3S P O6R T S
FEB. 16, 2018
WEST STUDENTS TAKE ON
WINTER SPORTS As the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang approach, WSS takes a look at some West High students who are no stranger to these activities.
BY WILL CONRAD
SHREDDING THE SLOPES
or snowboarders, unfortunately, the Iowa City area isn’t exactly home to towering, snowy mountains. In a sport that depends on these natural features, those at West who wish to participate must look elsewhere. Snowboarding has experienced constant growth for the past few decades, ever since it was added to the Winter Olympic Games in 1998. Other events such as the X Games have only served to further inspire the next generation of boarders, including Clay Warren ’18. “I saw Shaun White doing crazy tricks and I always thought that was the coolest thing, so I really wanted to follow in his footsteps,” Warren said. Most riders, including Warren, typically have a few preferred spots to do their riding. Warren opts for Chestnut Mountain in Galena, Illinois, as well as Sundown Mountain in Dubuque. Keystone Mountain in Keystone, Colorado is a special site that Warren visits on longer trips, such as winter and spring break. “I think it’s really freeing. It’s liberating when you’re out there, especially when you’re in the trees of the Everglades [Mountains] in Colorado,” Warren said. Primarily, snowboarding is a sport of creativity. Every year professionals attempt crazier stunts. In a sport that revolves around showmanship, critics often portray snowboarding as dangerous. However, Warren insists that training and the way in which one rides are always key. “It depends on your riding style. If you’re an aggressive rider, then you definitely need to watch out. If you play it more safe, you should be fine. If you’re already a longboarder, you’ll be able to pick up on it pretty fast but otherwise it might be kinda hard, because your body parts all have to move at the same time,” Warren said. When injuries do occur though, they are often vicious. With about 42 fatalities each year, accidents are a definite risk to participants. Connor
Harris ’18 had a particularly surreal experience when trying to make a difficult jump. “I knocked myself out. I just went off a jump and I landed on my head. It’s hard to remember. My friend was at the top, and the ski patrol came up and I was just spitting up blood. I didn’t know where I was or anything and I didn’t remember anything,” Harris said. With the number of resorts only growing and the demand for lessons increasing, it is getting easier than ever before to pick up the sport. For those like Warren, starting is the best decision one can make. “Anybody who’s never tried snowboarding should definitely give it a try. It makes you super happy. It makes your thoughts clear. It feels like you’re on top of everything,” Warren said.