Local teens head to national snowboard competition | PostIndependent.com

Local teens head to national snowboard competition

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson Jake Kaup, 16, and Kim Wilson, 16, are competing at the snowboard national championships in Truckee, Calif., March 25 to April 1.

Achievement at the national level has not changed the outlooks of Jake Kaup and Kim Wilson on snowboarding.”The heart of the sport is having a good time,” Kaup said. “Everyone’s pretty relaxed, and we make a lot of friends,” Wilson added.Both are repeat qualifiers to the United States American Snowboarding Association’s national event. This will be Jake’s fourth time at nationals and Kim’s third.

Kaup will compete in boardercross in the Men’s 16- to 17-year-old division. Wilson has qualified for the 14-15 Women’s slalom. The event, which involves more than 1,300 qualifiers, runs from March 25 to April 1 at Northstar-at-Tahoe in Truckee, Calif.Individual riders have to earn high finishes at USASA-sanctioned regional events to qualify for Nationals.Both local ‘boarders are students at Glenwood Springs High School and got an early start in the sport. Wilson, a sophomore at GSHS, began fooling around with snowboarding as a 9-year-old. Kaup, a junior, discovered the sport at 10.”I was a skier, then I saw a snowboarder on the slopes at Sunlight,” he said. “It looked like fun. I tried it, and I never skied again.”Wilson initially needed some prodding from her brother, Matt, to get involved.

“He was a coach at Sunlight, and he just dragged me along to class,” she explained.After being introduced to the sport at the local ski lodge, they later made the jump to more serious training as members of the Aspen Valley Snowboard Club.Kaup’s strength and technique are what impress Wilson most of her teammate. “He’s a strong rider,” she said. Wilson’s speed down the slopes is what stands out in Kaup’s mind. “I think of her as a fast rider,” he said.

Along with having fun, both hope for a high finish next week.”It’s tougher for me, because I’ll be at the lower end of the age group this year,” Kaup explained. “I finished third last year, and I’d like to be in the top 10 this year.”Wilson took eighth competing in the same division in 2005. She is aiming to finish among the top five overall this year.Both mentioned the X Games and the Olympics as future goals, but they’ll still be riding long after their competitive careers come to an end.Kaup summed up both teammates’ deep feelings about the sport: “I always want snowboarding to be a part of my life. I don’t want to let it go.”

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