Pictures From Okemo

A strange day at Okemo last Sunday.

The four runs we expected open, turned out to be more like one run. Nonetheless, we went snowboarding, finally. The few BUST members on the trip bonded on the lifts and picked up season passes– Win!

Here’s some snapshots from Sunday’s shredding.

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First Trip to Okemo this Sunday

“I can’t wait for Sunday,” said Corbin Kuntze, a junior on the Boston University Snowboard team. “We’re finally going snowboarding!”

Sunday’s trip is to Okemo Mountain in Vermont. Check out Okemo’s official snow report and snowmaking blog!

Taken from the top of Okemo Mountain in 2010.

BUST members will wake-up bright and early, (around 5 a.m.), jump on a bus, and head to Okemo for a day of snowboarding.

Here’s some alumni tips from former BUST President Alexa Fernandez to help ensure a shred-tastic day at Okemo.

      Tip #1: Set multiple alarms. The bus leaves each spot at 5:15, 5:30, and 5:45 a.m., respectively.

      Tip #2: Pack gear the night before. It may be hard to remember to bring gloves, hats, socks, hand warmers,     sweatshirts, scarves, boots, boards, tools, and snacks at 5 a.m.

      Tip #3: Sleep on the bus. The ride provides an extra three hours of snooze time.

      Tip #4: There’s a Waffle hut, so bring cash if you find it hard to resist that warm, sugary aroma.

      Tip #5: Have fun snowboarding with BUST friends!

Fernandez also said her favorite song to listen to while snowboarding is ‘Punching in a Dream” by naked and Famous.

What are you listening to? Here’s what BUST members Scott Wilkinson, Louisa Mardirossian, Mike MacFarlane and Jonah Stella get stoked.

Chill Teaches Boston Kids How to Snowboard

Boston University snowboard team member Alex Ketner teaches kids from Boston how to snowboard. Here he's seen at a recruiting event in September, 2011. (Photo courtesy of Rascha Jelks)

For six weeks every year, members from the Boston University snowboard team take a van to Wachusett Mountain to teach inner-city kids how to snowboard.

“I worked with this one kid who was really good at speeding down the hill, but he couldn’t really stop or turn at all,” said Alex Ketner, BUST member. “I helped him with s curves and learning how to carve.”

Ketner said he was able to ride with the skinny, 11-year-old from Boston because of Chill. Chill is a non-profit youth development program that uses snowboarding to help teach life skills, said Dean Calcagni, the national coordinator for the Boston area.

Chill partners with social service agencies from urban communities, like Boston, to bus kids up to Wachusett for six weeks in January and February. Calagni said about 15 groups from Boston participate.

“We want to give kids the opportunity to try something they really wouldn’t otherwise be able to try,” Calcagni said.

The kids are provided gear – snowboards, boots, jackets, everything other than socks, Calcagni said.

On the mountain, (or the bunny hill,) each child is partnered with a volunteer for one-on-one instruction. Calcagni said the on-snow relationship is what’s important.

“We became boys; we became cool,” Ketner said. “Just snowboarding with someone, you get closer.”

Calcagni said the goal is that all the kids can learn to link turns, stop and ride chair lifts. Each week has a theme that connects to being on the hill. For example, last year, the first week’s theme was patience, he said.

“It’s more powerful than just a learn-to-ride program,” Calcagni said.

After two hours on the bunny hill, Ketner brought his instructee on the chair lifts to ride with him on the mountain, he said.

“He followed me off a small jump and face planted,” Ketner said. “But, if you’re going to try, might as well go big.”

“He got better, he just wasn’t pro status,” Ketner said.

Chill will run from January 10 through February 15 at Wachusett Mountain this winter. For more information visit the Chill Foundation’s website.

Helmet Pride!

BU Senior Louisa Mardirossian and I rockin' our lids at Loon Mountain last winter.

Over half of skiers and snowboards say they wear wear helmets on the slopes, according to a National Ski Area Association demographic study.

That means, if you don’t wear a helmet, your friend probably does.

Plus helmets can be a fashion statement with so many different colors and models to choose from. Including, those coveted audio inserts that make listening to an ipod effortless.

On Saturday, I sat down with Head Coach Howard Chauvin, of the Boston University Snowboard team, to talk about snowboard safety. He told me the story of a friend who, he says, should have been wearing a helmet.

Chauvin’s friend suffered from sever head injuries.  Chauvin and some friends from home pulled together and held a snowboard competition at their local mountain to raise money that would help pay the medical bills. Now, the competition continues in an effort to raise helmet awareness.

As Chauvin says, his friend hopes to be snowboarding again sometime this season.

The tragic, yet inspiring story of Danny Toumarkine is a reality check for everyone who doesn’t wear a helmet. “Moving Forward” documents the time before and after Danny’s snowboard accident that changed his life.

30th Annual Boston Ski and Snowboard Expo

Ski and snowboard bums from all around New England came out to the annual Boston Ski and Snowboard Expo this weekend.

East Coast Alpine and Eastern Boarder rolled out a huge sale with all the gear — boots, boards, bindings, skis, polls, helmets, mittens, socks. Mountains offered vacation packages, lift-tickets, and season pass information. Many other ski and snowboard-friendly companies came out to share their products as well.

Zach Guerra, Josh Vallier

Check out some more photos of the event!