November 13, 2009
Park City is now home to its first ever girls-only snowboard team. In fact, it may be the only official girls’ snowboard team in the nation. Jack Coghlan, director of the Park City Snowboard Team, said he has yet to find another one anywhere in the country.
Ten girls from the P.C. Snowboard Team have branched off into their own team, complete with girls-only apparel and gear and a female coach, Leia Sherblom.
"A parent came to me and said the girls could feed off each other if they were separate from the boys," Coghlan said. "Other parents jumped on and we’re hoping to grow to 15-20 girls."
The girls on the team have the option of joining the original Snowboard Team, joining the girls’-only team, or doing both.
"They can do both," he said. "But all the girls wanted to go to the girls’ team."
Sherblom said young girls are usually more comfortable with female coaches and female teammates. The girls on the team range in age from 8 to 17.
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"Girls can feel intimidated riding with the boys," she said. "The girls feed off each other in a positive way.
Coghlan added that the girls may progress faster without the pressure of being more aggressive around the male teammates and coaches.
To assist with the girls-only team, Coghlan and his brother, Andy, brought in Sherblom, a skilled snowboarder who has worked with children for many years. Sherblom grew up in Massachusetts, she began skiing with her family and was a member of the ski patrol. At the age of 19, she took up snowboard and never went back to skis. Sherblom moved to Vermont for college and began working for Burton Snowboards. Burton often sent her to Mount Hood in Oregon to demo boards and work with young snowboarders in learn-to-ride programs
Sherblom most recently worked with a nonprofit organization that brought at-risk youth from inner cities to Oregon. She worked with a diverse group, from homeless kids those from wealthier families, and taught them to snowboard and appreciate the mountains.
"These were kids who would never have had the chance to snowboard," she said.
Sherblom said when she was contacted to coach the new girls-only team in Park City, she was immediately on board.
"I was looking for a way to combine snowboard and my degree in education," she said. "This is the perfect place to do it."
Coghlan said they will begin searching for an assistant coach once more girls have signed up for the team.
"Our goal is to get as big a team as we can and help the girls progress," he said.
Sherblom said the goal is to create a fun environment while promoting a positive progression and personal success for each of the girls. She said she highly encourages competition, but does not require it. Her goal is to take the girls to nationals in Colorado in April.
The snowboard season officially begins on Dec. 1. In the meantime, the P.C. Snowboard Team is offering dryland training at Basin Recreation.
The Snowboard Team offers two-day, four-day and six-day programs. For more information on the Park City Snowboard Team, email Coghlan at firstname.lastname@example.org.