Article written by guest blogger Susan Strayer (http://www.mountainmomandtots.com/)
March 18, 2014
This past week I experienced my first ever snowboard race thanks to Team Utah and Sundance Resort. Every year this duo hosts the Team Utah/Sundance Banked Slalom in mid March, inviting Team Utah Chapters and individual participants from around the state to compete in a fun and exciting race.
“The mechanics of banked slalom are a lot like boarder cross,” said Olivia Olsen from Team Utah Snowbird. Raphael Chanut from Team Utah Snowbird agreed saying, “Boarder cross is essentially banked slalom with more people and bigger features.”
Jeremy Jolley, Team Utah Park City coach, has organized the event for the past four years. “It’s about getting kids excited about the sport,” he said. “This year’s race went really well, except for the icy morning conditions.”
The ice caused several skiers and boarders to wipe out and miss gates, including Brenna Huckaby, Team Utah Adaptive Team member and above knee amputee. “The ice run threw me off the berm. This course is not really AK (above knee) friendly.” Despite the challenging conditions, Brenna was able to complete her second run and once the sun warmed up the snow the course improved.
When I got my chance at the starting gate, I was surprised at how nervous I felt. I thought of some tips from boarders Olivia Olsen and Anna Miller who told me they handle race nerves with “visualization, yoga breaths, and music.” It obviously helped – I improved my race time by ten per cent on my second run and achieved my goal of not falling.
Boarder Anna Miller said “It’s nice to get the opportunity to race like this. To me if I’m not having fun snowboarding it’s not worth it.” Olivia Olsen from Team Utah Snowbird agreed, “This is just a fun time to ride with friends.” With ninety-nine competitors in the different divisions (Junior Ski, Junior Snowboard, Women, Open) there was plenty of opportunities to mingle with friends and make some new ones.
At the end of the day, the competitors, their coaches and families gathered around an amazing prize table to celebrate. Awesome sponsors including Skullcandy, Rossignol, Anarchy, and Nitro donated prizes for both winners and participants.
Team Utah and Sundance have done it again. This year’s banked slalom race was great event that was fun for all.