Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Shredding the Mountain

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Shredding the Mountain

Article excerpt

There aren't too many snow sports champions who hail from New Jersey, but 12-year-old Ed Chanod ranks among them thanks to his gold medals in slalom and giant slalom snowboard racing in April at the 2014 USASA National Championships in Colorado. The win came on the heels of two consecutive golds in giant slalom in 2012 and 2013.

Why does he do it? "You get to go fast," said Ed, a sixth-grader at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood, who learned to snowboard with his dad, Ed, when he was 5 at Campgaw, a small ski area in Mahwah.

As fate would have it Dad broke his elbow that day, but since his kid wanted to keep going he signed him up for private lessons with Dave Hirschberg. Hirschberg soon discovered that Chanod, who is also known as Shred, was a natural and a couple of years later recruited him over to racing.

"Shred is without a doubt the most coachable kid I have ever seen," said Hirschberg, who added that Chanod reaches speeds over 50 mph on his 171-cm raceboard.

Snowboard racing is a small but growing sport. Races are operated by USASA (United States of America Snowboard) and Freeski Association, which has 31 regions in the country including 10 in the East and runs events like boardercross, snowboard racing, slopestyle contests and rail jams.

Although snowboard racing is an Olympic sport and has been around for more than 20 years, its popularity in the U.S. faded partly due to the explosion of terrain parks and halfpipes in the 2000s.

"There are not a lot of halfpipes anymore," said Hirschberg, explaining that might be one reason kids are getting more interested in snowboard racing. Boardercross and seeing it at the Olympics also helped, he added.

Chanod now competes out of Camelback, which is part of the mid- Atlantic region. Training began last weekend and the team practices from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., riding through a series of gates expertly set up by coach Marian Dziak, a former World Cup racer from Slovakia, who is serious about developing a junior Alpine snowboard program and the sport as a whole in this country. …

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