Mount Snow Academy student Max Lions grinds a handrail (Submitted photo/ScottHorwath)
Mount Snow Academy student Max Lions grinds a handrail (Submitted photo/Scott Horwath)
Monday January 21, 2013

DOVER -- A student and a coach from Mount Snow Academy are leaving the East Coast for a few days and will get the chance to see the nation's top extreme winter sports athletes compete.

The student is also competing and will be in the running for prizes that come from a $5,000 total purse.

"We're extremely excited," said Academy Coach Tommy Anderson. "We're heading out next Wednesday morning and we're going to ride Vail for a few days then Buttermilk Mountain."

Max Lions has been invited to compete in the 2013 United States of America Snowboard Association Rail Jam at the Winter X Games 17 at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colo.

The competition will be on Saturday Jan. 26, the night after the pro rail jam. It will be held on a street course, which will include rails and features that resemble things that you'd find in an urban setting.

There will be a maximum of 30 male snowboarders, 15 female snowboarders, 30 male skiers and 15 female skiers, competing in an amateur contest right next to the pro contests.

"I was told that last year there were thousands of people who would show up and give the kids attention. It's a chance to get some good exposure," said Anderson, mentioning that sponsors like to watch this amateur competition to find competitors whose styles they may like.

Lions and Anderson plan to meet up with some friends in Vail. One of them includes Will Rivera, a snowboard coach at Vail who coached at Mount Snow Academy last year.

They will be staying in Glenwood Springs, which is about 30 or 40 minutes away from Buttermilk Mountain.

Lions had been invited after receiving the highest overall score in rail jams in the USASA Southern Vermont Series for his age group, which was 14 and up.

"I won the first and got second in the second one," he said.

Lions is 17 years old now, and this is his third year at Mount Snow Academy. He moved from Boston to Marlboro when he was 10.

"I did one year of skiing and didn't like it. Then I've been snowboarding ever since," said Lions.

Anderson has been working at Mount Snow on and off for four seasons. He's also coached for Club Vail, the Vail Snowboard Academy, and the Brazilian National Snowboard team.

He has been enthusiastic about returning to Mount Snow and the terrain parks at Carinthia this year.

"This is the best place ever to work and snowboard in those terrain parks," Anderson said. "Such amazing training grounds for the kids. We love what they do over at Carinthia."

He mentioned that the Academy allows its students to learn all different disciplines of snowboarding.

"It's a great opportunity for kids to come get extreme. They go to school and snowboard. They train to be career snowboarders. Everyone can do their own thing and flourish. They're not forced to do any one thing."

The students are scheduled to snowboard for three half-days and three full days on the weekends. There is one full day of school on Mondays.

Lions, who is sponsored by Invasion Snowboard Shop in Dover, has been preparing for the rail jam with Anderson and the rest of the students.

"I'm feeling pretty good with my riding," Lions said. "Hopefully, I'll do really good out there."

Anderson is optimistic about the competition as well.

"Max has got a pretty solid bag of tricks. We got a solid week ahead of us, to break down the walls on some things," said Anderson.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.