Snowboarding Racing at the Adaptive Snowsports Festival
One of the highlight moments of this season’s para snowboarding was when one of our athletes, frustrated with his prosthetic leg, took it off upon finishing a run and threw it as far as he could. Don’t worry, he had a smile on his face, but you just don’t see that every day. Our snowboarders are out there pushing the limits of speed, ability, and their equipment every day.
Our story began late last autumn when the IPC announced the inclusion of para snowboard as a medalled event in the upcoming Sochi Paralympics in 2014. The event will be single timed runs down a bordercross track, which should provide spills and thrills for all those in attendance. DWA has stepped up to the plate by conscripting Randall Joseph and myself, to coach a national development squad, with the hope of sending one or two elite athletes to compete for Australia. The Squad is comprised of Matt Robinson (speed demon), Damien Thomlinson (could "take care of you" you 50 different ways with a ski pole), Lachlan Fyffe (former elite level jockey), and Jo Astley (former competitor in athletics and three track). We’ve also seen a couple of other welcome riders float in and out of our group. Each athlete arrives at every camp with a winning attitude and leaves with a feeling of achievement.
Our latest camp was held in conjunction with the Adaptive Snowsports Festival. We called in some help from several supporting guides. You know who you are, and we deeply appreciate it. Ben Tudhope was also able to help us out. Ben is a twelve-year old who suffers from hemiplaegia. Ben was pretty much born on snow and was invaluable as a coach and inspirational figure to show just how far we can take this sport. Ben trained with Matt in the ADF bordercross course (thanks ADF) and then with Lochy through off-piste freeriding. It was great to be involved with the SnowsportsFestival because it gave us snowboarders some targets to spray with snow as we flew past on our way down to cutting the next lift line. The week wrapped up with Matt Robinson taking out our first race and showing that he knows what speed and gravity are all about.
With a talent ID camp approaching on the 3rd of September, we are looking for anyone with the ability and the time, to put up their hand and race with us. Any professional skateboarders who lost their foot in a freak accident will do. Hopefully you won’t mind dealing with an injured coach who sits at the bottom of the hill shaking his crutch and shouting profanity at you as you ride past. We look forward to our final two training weeks and hopefully can narrow down our team to send one or two overseas for qualifying points on the world circuit.