America’s most talented snowboard youths were bouncing on the trampolines and hitting the ramps at Utah’s Center of Excellence last week for the Project Gold Air Camp, an invite-only training clinic for the next generation of elite U.S. snowboarders.
Photo: Camp attendee Cameron Pool boardslides on the ramps at the Center of Excellence in Park City Utah. (Credit: U.S. Snowboarding/Spencer Tamblyn)
Young halfpipe riders were invited to take part in a three-day camp of progression, intense coaching, critiquing and fun. This camp was designed to pave the way for aspiring Olympians to get a leg up on the competition.
Campers slept in dorms at the National Ability Center and ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Center of Excellence. For many of the athletes, it was their first camp and just being in presence of Olympians was a dream come true.
“Kids that were launching 720s before the camp are now able to throw 1080s,” said U.S. Snowboarding Freestyle National Development Coach Spencer Tamblyn.
First and foremost, Project Gold is an air camp, “It helps young athletes build air awareness and spot their landings,” said Abbi Nyberg the U.S. Snowboarding Program Manager.
Project Gold camper Noelle Edwards (Stamford, CT, 14) came to the camp hoping to get more comfortable in the air to throw back rodeos and misty flips.
“I like this camp because it pushes us harder to learn new tricks and go bigger,” Edwards said.
There aren’t many athletes in the U.S. that have the opportunity to work on trampolines. Camper Kelly Berger (Mammoth Lakes, CA, 14) came to the camp to work on the trampolines in order to learn how to throw more solid, fluid corks.
Camper Cameron Pool (Frisco, CO, 12) was invited to the camp for the first time and by the end of the three days was stomping back rodeos and throwing McTwists.
“The tramps were unbelievably fun,” said Pool.
Progression is what Project Gold is all about and having the camp at the Center of Excellence gave the young athletes the opportunity to meet some of their heroes, too. Many of the campers were introduced to the likes of notable pros includng Nate Holland, Shaun Palmer, Faye Gulini and many more.
“Being at the Center of Excellence and working around Olympians that are training, working so hard next to you is so motivational and inspirational for the kids,” said Tamblyn. “The facility of the Center is so complete that they are able to skateboard and work on the trampolines and we didn’t have to go anywhere else.”