Taking a ride at the new Ski (and Snowboard) Club Vail
Since 1964, Ski Club Vail has been churning out Olympic ski athletes like clockwork: Sarah Schleper, Lindsey Kildow, Chad Fleischer and Mike Brown, just to name a few. Gate training and traditional ski events have been their specialty, but freestyle skiing and snowboard events have suffered over the years. While clubs like Steamboat’s Winter Sports Club have built strong programs in freestyle and snowboarding, Vail has lagged behind.But new director Aldo Radamus (who coached at Steamboat before heading to the U.S. Ski Team and now Ski Club Vail), and snowboard director Ben Boyd are hoping to change all that.”We want to be one of the great snowboard clubs in the state and, eventually, one of the best in the nation,” says Boyd, an Australian with surfing roots and 10 years experience in snowboard training. “The alpine results (of this club) speak for themselves. If we can be as professional and organized as the coaches are in alpine, which I know we can, I think we’ll have a great program.”Boyd seems to have all the materials in place to create a good program. He and his crew of coaches (including Nathan Park and Jason Rutherford), come out of the successful ranks of the Vail and Beaver Creek DEVO teams, which have sent several riders on to national level competition. Stationed at the bottom of the Vail race hill, and near to one of the best play parks in the nation, Boyd is prepared to train riders in every discipline of snowboarding, from racing gates to hitting the half-pipe.Several attempts to bring snowboarding into Ski Club Vail have failed in the past. The difference this time, says Boyd, is Radamus. And as a show of commitment, the official name of Ski Club Vail has been changed to Ski and Snowboard Club Vail.”We’re really excited about Boyd and the snowboard coaches,” Radamus says. “We want to bring those programs to the same level as the tradition that’s been established in the alpine program.”Boyd will organize the new snowboard team into four squads: freeride, competitive, Front Range (weekends) and elite. The idea is to take intermediate, aspiring snowboarders and help them grow, not only as athletes, but as people.”Our philosophy is that this is for the kids,” Boyd says. “We want them to perform, not just as athletes, but to set goals for themselves in academics and personally. We don’t want to see their school suffer, and we want them to have the opportunity to compete on a high level.”Boyd has already filled about half of the 40 spots available in the program, and says interest among parents and students is growing as word spreads. And when the new crop of riders steps into the hallways of the Club, they can be assured of an unbiased welcome from skiers and ski coaches.”We’re all a part of the same team,” says Boyd. “There’s no us and them.”Riders will compete in the Snowboard Outreach Society and Copper Mountain ride series competitions, as well as other events throughout Colorado. Boyd is working closely with DEVO to ensure that the two programs compliment each other. Beginning snowoarders should try their hand at DEVO, and then step into the Ski and Snowboard Club Vail when smooth turns and a bit of air become natural. And Boyd intends to be flexible and open-minded about enrollment to his program. Scholarships are available. For information on the program or enrollment costs, call Boyd at (970) 476-5119 ext. 105 or call (970) 390-3534.
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