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Winter athletes look forward to new competitive season after COVID-19 inflicted hiatus

COURTESY PHOTO: SANDY HIGH SNOWBOARD CLUB  - Last year COVID-19 canceled the competitive snowboarding season for high school athletes, but Sandy High snowboarders are excited to return to the slopes. Last year many student activities were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the slopes seem like a great place to have fun while social distancing, the Sandy High snowboarding club was not immune to the effects of the coronavirus restrictions.

Now, with a vaccine available and restrictions mostly lifted, the club is excited to be able to compete again this winter after a year of only boarding with those in their COVID cohorts.

"This year our returning members are really excited to come back and be able to compete again," said coach JD Elliot.

So far about 30-35 students have shown interest in joining the team.

Elliot said that while the club does compete, members are not required to. Students are free to join to take advantage of the learning opportunities and get experience under the supervision of experienced coaches.

"We really make sure they have time on the slopes," Elliot said. "We practice once a week at Meadows. Even if you don't want to compete, it is still really fun to do. It's more about being awesome people and being out in the snow."

The competitive season runs from January after winter break until spring break typically, and Sandy High competes against students from 20 other schools.

The team is entirely funded through fundraising, with parents often helping out with events to bring in dollars.

"The parents keep the whole team going," Elliot said.

Masking is still required when students are near others or inside the ski lodge, but, as Elliot said: "We all pretty much wear masks anyway."

"COVID will change how we interact at the lodges at Meadows," Elliot added. "I'm not sure of what that will look like. But, so long as we're snowboarding, that's the awesome part."

The sign-up event is at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, in the lower commons of Sandy High School, 37400 Bell St.

"It seems like it's going to be a really busy year," Elliot said. "We're going to play it by ear and have some fun. It's supposed to be a La Nina year, so hopefully this will be a really big snow year. The team is excited. I'm definitely excited to see a new season (and) it's going to be good to have the team back together."

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