Vail Daily column: Snowboard team taking it to the next level | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Snowboard team taking it to the next level

Aldo Radamus
Perspectives

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail's snowboard program is in for an exciting end of season. With the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships in town this week, watch for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail full-time athlete and Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy eighth-grader Jack Coyne, who qualified to compete in the return of the Burton U.S. Open Junior Jam halfpipe competition. This action starts today, featuring the next generation of riders ages 14 and younger competing in the 22-foot superpipe. This is the breeding ground where many world-renowned pros first made a name for themselves. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumni Zoe Kalapos, Jake Pates and Ryan Wachendorfer are back on home turf and in the big show competing in the pro division later in the week.

The younger groms are heading into the final qualifiers for the 2016 United State of America Snowboard and Freeski Association Snowboard National Championships, to be held in early April where a large and competitive team from Vail is set to represent!

Outstanding qualities

It is with grit, determination and hard work that athletes aspire to achieve their goals in every Ski & Snowboard Club Vail snowsport. Two snowboarders who are well-deserving of recognition for displaying these traits are Tyler Robison and Gabriel Irlandini.

Tyler is a full-time athlete and an 11th grader at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy. No matter what activity the team is participating in, Tyler is always giving it 100 percent effort. He comes to training happy and ready to put in his very best. Great with his peers and always trying to be a good teammate, Tyler is focused not only on his own goals but on helping others achieve theirs. His coaches observe him being supportive of his teammate's efforts and always being there to help whether setting gates or helping tend to an injury. He is well respected by peers and coaches alike for his genuine and caring nature.

Initially entering Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy as a skier, Tyler made the unusual transition to snowboarding and is honing his skills in giant slalom, slalom and boardercross. Tyler is excelling quickly in his new discipline, proving himself to be a very accomplished rider in his age group and already competing against some of the best athletes his age in the world.

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Gabriel Irlandini is a full-time Ski & Snowboard Club Vail snowboarder in 10th grade. He entered this season fairly new to snowboarding, having moved to the Vail Valley on his own from Brazil to live with a host family and pursue his passion for snowboarding. It was apparent to his coaches very early on what a hard worker he was and that he possessed the talents to excel quickly in his sport. Gabe was a bit behind with his skill level at the start of the season. The first month he was dialing in basic board control to enable him to attempt the tricks he was hoping to learn. Three months into on-snow training Gabe is setting an example for the rest of his teammates as to just where grit, determination and hard work can get you. With relentless focus on rodeos, bigger jumps, bigger spins and doubles in the tramp room his progression is inspirational to those around him.

Not only is Gabe progressing quickly in his sport, but he is also regarded as incredibly respectful to his teammates and coaches. Never have his coaches heard a mean word come out of his mouth. He is consistently there to help out a teammate in need and demonstrates the club's core values of character, courage and commitment daily.

Both Tyler and Gabe exemplify the life-long lessons of commitment, perseverance and daring to follow dreams that are the most important outcomes of the pursuit of personal bests available to every athlete at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.

For the kids

From Mini-Shred to USASA, Rev Tour, USSA and Burton Junior Jam competitors, the progress we have seen out of this young team under the leadership of Snowboard Program Director Chris Laske, veteran head coach Brady McNeill, former World Cup and U.S. Grand Prix competitor Brooke Shaw, head Mini-Shred coach Pat Markiewicz and their dedicated team of coaches is extraordinary. The commitment they have to athletes of all ages, always working hard "for the kids," is reflected in the growth and progress of their athletes. We are excited to see what is in store for the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Snowboard Team for the rest of this season and the seasons to come.

Have your children join us at one of the complimentary Try the Club Days:

• Alpine: March 13

• Freeski (park and pipe and big mountain): March 20.

• Freestyle (moguls): March 20.

• Snowboard: March 20.

For information and registration details on Try the Club Days, email sschmidt@skiclubvail.org or call 978-621-8738.

Aldo Radamus is the executive director of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. For more information, go to http://www.skiclubvail.org, email sschmidt@skiclubvail.org or call 970-790-5161.