By Kim Howard
The first time Dylan Peters, 13, went snowboarding he spent most of his time falling down.
Four years later, the Williston Central School eighth grader has a first-place regional competition win freshly tucked into his jacket and is headed to the men’s snowboard division national championships of the Jeep Terrain Park Challenge.
His greatest hope for this weekend’s competition at Sugar Bowl in Lake Tahoe, Calif., is just to “have fun,” he said.
“It would be cool to win, but I’m going to be the youngest one there so I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Dylan said after school Tuesday.
His age didn’t stop him last month, however. Dylan “blew away the competition,” according to a press release issued by the Jeep Terrain Park Challenge, even though he was the youngest of 16 competitors at the Feb. 25 regional championships at Sugarbush.
“I was really surprised because I wasn’t expecting it,” Dylan said. “I just had fun in it.”
The snowboarding competitions consist of two runs out of which the judges pick a competitor’s best. Speed is not a factor – lucky for Dylan, as his 95-pound frame is unlikely to move as fast as the bodies of men in their late teens and early twenties. Instead competitors are judged on the tricks they perform and how cleanly they land their jumps in runs that last 90 seconds to two minutes.
Dylan, who is on the Bolton Valley snowboarding team, goes snowboarding three or four times a week to practice, including nights. He also enjoys soccer and eating, and said with a halting laugh that his favorite subject in school is chess.
“I like literature class I guess,” he begrudgingly acknowledges.
In his snowboarding future, Dylan hopes to master rodeos — “a flip when you’re spinning and doing a back flip,” Dylan explains – and “corks,” short for “corkscrews,” he said.
A corkscrew is a “spin 540 or 720 (meaning one and a half or two full rotations) and you’re going sideways so it’s not fully a back flip but you’re not up straight; it’s off-axis spinning,” he said.
Dylan’s mother, Sue Peters, said her son has always enjoyed being in the air.
“It’s kind of part of his personality, so we’re kind of used to it,” she said. “He loves trampolines, loves to jump off of things. As a toddler, this would be the child flinging himself off the swing set as far as he could go….I always say he’s an adrenaline hound.”
Dylan said he has never hurt himself snowboarding – to which his mother required him to knock on the wood table before him.
“I try not to watch very much,” she said.
But Peters will accompany her son on Thursday as they head to California for the competition, where Dylan can do what he loves.
“I like spinning and flipping a lot,” he said. “And doing crazy stuff (like) going off big jumps and hitting big rails.”