Seniors with snowboarding hobby take advantage of snow


Senior Nick Lundquist demonstrates his snowboarding skills at Hyland.

Stephen Jacobs and Adam Bilski

With the winter season in full swing, snow accumulations reaching their maximums, and winter sport and activity commitments drawing to a steady close, four seniors take advantage of snowboarding before the snow on the slopes melts.

Competitive snowboarding requires a lot of individual passion and dedication to try the most daring of tricks. For senior Nick Lundquist, snowboarding is not only a hobby, but a developing passion. He always pushes himself to channel the energy into his tricks.

“I have been lately working on big spins such as the 900 which is two and a half spins,” Lundquist said.

Following in the footsteps of his idols, Lundquist has been passionate about the sport since kindergarten. “I look up to guys like Torstein Horgmo and Halldor Helgason because they make me get out there and try new things on my snowboard,” Lundquist said.

Senior Bobby Karlen picked up snowboarding three years ago as an offseason activity for his wake surfing. Snowboarding helps him improve his balance and stability which he needs when he surfs ropeless on the wake behind a boat.

“I do tournaments in wake surfing but not in snowboarding yet,” Karlen said.

Karlen travels to professional wake surfing competitions in the summer. He enjoys working on his front and backside 360’s on the snowboard, which keep him preoccupied while the lakes are frozen over. “I’ve gone to Beaver Creek once this year, and I’m going back this year,” Karlen said.

Karlen, a self taught athlete, spends countless hours performing tricks. Through watching online videos, Karlen tries to pick up tips from his favorite surfers.

“I watch [wake surfers Keegan Freegal and Collin Ryan’s] YouTube videos and to try to find inspiration on tricks I could try,” Karlen said.

Senior Jake Szarzynski also hits the slopes a few times a week, working on perfecting his backside spins and getting big air on jumps. For Szarzynski, having the opportunity to travel and work the bigger hills has been a key aspect in reaching high goals. “I like to get out twice a week. I’ve been to Vail, but usually every year I make a little road trip up to Lutsen,” Szarzynski said.

The thrill of flying through the air and landing a big jump never ceases to excite Szarzynski.

“There’s no one reason I love snowboarding. It’s just something in my character that makes me want to ride,” Szarzynski said.

Even being involved in sharing his passion, Szarzynski teaches a Board Jammers class to some aspiring snowboarders in high school and middle school.

“Some kids pick it up really easily. The ones that are best are fearless,” Szarzynski said.

Excited about his own improvement and sharing his love for the extreme sport, Szarzynski makes for a great instructor. “My favorite trick would have to be backside spins. When I do them well, it feels amazing,” Szarzynski said.

Senior Johnny Roux, who began to snowboard at a young age with his family, practices at Highland or Buck Hill a few times a month.

“When I first started, it is a long process to get the feel of everything and you will fall down, but you have to stay dedicated and motivated and it falls into place,” Roux said.

Although he initially learned how to ski, Roux found that snowboarding felt much more natural. Roux’s father, who snowboarded often while he was a teenager, encouraged Roux to pursue snowboarding when he was only four years old.

“I grew up snowboarding with my family and soon found that there is a lot of freedom to ride how you want. There are no rules, practices, or coaching. You are free on the board to express yourself how you want,” Roux said.

Instead of participating in competitions, Roux challenges himself through riding within a tight-knit group of snowboarders.

“I ride park with a friend and we push each other to learn new tricks,” Roux said.

Senior Quinn Pontius has also found success snowboarding competitively, winning third place at a rail jam competition for the past seven years. “Snowboarding in itself is awesome, so competing is not the most important thing to me,” Pontius said.

Beginning snowboarding nine years ago, Pontius found that riding is harder to learn and easier to master, depending on the person. Now being able to land his favorite trick, the backside cork 900, Pontius enjoys riding at Hyland. “I ride everyday, whether its in the streets or at Hyland, depending on the weather,” Pontius said.