CSU Snowboard Team creates friendship on and off the mountain

Mack Beaulieu

The snow season is approaching in Colorado and the Colorado State University Snowboard Team is gearing up to shred.

Recognized as a collegiate sport club for over a decade, The CSU Snowboard Team has been pushing to build up their team and be more inclusive this year.

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“Essentially we’re just a bunch of kids who love to snowboard,” said the club’s vice president, Meghan Walsh. “What we really care about is getting the team together, so that it is like a real team. We’ve had more events this year than we’ve ever had. We have one at least once a week.”

Meghan Walsh grinds a rail at Keystone
Meghan Walsh grinds a rail at Keystone | Courtesy of Sarah Estill

Walsh and team officer Pierce Graves said some of those events include team movie nights, trips to the skate park, impromptu grinding sessions and team parties.

One of the new events this year was slush week, a five-day event to bring in new members and give them a chance to get to know older members off the mountain.

Sophomore Shay Rego first found a community she was comfortable in with the team. In the beginning, she had to push herself to go, but now she is glad she did, she said.

“I tried fitting in with sorority girls, party girls…everything,” Rego said. “I didn’t really fit in and it was nice to come to the snowboarding team and not be treated like a girl, to just be treated like another one of the dudes. I can just like chill out and talk about snowboarding and things I actually care about and relate to.”

“I tried fitting in with sorority girls, party girls…everything,” Rego said. “I didn’t really fit in and it was nice to come to the snowboarding team and not be treated like a girl, to just be treated like another one of the dudes. I can just like chill out and talk about snowboarding and things I actually care about and relate to.”

Rego said coming to the snowboard team was more of a two-way street than other organizations she has tried to be a part of, because she did not have to push for interaction.

“They weren’t shying away from them,” Rego said. “No one was ignoring anyone because they were new and they took a genuine interest in trying to talk to the new members… They put in the effort, which is really nice.”

Fellow sophomore Jay Elliot, who transferred in from the University of Utah, also said he is happy to have found his niche so quickly. One of his main concerns going in however was how high the level of competition was, but now he says that those concerns have subsided.

“We go up with the whole team and everyone’s at a different level, so you can do whatever you want to do,” Elliot said. “Nobody takes anything too seriously. Everyone wants to have a good time, but some people are really out here grinding and learning their tricks. You can kind of commit as much or as little as you want.”

For Walsh, being active on the team is important in building skills and capitalizing on your investment, he said.

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“I think that a huge part of it is letting kids know that they can and that they will improve,” Walsh said. “If they come to practice and use our coaches, it’s like anything else, you get out what you put in.”

The team has three pro coaches. One of them, Mark Hoyt, was the first american to ever land a triple cork 1440.

Whether it is the help of coaches or older members, all the athletes feel like they have improved.

Pierce graves hits big air at Abasin
Pierce Graves hitting air at Abasin | Courtesy of Sarah Estill

“I’ve definitely improved already,” Jay said. “When it snowed a couple of weeks ago, we put a rail on campus over by the bridge. I kind of got worked up a bunch and I was falling a bunch, but I was confident enough to stomp stuff I haven’t before.”

Confidence has been a key part of Rego’s improvement as well, as she has gotten more comfortable with other members.

“I’m a lot more confident doing things as simple as boxes, I can actually land them now,” Rego said. “I used to have an embarrassment if I fell, and now I don’t care anymore. The officers are just stoked that I’m trying.”

Rego and Elliot said the best advice they could give to new members is to get involved in early events so you have a connection with your teammates off the mountain. As much as they have already gotten out of the program this year, there is still time to do that before things get more intense.

The team holds unofficial practices at A. Basin every weekend until official practice starts when Keystone or Breck resorts open, according to Walsh.

The costs are expensive, but Walsh says that the pro-deals they get from their sponsors and the weeklong trips they take for about 100 dollars, make the initial fees worth it, especially if you are going to buy a pass for yourself anyways.

“We’ll take anyone and everyone,” Walsh said. “If you want to, join us.”

For more information, visit their website at www.csusnowboardteam.com

Reporter Mack Beaulieu can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on twitter @Macknz_James