Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Galpin finds gold in Zermatt

Swiss victory is perfectly timed


Nate Galpin

Traveling the western hemisphere this winter, Nate Galpin started in 11 boardercross races from Chile to the Canadian Rockies. After a season of disappointing results, this former Sun Valley Snowboard Team alpine racer won his first FIS boardercross race in Zermatt, Switzerland on Wednesday, April 13. Taan Robrahn, also a Wood River Valley native, came in second, giving Sun Valley the top two podium spots at this international event.

Galpin stayed technically ahead of the pack with tuning advice from Curtis Bacca of Ketchum's Wax Room and says he owes he physical preparedness to friend, trainer, and local sports guru John Koth. The course at Zermatt is perched in a glacial field at 12,000 feet above see level and Galpin's training gave him an undeniable edge through an exhausting week.

After a grueling trip requiring close to 30 hours of straight travel, he was given little time to prepare. The course lies high above the town of Zermatt and reaching it was far from simple.

"It takes an hour and a half just to get up to it on trams and chairs and t-bars," he recalled. Still, after ten runs in a highly demanding and physical course, Galpin stayed strong, flying through the course's 15 feet vertical ice walls and staying ahead of the pack; "they were the deepest berms I have ever seen," he said of the Swiss course's gnarly features.

As the day progressed, through qualifying runs and elimination heats, Galpin never wavered.

"I felt kind of untouchable, like no one was going to beat me," he said of the head game he brought into the Swiss Alps.

Galpin describes traveling partner Robrahn's second place finish as "a full-on Cinderella story." After barely qualifying, Robrahn fought his way from the back of the pack in ensuing heats before eventually eking out his finish just behind Galpin for the silver.

Robrahn, whose parents are Australian citizens, is currently racing for the Australian National Snowboard team and will train at Perisher Blue in New South Wales this summer.

Perfect timing for Galpin, Watanabe

For Galpin, the victory couldn't have come at a better time. He now finishes the season ranked in eighth place nationally; the US Snowboard team typically invites the top twelve ranked riders to join them the following season. Galpin's chances for becoming a US Team racer have never been better.

Meanwhile, Galpin is moving to Park City, Utah with best friend and training partner Graham Watanabe. Together, they will enter the Accelerator Program at the Olympic Training Center. While Galpin has hopeful eyes set on Turino, Italy for next winter's Olympics, he is "keeping things in perspective" and approaching his career one day at a time.

For each, the opportunity to train with the other is a blessing. "Both of us do well when we travel together," says Galpin. When Watanabe won his first World Cup race in Chile last September, Galpin was traveling and riding by his side and the World Cup winner credits much of his early season success to having Galpin nearby.

The feeling is mutual. "As far as traveling partners ad friends go, they don't come any better than Graham," says Galpin, adding "he's golden."

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2024 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.