Snow club students manage school time and competitions in the weekend

State Hornet Staff

Environmental studies major and snowboarder Ira Weiss finished his first year competing on the Sacramento State Snow Team and has learned how to manage the nerves and pressure of competition in national events.

Weiss has been snowboarding for 10 years and joined the Snow Team last year, snowboarders and skiers compete in various events.

According to Weiss, the largest and most intense competition of the season was Nationals in Lake Placid, N.Y. This year, the snow team placed sixth in the competition.

“It was snowing a lot and the winds were so high that the snow was basically going horizontal across the plain,” Weiss said. “At the summit, it was negative 15 degrees, so the cold really was difficult to deal with.”

Weiss said nerves played a big part amongst riders in competing at nationals.

“Being able to get over your nerves and being able to control your nerves is the most important part [of competing],” Weiss said. “It got to a lot of people and a lot of good riders wouldn’t be able to succeed or perform well.”

Although Weiss was also part of the Snow Club for three years, which was more of a recreation group, he decided to join the Snow Team to participate in competitions.  

Practices for the snow team are held at Northstar Ski Resort located in Truckee. Throughout the season, there are competitions in Tahoe up until the regional event at the end of February and if the team qualifies, it compete in nationals, which the team did this season from March 16-22.

Weiss said travelling for practice and competitions made it difficult to balance and school.

“We practice as a team on weekends because that’s when everybody is free from school,” Weiss said. “I basically focused on school Monday through Thursday because those are the days I have school and then I would spend every weekend in Tahoe practicing for competitions.”

There are several events that each person must compete in during competitions, such as the giant slalom, which is a race through gates, or slopestyle, an event that involves jumps, rails and boxes.

“Slopestyle is my main focus, [which] is rails and jumps and stuff like that, [where] you do tricks,” Weiss said. “That’s basically what I trained (on) all year for and the nerves when you compete, especially in nationals, is crazy.”

Snow Club President Chiara Bellisario said this season she focused more on park where she can get better at rails. The park is a place for riders to get better at jumps, rails and boxes where they can learn tricks similar to those seen during this Winter Olympics.

 “I focused more on rails because last season I was able to get down my “S” turns, [which] is going down the mountain toe side [and then switching] heel side,” Bellisario said. ”Once I got that down, towards the end of last season I hit a rail [and successfully landed].”

Rails vary in difficulty. Beginners learn on rails that are short, placed into the ground so a rider can glide onto it without jumping on and have a small landing.

Larger rails are higher off the ground requiring a rider to jump up and some have a kinked ends with a more difficult landing.

Because Tahoe did not get a lot of snow this past season, Weiss said there were times when it got really icy and snow team members were getting injured during practice.

Sabine Mimra, a Snow Club member and Study Abroad student from Germany, said the U.S. got more snow than Germany would get.

“The snow is not as wet here, which makes it nice and powdery,” Mimra said.

Both Weiss and Bellisario look forward to competing next year on the Snow Team. Next season Weiss will be president of the team and Bellisario will remain president of the Snow Club.