Two local snowboarders have wrapped up the season with back-to-back competitions.
Silas Lehr, nine, and Solomon Wynnyk, 10, are lifelong friends from Sylvan Lake who started snowboarding as toddlers.
On March 20 the boys made a trip to WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park (COP) in Calgary for the Mazda Super Grom Nationals in slopestyle, which consists of jumps and rails.
The event was Lehr’s second competition and he came up just shy of the podium after a few good runs.
Wynnyk, who rides for Industry Skate and Snow, ran some clean runs and came home with a gold medal and the honour of “biggest air”.
The competition at COP was Lehr and Wynnyk’s favourite because it was ‘Star Wars’ themed and the boys had lots of fun riding in the warm weather.
The two closed out the season on a high note at Canyon Ski Resort’s “Industry Melt Down” competition on March 30.
Wynnyk came out with another slopestyle win, while Lehr won the boardercross race.
The two agree their favourite type of competition is slopestyle because of the jumps.
“I think lots of kids are better at that [slopestyle], so it’s more of a competition,” said Wynnyk, who also participated in his first halfpipe competition this season.
Lehr, who just finished his rookie year as a competitor said, “it’s just about having fun. I love riding with my friends.”
His snowboarding buddy, Wynnyk just wrapped up his second year of competition and said getting nervous and excited are also a highlight of competing.
Lehr and Wynnyk spend their time practicing at Canyon Ski Resort in Red Deer and teaching themselves new tricks in Wynnyk’s backyard.
“Every year we have like a big backyard set up and almost every day as soon as I get off the bus I snowboard for like an hour and a half and now since I can’t really snowboard, there’s no snow, I do lots of trampoline practicing on trampoline snowboards,” said Wynnyk, who attends Ecole Mother Teresa Catholic School.
“I’m always asking to go over to his house,” added Lehr, who is a student at Steffie Woima Elementary School.
Wynnyk lives on an acreage with a downhill slope in the backyard, so he and his dad build jumps to practice on.
Lehr says his most impressive trick is a 360, while Wynnyk says his is a 720 or a rodeo.
During the offseason the two snowboarders skateboard, wakeboard and practice on the trampoline.
“Snowboarding is like so much better,” said Lehr. “If there was anything in the world that I had to do I would definitely just snowboard.”
The two are eager to return to competition next year and are already gearing up to learn new tricks for next season.
They were in three or four competitions this year, but would like to see the number be higher.
Lehr explained the competitions aren’t all about the sport and keeping it fun is all that matters.
“It’s not about like winning or anything,” agreed Wynnyk. “I feel like it’s more about just having fun and riding with your friends. It’s my favourite thing to do.”
They say a lot of their friends snowboard, but majority of their riding is done with each other.
“I just think one of the most important things, Mark McMorris says it a lot, is don’t make it like with the coaches and a bunch of that stuff, don’t make it too much of a sport and just have fun,” explained Wynnyk, who found the podium four times this season.
“Don’t make it hard or too scary for you, but sometimes you have to get uncomfortable to learn new things, but stay with friends and don’t make it too much of a sport or too hard for you,” added Wynnyk.
“Doesn’t seem to be what he’s doing though,” joked Lehr of his favourite snowboarder, Canada’s Mark McMorris.
Wynnyk’s favourite snowboarder is Norway’s Marcus Kleveland.
The two dream of one day competing at the X Games or Olympics like their favourite boarders.
Lehr and Wynnyk are also excited to see COP in Calgary, a location where they compete, host the X Games from 2020-2022.