snowboarders tune up for winter
Board riff, season
preview for riders
Express Staff Writer
Gilbert is living out the dream snowboarders have when they grow upóhead
coach of a great team, the Sun Valley Snowboard Team.
Caldwell, Sun Valley Snowboard travel team racer, scoots down Baldy on
a sunny Friday before Christmas 2001. Express photo by Willy Cook
31-year-old Sun Valley native has stepped into the Sun Valley head
coaching position vacated by Steve Persons. Persons returned to Whitefish,
Mont. to head up his own program for older racers.
brings with him the experience of a seventh-year coach, along with the
energy and optimism of the head guy.
said, "We are going to sit down and talk to the kids. Find out what
their long-term and short-term goals are. As the season goes on weíll
check in with them.
are a million different ways to make snowboarding successful. You donít
have to be locked into one thing."
the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, the local snowboard team has 70
athletes and is divided into four groups; D team, C team, home team and
members are Gillian Augustus, Jeremy Black, Kelsey Bunce, Austen Butler,
Scarlett Caldwell, Yancy Caldwell, Fraser Donald, Bobby Flanigan, David
Kunz, Ryan McCarthy, Kjell Ooms, Houston Shaw and Christina Walsworth.
teams travel and train together, although individual racers may focus on
team goal is to develop real freestyle-oriented riders. We want good,
well-rounded snowboarders," Gilbert said.
A terrain park?
well-rounded riders will pay off if Sun Valley Company ever decides to
build a terrain park on Bald Mountain.
Parkhill was among the first high school riders celebrating Christmas
vacation with a few turns down Baldy Friday. Express photo by Willy
commented, "In my mind there is not a better mountain set up to build
a terrain park in the country. We want to have these kids set up when it
general manager Wally Huffman remarked, "We have had a lot of
discussions (about building a terrain park.)
are some real liability issues that havenít been worked through in the
industry. Earl (Holding, owner of Sun Valley) has been a little
uncomfortable. If we do build a terrain park it has to be a real marketing
event to bring destination business to the resort."
added, "I know the local ski teams want a terrain park in the worst
way, but it canít be based solely on that. It has to be a viable
long-term part of the resort."
One spot on
Bald Mountain where engineers have determined a terrain park would work is
Upper Warm Springs, Huffman said.
He said the
engineers indicated it would work there for the following reasons; it is
not very steep, it has snowmaking, it is serviced by a lift, it is close
to a restaurant and it does not interfere with skier traffic.
Holdingís Snowbasin Resort in Utah hosting the alpine speed events at
the 2001 Winter Olympics, any new projects for Sun Valley "are on the
back burner until after the winter season," Huffman said.
the Sun Valley team travels to other resorts to train for half-pipe.
said earlier this season Park City (Utah) comped tickets for 30 racers and
coaches at their resort so the Sun Valley team could train.
said, "We focus on stuff we can do. We have been training on
trampoline. We sent kids to Mount Hood. We stay positive."
take off for a great day snowboarding on Baldy last Friday are Sun
Valley Snowboard Team members, from left, Reid Welsh, Fraser Donald,
Sidney Parkhill, Yancy Caldwell, Brendan Nelson, Scarlet Caldwell, Sarah
Betts, head coach Andy Gilbert, assistant coach Jon French and Shane
Harrison. Express photo by Willy Cook
optimism is a hallmark of snowboarders, whom Gilbert regards as the most
genial of the alpine groups.
U.S. Snowboard team is probably the most friendly in the world, but that
is how snowboarding is in general. Itís a free spirit kind of thing. Itís
nice to go to an event. People welcome you and are happy that you are
there.," he said.
Valley travel team should get plenty of opportunities to rub shoulders
with elite racers this year.
Donald, Yancy Caldwell and David Kunz have qualified for the Chevy Truck
Grand Prix Series, which consists of four events around the West.
are trying to secure Olympic spots," Gilbert explained. "So they
will ride and watch some of the best riders in the world."
said the trio would attend the January Grand Prix series at Mt. Bachelor,
they will probably run into former teammates Claire Cetera and Graham
Watanabe. Both are on the U.S. Snowboard Development team.
are living proof that you can do this," Gilbert said.
kids attain their goals, whether itís making 360s in both directions or
making the World Cup, are coaches Hilary Mayberry, A.J. Grabos, Jon
French, Nate Galpin, Billy Olson, Dana Monson, Noah Richter, John Lee and
Grabos is a
two-time X-Games medalist and Burton rider.
Robrahn and Galpin are Sun Valley Snowboard Team alumni. Galpin was a U.S.
junior national champion member of the U.S. team. He was brought on to
help revitalize the race program.
a regional rider for Joyride Snowboards. He has been back in the valley
for nine years, after growing up in the Portland area.
came back to spend a winter and now I am gainfully employed," he
said. "Itís pretty cool."