Local snow sport teams ban together

Golden Eagles to hit the slopes?
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
As Bear River High School says goodbye to their ski and snowboard teams, Del Oro is hoping to welcome the addition of a snowboard team this season. Joining forces With a close-knit group of high schools that participate in snow sports, schools in the Placer Joint Union High School District are pulling together, along with the community, to make sure no more schools get left off the slopes. State budget cuts in education and the strict enforcement of students “paying to play,” has forced many school athletic teams to make cut-backs. Ski and snowboard are especially costly programs to run. If local teams don’t make their budget early in the season, they may be cancelled. Dean Steinhoff will be taking over for Brian Kirkegaard and Jack Morgan as coach of the Colfax snowboard team. “With all this pay-to-play stuff it’s getting more and more complicated. All three schools in the district have come together and decided to train at the Auburn Ski Club,” Steinhoff said. “We are working on trying to bus together. We are trying this year because we are all in the same financial straits.” Saturday, the schools are hosting a ski and snowboard equipment swap meet at Del Oro. Local business-owners are also getting behind the teams. Jeff Baughn, founder and marketing director for Academy Snowboards grew up in Meadow Vista. His company has since expanded to selling snowboards all around the world. On Nov. 17, Academy is helping students from the Colfax snowboard team put on a fundraiser at Old Town Pizza, in Auburn. Fifteen percent of the proceeds from pizza sales that night will go toward the team. They also donated snowboards, lift tickets and gear for a raffle. Baughn said investing in the future of the sport, and teaching kids the value of hard work, are both important to him. “It’s always just to give back. We didn’t have snowboard teams,” Baughn said. “Either you were a total jock or a total loser. They can be in a structure and not be kind of on the outside. Especially, with Colfax, they won state. Now they are bringing light to their school.” Baughn, who launched the company in 2002 in Southern California, decided it was time to relocate it closer to home last year. Since then, Academy has helped plan three fundraisers for local snowboard teams, including Placer. They also put on camps at Boreal, which many local teenagers attend. One percent of Academy’s total sales are donated toward scholarships. Erich Dummer, media director for Academy, said they gave one of their students the challenge that if he raised his grades to a “B” average, they would give him a snowboard. “We don’t do it all for them. It’s teaching these kids to be fisherman instead of just asking for a fish. It’s not Erich and I hustling out there,” Baughn said. “The kids did all the fundraising.” Dummer and Baughn now have the report card, along with a mirror emblazoned with the Academy logo, made by the student, hanging in their office. “We are trying to give them ownership,” Dummer said. Steinhoff said he hopes that with the community behind them and schools working together, the season will continue as planned for all of the teams. New kids on the powder If approved by the athletic director, Justin Cutts, this would be Del Oro’s first year having a snowboard team, according to hopeful coach and 10th grade English teacher Phillip Costea. “He is going to approve the team if there is a solid number of dedicated parents and students,” Costea said. “It would mean a great deal for me to be able to organize this niche-market of athletes that I know is here, because I’ve seen them, and I’ve seen them often.” He said Del Oro could benefit from adding an action-sport to its offerings. “I’m an advocate for action sports,” Costea said. “There’s not really a market for high school, but I think someday it might be.” Costea said he would most likely be meeting with Cutts Friday to discuss the team in more detail. Steinhoff said he was looking forward to adding another team into the mix, especially with the Bruins’ team being cancelled. His daughter Nelly is among the top snowboarders at Colfax, so he is determined there will be a team this season. “I was on the ski team. I raced for Colfax back in the 70’s,” Steinhoff said. “Now it’s my turn to give back a little. I’m committed to it. Even if for some reason I end up with just my daughter. I’m certainly going to be there.” Reach Sara Seyydin at ______________________________________________________ What: Fundraiser for the Colfax High School Snowboard Team When: Nov. 17, 4- 9 p.m. Where: Old Town Pizza, Auburn Cost: $1 per raffle ticket, 15 percent of total sales from Old Town Pizza will be donated Event Details: The event will include snowboard video premieres and raffle drawings. $1 raffle tickets are available for prizes like snowboards, outerwear, boots, lift tickets to Boreal and Sugar Bowl, gift certificates to local businesses and more.