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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of Dec 31, 2002 - Jan 7, 2003


Freeriders are serious about competing

SVSEF snowboard team has high hopes

Express Staff Writer

Snowboarders are different from you and me.

For starters, they are cooler, groovier, more soulful and rad. Their boots and clothes are more comfortable and they spend a lot of time just hanging out chilliní when they are on the hill.

But donít let the casual approach fool you.

The one common denominator Sun Valley snowboarders share with their Bald Mountain counterparts is they are fundamentally sound racers who are dead serious when it comes to competition.

In his 10th year with the Sun Valley snowboard team and in his second year as program director, Andy Gilbert remarked on what sets his racers apart from the pack.

"You can spot our kids at the top of a course, just the way they stand on their boards. Their fundamentals are strong because they are good free riders," he said.

Anchoring the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation team this season are 22 riders. Of that number, 11 competed at the X-Nix National Championships last winter.

"We have a group that seems to be real serious and in it for the right reasons," Gilbert said. "The coaches are excited about this crew. A lot of times, races turn into social events, but they are there to compete."

The snowboard travel team includes Gillian Augustus, Sarah Betts, Jeremy Black, Austen Butler, Scarlett Caldwell, Yancy Caldwell, Spencer Cordovano, Fraser Donald, Bobby Flanigan, Shane Haile, Ireland King, David Kunz, Michael Kunz, Ryan McCarthy, Kjell Ooms, Laura Parker, Sidney Parkhill, Jens Peterson, Ed Sawicz, Liz Shanklin, Houston Shaw, and Reid Welsh.

"We had a great season last year. Everyone is getting bigger, stronger and older. Their coordination is a lot better. They are all just growing into it," Gilbert said.

Gilbert is expecting breakout seasons for several racers, including 16-year-old David Kunz, who is currently ranked 41st in the country in half-pipe.

"Heís just a natural talent. He has a legitimate shot at junior worlds," Gilbert said. "And Yancy is right on Davidís heels with a shot at worlds.

"We also have a pretty tough group of girls. Sarah, Laura, Liz and Scarlett are all right around the same age and are working really hard."

Things look bright for the dedicated riders on the snowboard team.

Sun Valley Company has committed to building a half-pipe on Baldy, which will only be a shot in the arm for the popular program.

"Our training is just going to increase. We can be more productive and fine tune the things we are doing now," Gilbert said. "We could not be happier.

"We have a great coaching staff, who are young and enthusiastic. The kids are great. Weíre stoked!"


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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.