laugh to myself when I think of participating in this one. Honestly, looking back, I wish I hadn’t competed, because I was totally unprepared for a Rail Jam. In the past weeks leading up to this comp, I probably spent 30 minutes on rails, total. I fell multiple times, and didn’t really have a noteworthy run. I’d say it was a good experience, but I don’t plan on doing any ever again, unless it’s next year’s New Years Eve Jam. For anyone who wants to know, I finished a solid 10th/10.

Keystone Slopestyle – February 25th

Best Run: 50/50, Straight Air, Frontside 360 Mute, Backside 360, Front 180

Now, this one was a fun comp. I decided to do the last Rocky Mountain Series slopestyle, and I’m so glad I did. I’d had practice on Keystone’s jumps, and I put down a solid first run, and was in fifth after the first run. I decided to go for it on my second run, attempting to go front lipslide, frontside 540, half cab, backside 360, with a frontside 540 on the quarterpipe. I’d never spun on the first jump before, but I decided since it was my last slopestyle, why not just go for it? I ended up overrotating the 540 to almost 720, and slipping out. Overall, it was an awesome comp to participate in, but not landing my second run put me in 10th overall. If I had to do it over again, however, I’d still attempt that same second run, because if doing what I usually do isn’t going to get me near the top 5, why not risk something that could?

Crested Butte BoarderX – March 3/4/5th

 

Now, these final competitions really made me feel like all my boardercross work throughout the season payed off. I raced hard, and obtained medals on all three days. On the first day, I had 6 people in my age group, and I qualified out of my first heat to the finals, where I took third. The next day, I again took third (out of 7), with the day going pretty much the exact same as the previous. The final day, after my parents had left and I was staying with my friend Matthew (who was also competing with me), I made finals once again, but this time finishing second, taking the silver medal. The course was pretty intense, but it was nice to have a harder course to race on, as opposed to Ski Cooper where it was basically the first to the end of the start won the race.

Thanks for reading/watching this post! I hope you enjoyed my reflections on my competitions, and as always, you can check out all my competition videos as well as some other of my snowboarding videos on my alternate YouTube Channel, GabeShreds.

Nationals begins in less than a week, and I’m super stoked for it! 

Overlap

I seem to find myself in this position every year… Finishing up one sport while just starting another. It’s a hectic time, but it’s pretty fun to be doing two sports at once! One day I’m training for USASA Boardercross Nationals, and the next I’m running and jumping, preparing for the next track meet (which is tomorrow, in this case).

Around this time last year, I was in the same position – getting ready to race on both snowboards and the track. But this year is slightly different – Different, because I’m now in high school and running track for Summit High School, and preparing for boardercross planning to advance out of a few heats.

The biggest part of managing two major sports at a time is definitely time management, and that’s one area where I’m improving in, but I still need to work on. I occasionally work on homework until well past 10 PM, having only previously completed only a bit of the work. I’m attempting to limit distractions and complete some of my homework earlier than a day or two before the due date to account for sleep. However, after a long, quotidian day of school, it’s hard to come home and continue working. It’s much easier to just go to Woodward with friends, watch a movie with family or simply sleep. But that’s where I’m working to force myself just to do the work, and then backflip/watch a movie/sleep afterwards.

Tomorrow I will race in the first track meet of the high school season, and I’m both nervous and excited. It will be the first meet where I won’t be competing in my main event (high jump), not to mention the first meet where I will race people older than me with far superior skills. But, you never know, I still could somehow finish in the top 8, earning me a podium and earning the team a couple of points. I’ll be competing in the 4×100, 4×200, 200m and Long Jump, which are all events I’ve run before in meets (minus long jump, but I’ve done that plenty of times). If I had to guess, I’d say I have the best shot in either the 4×100 or the Long Jump, where I think I at least have a shot at making the top 8.

And then, of course, I return to snowboard training the day after. Coming from sprinting and jumping all day, I just hope I’ll have enough energy to get down the mountain awake. In other news, I threw some backflips the other day at copper, and I was fortunate enough to have my coach film me, and you can view it below.

Nationals is only 16 days away, which is still crazy. It feels like the season has flown by, and it’s almost time to start editing together a season edit! Although it feels to me that the season has gone so quickly, I feel like I’ve accomplished almost everything I wanted to this season (except, however, for landing a 720. Well, after nationals is over, I’m going to attempt a few). I’ve landed 540’s, backflips, slopestyle runs, and four top 5 competition finishes, with three of them getting me onto the podium. What’s left? A good result at the National Championships. And then it’s off to the races, swapping out my snowboard for a pair of spikes.

First races of the season!

Well, it’s Monday, and more specifically, the Monday after the first two boardercross races. It went… not as planned. I never made it out of a heat, and took 9th out of 16 on both days. On both days of racing, my heats were the exact same. The first day, I discovered that since I had the sixth seed (because I went to last year’s Nationals, I was ranked sixth at the start of the day), I got second gate choice in my heat, which was pretty cool. I also discovered that my friend Benny was racing against me in what was his very first competition ever, and he did well (even though he got last). The entire race, I was literally battling for second place against a guy I had met before the race named Lachlan, from New Zealand. He initially took the lead against me, but I passed him around the second corner. By the time we were around the third corner, he had caught up and we were basically holding onto each other while maneuvering the tight turns in an attempt to stay on our feet. On the sixth turn, we both slipped out and fell, but he got up faster and won the race against me, which was extremely disappointing. You can view the video of our start and the first turn below (I’m the one in the blue).

The first day went well for Isaac and Jadyn, with Jadyn taking the bronze medal, and Isaac beating out our friend JR to take second and make it out of the quarterfinals into semis. He lost in the semifinal, but due to an extremely weird complication where a rider raced in the semifinal where he shouldn’t have been (and that resulted in our friend Bodie not qualifying for the finals after he had qualified before), the race was re-run, but nothing changed, and he still got last. In the consolation final, the other two riders had left, so it was a 1-on-1 race between Bodie and Isaac, where Isaac lost (it was a really exciting race to watch, though). Overall, Isaac took 6th place out of 15.

The second day, I got my race board, which I had got in the mail the day before, set up and ready to go, albeit without ANY wax on it, and raced on that. The day went noticeably worse for me, taking the same placing again, but losing the race to Lachlan by a lot farther this time. Isaac didn’t make it out of his first heat and took 11th, but on two high notes, Jadyn and Bodie both took second place and got the silver medal.

Overall, it was a fun time, getting back into the swing of racing and prepared for next week’s races, in which I am sure I’ll be prepared and ready to go. My goal is to make it into the finals of a competition, and I’m going to keep racing until I do.

 

Pressure in Competition

Pressure – it’s always there, in every competition. I’ve felt it many times, right before I get put in during a soccer game, when I’m taking that third attempt in high jump, hearing “Runners, take your marks” before the start of the 100m dash, listening to a starter tell me “Racer ready” before a boardercross race, when I’m in the start gate for a slopestyle competition, or setting up to serve during a tennis tournament.

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Preparing to drop in at a Slopestyle event at the beginning of this year

It’s the same feeling every time – breathing hard, muscles tightening, mind in overdrive. I love it. Well, that’s not completely true. I love situations where I am forced to deal with pressure. It helps me train to deal with it. Sometimes, like earlier this year in track, I fail, not being able to clear the bar after tripping and hurting my leg. Other times I overcome, like yesterday during my slopestyle competition, when I fell hard before and during my first run, hurting myself all over, but still managed to pull it together and put down a good second run.

It’s not just me who’s had to deal with pressure, though. Last year, I watched my brother play in a tennis tournament against an obviously better player, but as I saw that day, skill isn’t everything. Isaac’s opponent had him 3-0 in a 4 game set, and was closing in on victory. Although his skill seemed superior, Isaac still kept fighting, mentally staying in the game, and began to work his way back, winning three straight games, making the score 3-3. It was amazing to watch Isaac, who pushed himself to his limit, muscles completely locking up to the point where he’d periodically fall over, take over the match. His opponent was obviously mentally breaking down, crying and screaming on the court when he lost 3 straight games. His mom complained to the head pro running the tournament that Isaac was making bad calls, and the pro (who was actually Isaac’s opponent’s coach), came onto the court, stopping play, and acted as a line judge. To no surprise, Isaac never made a single call that was contradicted. Isaac persevered until the end that day, but after stopping the play, he was completely spent, and unfortunately lost the match. I think we were all a bit surprised at Isaac’s mental game that day, and he definitely gained my respect.

Jadyn seems to automatically step up to the call of competition. Before every recent snowboard competition, she seems to just get in the zone, blocking out all thoughts of failure. As I watch her at every snowboard competition, I see her look at the course (the halfpipe, the slopestyle course, or the boardercross track), take a deep breath, exhale, and then perform. She’s honestly probably the most calm and consistent out of the three of us. She never complains at a failed run, or a bad fall, and if she ever does say something, she always just tells us later.

Every competition, every jump, every race, every serve. Pressure will always be there, and I know I’ll continue to get better at dealing with it. There’s many different ways that people deal with pressure, and I know that Isaac, Jadyn and I all prepare for it in different ways. Isaac listens to his playlist to get him hyped up. Jadyn hangs out with her friends, talking to them, seemingly keeping her mind off the competition. And me? I like to be alone, watch and analyze other competitors, and mentally tell myself exactly what is going to happen in the competition, visualize it, and then visualize backup plans.

I write this as I prepare for the first boardercross competitions, because firstly, writing my thoughts out on my blog somehow puts them in a place I can see and reflect on them, and secondly, I love writing. My coaches and family expect me to do well in boardercross, probably because of the fact that I love to go fast (even when I’m in the park… :P) and race. Looking forward, I hope to take home a medal sometime or another during these first four races at Ski Cooper, and if not, I’ll have more chances to take one home in the three after in Crested Butte. I know I’ll have many chances to deal with pressure in the future, and my hope for my future self is that I’ll be able to step up to the challenge.

 

Shredding the Gnar!

Shredding the Gnar!

“What is the gnar?”, you may ask, skeptically. Well, I’m glad you asked, personified figment of my imagination whose only purpose is to serve as an intro to this blog post. After writing that “Reflections on 2016” blog post, I was pretty much done with writing for a while, but now, I figured I have something to write about, so why not write about it?

Anyways, back to the question. What is ‘the gnar’? Gnar, in literal terms, can be used both as an adjective and a noun (ex. “That was gnar!”, or “We totally shredded the gnar!”), and means, in very vague terms (the noun version), the surface on which you shred, usually on a snowboard, skis, or a skateboard (in this case, I use it to describe what I’ve been doing recently). The adjective form of gnar, exemplified by the example above, can be roughly translated to mean awesome, cool, or totally radical, but I don’t use that form much.

But how have I been shredding the gnar? In many ways, believe me. Last week, I competed in what was my first slopestyle competition, which was an exhilarating experience. I was extremely nervous coming up to the practice start, preparing to start attempting to land tricks that I would put in my actual runs, and watching all the other competitors in my age group throw their tricks. I tried to block out everyone else and just focus on myself, which was a bit hard due to there being tons and tons of people around me, each trying to nail their respective runs.

In practice, I landed some backside 360’s, hit my grabs that I planned to throw in the comp, and landed an awesome run (frontside 540 to cab 180 to tweaked out nose grab) that didn’t end up getting put into my run because I hadn’t mastered my front 540’s well enough to attempt in competition. My actual competition run consisted of a 50/50 (which is the most basic trick possible on a rail) to backside 360 on the first jump, followed by a front-shifty Roast Beef grab on the second jump to a nose grab on the third jump, finished with a mediocre backside boardslide on the last rail. The first run went pretty bad, because I took too many speed checks and hit the knuckle of the first jump, slowing me down drastically for the rest of the jumps, but the second run (in my opinion) improved greatly, bringing up my score 5 points from a 34.3 to a 39.3, which put me in 11th place. I wasn’t extremely happy with the result, especially since I was in 6th after the first run, but then got bumped down because all the amazing riders that fell on their first run, putting me ahead of them, landed their second runs. Here’s a video of my first run:

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the season. We built a jump into some soft snow (although it was hard to land anything off of it), and threw backflips off of it! To top it all off, the run down from the spot we were flipping at was the perfect place to race, and I raced several of my teammates many times. I was the only one to have actually landed a backflip (albeit after I had crashed several times), and I now feel ready to take it back to the park and try it off some bigger jumps. I was fortunate enough to have my coach Kirsten there to take a video of me, so thanks a ton for that! Here it is, and as always, you can view more videos on my snowboarding YouTube Channel, on which I don’t usually post much, it’s more of a storage spot for my videos that I want to share out.

So that was just a quick recap of the most important and fun days from the past week, and I should probably be getting back to doing homework. I have another slopestyle coming up, and Ski Cooper boardercross is less than two weeks away! These next three weeks are sure to be jam-packed with tons of action, so I’ll be ready to record some video and write some more!