Heard from Amber Nelson, who recently moved to Salt Lake City to snowboard full time. The 16 year-old rubbed shoulders with Australia’s Torah Bright at Copper Mountain, Colo., where Bright was competing at the Hole Shot Tour the same week as Winter X Games 17.
The Medal Stand: I.F. boarder competes against Olympian
By MARLOWE HEREFORD
Only a few weeks after relocating permanently to Salt Lake City to begin snowboarding full time with Team Utah, Idaho Falls teenager Amber Nelson is thoroughly enjoying the journey and a few surprises along the way.
Nelson competed last week in the Hole Shot Tour at Copper Mountain, Colo., an open-class snowboardcross event that featured women of various ages and experience levels. She placed fifth, narrowly missing the finals. One of the four women to advance to the finals was Olympic gold medalist Torah Bright of Australia, who placed second.
Nelson wasn’t aware that Bright was competing at Hole Shot until she read the starting list the night before. As it turned out, Bright commuted between the Hole Shot Tour and Winter X Games 17 in Aspen, Colo.
Nelson not only met and competed against Bright but got to know her.
“Before I dropped in, she wished me luck and I couldn’t tell it was her,” Nelson said. “She’s super nice and friendly.”
Nelson competes in a junior free-ride competition this weekend in Jackson, Wyo., before taking the rest of February off. She looks forward to the down time because she’s been competing through illness since before Christmas, but she said the full-time snowboarding life has been exciting.
“The only surprise I have is my body’s getting beat up,” Nelson said with a laugh. “Nothing serious — just bumps and bruises. The whole team is all really supportive and we all feed off of each other.”
Salmon native and current Lousiana State-Shreveport weightlifter Kollin Cockrell also had a big weekend. The 20-year-old made his open division debut Saturday by winning the 105kg weight class gold medal, the International trophy and best lifter award at the Reykjavik International Games in Reykjavik, Iceland.