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By Ambassador Erin Eblen
It's about going to the mountain, waiting for it to open, and then riding 'til you get told to leave. And riding after school even though you have basketball practice and hours of homework. Setting up a little park in your backyard for when the mountain is closed.
Despite all the blood, sweat, and tears, I still eat, breathe and sleep snowboarding. I have come close to giving it up, but I can't and never will. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to become a professional snowboarder and nobody can tell me otherwise.
It was December of 2012 and a family-friend, Adam Miller, asked me to come with him and give snowboarding a try. I said yes but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was excited and scared. All I know was that it was similar to wakeboarding but on the snow, and without a rope, and that it would hurt a lot more when you fell.
It was honestly one of the best times of my life with one of my best friends. Going into a new sport isn't easy; just because I knew how to wakeboard didn't mean I would instantly become an expert at snowboarding. It takes time. Everything takes time.
I went about three more times that winter. It wasn't cheap either. I had to rent everything and it was around $150. I hated renting stuff because it felt, well, weird. I have no idea to explain it. It didn't feel like I was “true” snowboarder, yet. I also hated that I was one of the only girls.
Everything at my house involved snowboarding some how. I watched so many snowboarding videos and movies it was crazy. But it was something I loved. I knew all the popular snowboarding brands out there and learned all their team’s riders. My favorite snowboarder when I first started snowboarding was (and still is) Mark McMorris. He's kinda hot too.
My mom and I had a talk about if I really liked snowboarding because, let me tell you, snowboarding is not a cheap sport. I didn't want my parents blowing money on a snowboard that I will grow out of with the next year or two. She talked to my dad about it and he said it was okay.
My mom took me to the local snowboard shop called Sun Valley Sports. It’s a great store if you are into action sports! I had no idea what kind of snowboard I wanted or how big. I was clueless. I thought if you get a popular brand you would be the best and everyone would like you. Yeah, no.
I got a 2014 Stepchild snowboard with 2013 white Burton bindings. I fell in love with my 12th Birthday gift. Little did i know it would change my life.
It was the winter of 2013 and I could finally ride my new snowboard. I couldn't explain my feelings of how I felt taking my first run down our hill at home. It's not a mountain at all, it's a 300 foot vertical but we make it work. I thought I was the coolest person ever. I loved it so much and I remember it like it was yesterday.
That season blew by fast, but it was so much fun at the same time. I only wanted to snowboard as a hobby, not to compete or anything. I just wanted to go out with my friends for the day, snowboard till the resort closes, and just have a good time!
Once again it was summer and I was counting down the days till I could snowboard again. I went over to my best friend's house, Brianna Andersen, and her mom's friend Shelly was over. She used to be a snowboarder and she used to compete. She told me about the program and it was called, USASA, United States of America Freeski & Snowboard Association.
I looked it up and there were lots of local competitions. You could compete in your area to see who is the best, and the best go to Nationals at Copper Mountain Colorado. I wanted to do it but it was even more money. My family isn’t poor but we’re not the richest.
January 11, 2015 I had my first Slopestyle event at our local hill, Brandywine Ski Resort. I really wanted to win and bring home the gold, and I did just that. I won, easy as that. That was the only competition I did that year because I wasn't a USASA member so my points wouldn't count for Nationals.
The winter of 2016 I won 7 golds, 3 silvers, and 2 bronze medals in one season. My parents kept telling me, “ you are not going to Nationals so why are you competing?” It broke me, it really did. Ohio To Colorado, it's not cheap and it won't be easy.
I was at track practice and I got into the car and my mom said, “Guess what I did.” I just looked at her. “I bought plane tickets” I broke into tears, my dream, everything has came true. I couldn't thank my parents enough.
I left April 1st, 2016 with an adventure up ahead. I was only there for a week, it wasn't long enough. I ended up placing 25th in the Nation for Slopestyle and 20th in the Nation for Rail jam. The support was amazing, it was unbelievable.
Thank you SheShreds.co for teaching me that being a girl doing action sports doesn’t mean anything. Thank you for teaching me to shred without limits and to be fearless. Thank you for teaching me to be myself.
SheShreds.Co Ambassador, Erin Eblen