DHS Snowboarders Given Cold Shoulder

Natalie DeBelina, Reporter

Snowboarding has been around for the past 58 years. More recently it has spread around to schools everywhere. All winter activities have been a big part of the culture in Durango, for as long as our ski resort have been open. However, Even with its growing popularity, Durango High School still does not have a Snowboard team.

 For the past two years, students have reached out to the activities office to ask them why we don’t have a snowboard team. Their response is that CHSAA, the Colorado High School Activities and Athletics Association, says no.

Durango high school only offers sports that CHSAA  sanctions, Snowboarding is not included in that list.

“I think the issue is with the insurance, they don’t like to see kids flying off big jumps and half pipes,” said DHS Athletics Director Adam Bright.

Bright said that insurance companies don’t like the idea of  snowboarding being added to the list of CHSAA sanctioned sports because of the potential of it being  a dangerous sport where kids are performing extremely dangerous stunts.

The part of snowboarding that CHSAA doesn’t see is the racing aspect. Much like skiing, snowboarders compete in Slalom, Giant Slalom, and Boardercross.

Without Snowboarding being a CHSAA sanctioned sport, Middle and High School students could miss the opportunity of snowboarding on a team.

Seventh grader Rowen Holiday rides for the Purgatory snowboard team.

“If DHS had a high school snowboard team with a good coach I  would definitely want to go to DHS more than any other school in Durango,” said Holiday.

Holiday explained that having a team would further influence his choice of high schools. Having a snowboard team could attract more student athletes that can contribute to our school community.                                                                                                                                             

Purgatory Snowboard Team coach Cody Beaver has been snowboarding for the past 22 years and in all those years, has never seen Durango High School provide opportunities for these athletes to compete as a Demon.

“Some positives of starting this team will be getting more kids involved with it,” said Beaver.

Without a snowboard team at DHS there is no current place for aspiring snowboarders  to go that want to get coaching on their snowboarding skills, whether it be for freestyle snowboarding or not.

“A snowboard team is not an easy program to start at a high school, there are many aspects that have to be considered before starting any team sport,” said Beaver.

Creating team sports is a long and difficult process which involves creating rules and bylaws for the new sport. Finding kids who are motivated enough by snowboarding to take time out of their day and participate with the team can also prove to be difficult.

Even if there were enough students willing to join a snowboard team here, practices would still be an issue. With no place to practice other than up at purgatory students would most likely have to be willing to drive up to Durango Mountain Resort (Purgatory) on the weekends and spend hours of their own time to practice.

Although CHSAA denies snowboarders opportunities to participate in school athletics, there are still currently two ski teams at DHS, a cross-country ski team and an alpine race team. Ski team Coach Leah Lasage coaches the Alpine race team.  

“Snowboarders are eligible to race on the ski team, I don’t know how much I’ll be able to teach them though,” said Lasage.

Lasage explains snowboarders are allowed to race with the ski team, however there are few students that do.  This could be because they are unaware of the fact that they can join, or just that at this point most snowboarders and not as interested in racing.

“For a Slopestyle team to occur schools have to be easy accessible to what is needed,” Lasage said.

If students want to join a team where they can learn more about doing tricks in the halfpipe, the school would need a halfpipe accessible to them.

“The Venue you would be using is only open until four, even if you got off school 30 minutes early there is still no time for practice, ” said Lasage.

With our current position of using purgatory as a venue for the team’s practice, snowboarders would have to practice on weekends in order to have enough time.

Although snowboarding has been around for so long and has been so popular in our region the  high school still chooses to not participate in the snowboarding sport and competitions. With seven of the US Olympic competitors in snowboarding coming from Colorado, the opportunity of sending DHS students to the olympics decreases. In a town and school with much potential not having a snowboard team only ever hurts us as a school and as a community.