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LAMS Student Pursues Olympic Dreams

on March 14, 2019 - 5:35pm
Los Alamos Middle School student and mogul skier Stephen Boone training in Telluride, Colo., hopes to join the U.S. ski team and take part in the Olympics. Courtesy photo 
 
LAMS student Stephen Boone practices his backflip with a full twist last year during a mogul skiing summer camp in Park City, Utah. Courtesy photo 
 
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post 

Los Alamos Middle School Stephen Boone eighth grader, 14, has big aspirations ... he hopes to one day join the U.S. ski team as a competitive mogul skier and take part in the Olympics.

His father Vance Boone explained that mogul skiing involves going down a ski run with bumps on it and performing two jumps during every run. The performance is judged and skiers are evaluated on air, speed and turns.

“Stephen finished in the top 10 in his age group at six of his competitions,” Vance said. “And he finished in first place for his birth year at the Rocky Mountain Freestyle Divisional Championships in Telluride. Stephen is currently ranked ninth in the country for kids born in 2005.”

Stephen has been mogul skiing for about five years but this is his first year in the Rocky Mountain Division Competitive Series. He is only the young person in New Mexico to compete in this sport at this level, his father said. His next competition is April 6 at Copper Mountain in Colorado.

Stephen and his family are very dedicated to the sport. During the season, which begins in January and goes through April, Vance said Stephen trains with his coach on the weekends in Telluride, Colo., and the various ski resorts hosting competitions.

He explained that Stephen doesn’t ski for the Los Alamos Ski Team because Pajarito Mountain Ski Area does not have a mogul course or coaches to train Stephen for the highest levels of competition. Specialized aerial training and turn coaching are a necessity to progress in the sport, both of which are available at Telluride, he said.

In addition to his regular training, Stephen attends a two to three week water ramp camp each June and August in Park City, Utah, where he practices new tricks using a swimming pool. Vance said his son also goes to camps in Whistler, Canada and Mount Hood, Ore. During these camps Stephen skis on snow and glaciers, he said.

To help raise money to attend the camps, Vance said they held a mogul clinic and banquet Feb. 23. The clinic was at Pajarito and the banquet at the Pig + Fig Café in White Rock. Vance said some 15 skiers participated in the clinic. The fundraiser was a success, he said, and Stephen showed his parents how well he can apply his training to help others. Stephen also works with some of the younger kids on the Los Alamos Ski Team who are competing at the Race Qualifier Level for Rocky Mountain Freestyle.

Vance said the whole family is very proud of Stephen’s efforts.

“For him, he’s very clear on what he wants,” Vance said, “and he works extremely hard year-round to get his body into shape.”

Stephen is gone a lot for competitions and trainings, and Vance said his teachers are very understanding and helpful. The fact that Los Alamos has such wonderful schools plays a big role in his family’s decision to stay in Los Alamos rather than move closer to where Stephen trains and competes, he said, and Pajarito Mountain has a long history of mogul skiers.

“Pajarito has always been known for its mogul skiers so there’s lots of good mogul skiers around here so he’s super proud to continue this tradition and his ultimate goal is to represent Pajarito and his country in the Olympics,” Vance said.

Skiing is something that runs in Stephen’s family.

“I’m the president of the Los Alamos Ski Racing Club, which I raced on as a kid,” Vance said.

Stephen also ski raced for several years before transitioning to mogul skiing. His foundations in racing, including coaching from Lisa Kimura, helped him become one of the strongest all around skiers to come out of Pajarito, he said.

Vance said Stephen preferred mogul skiing to racing.

“He really likes the fact that there’s a lot of tricks involved,” Vance said.

Stephen’s tricks include the backflip iron cross, in which he does an aerial black flip while crossing his skis. His other trick is the backflip truck driver, during which Stephen will straighten his legs and hold his skis while doing a backflip. He is hoping to add to his repertoire with the cork 720 and flat spin 360.

To help pay for his training and competitions, Stephen sells artwork he created as well as t-shirts. Vance said it’s an opportunity for Stephen to reach the public and be invested in his sport.

“We believe the more he can contribute to this the more it will make him want to work toward his goal,” Vance said.

What has been most heartwarming to the Boones is experiencing how supportive family, friends, teachers, coaches and the entire community is when a kid has a dream he wants to pursue. Reaching out to the public is more than just raising money, he said. It is a way to rally support not only for Stephen but for Los Alamos.

Vance said he and his wife Heather are very proud of Stephen's efforts and along with them, his biggest supporters are his brother Jackson and his grandparents Steve and Cindy Boone and Bryan and Gayle Travis. 

The Boone family wishes to express its thanks to Pajarito Mountain, the Los Alamos Ski Club, Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op, CB FOX, Pig & Fig Cafe, Alpine Financial and Los Alamos MainStreet for supporting Stephen’s clinic and other fundraising efforts.

Local mogul skier Stephen Boone performs a backflip truck driver. Courtesy photo 

Stephen Boone offers instruction on mogul skiing during a clinic he hosted Feb. 23 at Pajarito Mountain. The clinic was a fundraiser for his upcoming training camps. Courtesy photo


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