Breckenridge snowboarding coach becomes author |

Breckenridge snowboarding coach becomes author

Adam Boffey
Mark Fox/Summit DailyJim Smith, local snowboarder and author of the book "The Art of Snowboarding".

SUMMIT COUNTY ” When Jim Smith was a kid, he laid awake in bed at night, thinking about snowboarding and how he could become better at it.

Since finding his first snowboard under the Christmas tree, the Summit County local has become a pro rider, a coach and, most recently, an author.

Smith’s “The Art of Snowboarding” was released Oct. 1.

Team Summit’s snowboard program director said he wrote his first book to help riders of all levels improve their skills, especially in terrain parks and halfpipes.

“The modern features that are being built are major,” Smith said. “A lot of people want to hit them, but they don’t know how.”

Each chapter in Smith’s book addresses a different discipline, beginning with gear explanation and progressing to topics like rails, halfpipes and ultimately cross training. Rail, halfpipe and kicker etiquette is also covered.

“I’ve seen too many injuries that don’t need to go down,” Smith said. “They happen because people don’t know proper terrain park etiquette.

Smith said he wrote the book to reflect his coaching philosophy of progressive snowboarding.

“The beginning of the chapter covers the basics of the discipline,” Smith wrote in the book’s introduction. “The middle is a logical advancement from the basics to more challenging skills; and the final part presents avenues for pushing your limits and developing your own personal style.”

The local author likened the progressive format of his book to the development of his career.

“I rode as a pro, I became a coach, and I wanted to do something else,” he said. “Now I’ve started on the DVD that will accompany the book. We’ve done a couple shoots for it already.”

Smith, who grew up in Golden, said he started thinking seriously about writing a book when he began coaching for Team Summit in 2000.

Prior to the turn of the century, Smith rode professionally and appeared in various snowboard films and movies. Ripping in front of the camera, however, wasn’t his only passion, so he did some magazine writing on the side.

After settling in Summit and deciding to mesh his experiences and abilities into the creation of a book, Smith chose Kurt Olesek as a photographer. The two men first met in 1992, while Smith was working at Windell’s ski and snowboard camp at Mt. Hood in Oregon.

Olesek’s photos, which were taken at Copper Mountain, Breckenridge Resort and Arapahoe Basin, are used extensively throughout the book to demonstrate each of Smith’s instructional points.

Several of the riders the Avon photographer shot for the book were past and current members of Team Summit, including U.S. Snowboarding Team members Claire and Dylan Bidez.

“My kids were definitely a crucial part of the production,” Smith said. “They were stoked – they’re always stoked to get in front of the camera.”

“I thought it was cool that Jim chose to use some up-and-coming kids from Team Summit,” Olesek said. “One, it gives them exposure, and two, it gave them a chance to learn what it’s like to work with a photographer. It is work. You don’t just go out hitting kickers or riding powder all day. If there’s something that needs to be done, it needs to be communicated to the photographer. That’s what it’s like to be a pro rider.”

Smith, who coaches kids and adults alike, maintains that “The Art of Snowboarding” is written for all ages.

“Age is no excuse in snowboarding,” he said.

Smith will hold a book signing at Borders in Dillon, Nov. 25 at 3 p.m.

Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-4634, or at

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