Snowboarders prepare for season

ARLINGTON/DORSET - It may not be easy at the moment, but snowboarders at Arlington Memorial High School and Long Trail School are preparing for the upcoming season.

Arlington has three riders returning to this year's squad - senior Fred Pickering, senior Noah Irion, and junior Aric Rhodes - and one new rider in sophomore Emily Lampron.

Pickering is the team's senior member - now in his fourth season - and is also a heavy hitter, according to Arlington head snowboard coach Mike Keogh, who coaches the team along with Michael English.

"Fred is returning for his fourth season and he's definitely one of the best snowboarders in the state right now. He finished third overall last year," said Keogh. "He's been a top competitor since he's been in high school. So, he's certainly one of the best snowboarders in the state right now."

Irion - who is in his third season - has shown improvment every year, Keogh said, and he expects him to have a good season this year. Rhodes, meanwhile, is returning for his second year on the team and Keogh expects him to be a signficant contributer as well.

"He had a very good rookie season. He's an athletic kid who is really going to come into his own I think this season," said Keogh.

As for Lampron, though she is a relatively new rider, Keogh said they are excited that she has joined the team.

While the boys will compete in all three areas of snowboarding - giant slalom, slopestyle and halfpipe - Lampron will likely compete in giant slalom and slopestyle, Keogh said. At the moment the team has been doing dry land training as the lack of snow has not allowed them to have much time on the mountain. However, Keogh said the students have gone to the mountains on their own.

One of the events that is particulary hard to train for is the halfpipe - either because of a lack of snow or teams not having enough having enough access to the pipe. In Arlington's case, Keogh said there will be a couple of things they will do to try to prepare for the halfpipe.

"I know Fred has a pass at Okemo. So, he can go over there and train with his pass," said Keogh. "What we're hoping to do as a team, once the season starts, possibly even beforehand, is go over, probably on a weekly basis, to Mount Snow, which has a big park. It's called Carinthia, which is a snowboarder's (park) I'd guess you'd call it and they have a pipe and they have all kinds of snowboard features that are a good way to learn and improve."

The season is scheduled to start with a race at Bromley Mountain on Jan. 8, 2013 and will end with the state championships, which are expected to take place in early March at Stowe Mountain.

Although they are a team, Keogh said they will be ineligible to qualify for a championship as they only have three boys - one shy of the amount necessary to receive a team score.


Long Trail has only one student participating in snowboarding - sophomore Felicia Blanchard.

"She'll compete individually just to make sure the presence of the team is still there," said Long Trail coach Kileen Deets. "I guess there's a lot of young interest so we're trying to keep the interest there for the upcoming years."

In a telephone interview on Monday, Deets said that while they had not yet been up to the mountain they intended to go at some point this week.

Blanchard - who is new to competing - will ride in six competitions this coming year. Though she may be new, Deets said that Blanchard is a "solid rider." However, Deets said the fact that she has not riden in competition before could present a challenge.

"I think the challenge for her is going to be comfortable competing and setting her own personal goals, whatever those may be," said Deets.


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