Local snowboarder heading to Youth Winter Games | ParkRecord.com

Local snowboarder heading to Youth Winter Games

Christopher Kamrani, Of the Record staff

It didn’t really hit 15-year-old Max Raymer until he saw the e-mail.

That e-mail, from the United States Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), informed the Treasure Mountain International School freshman that he had been selected to don the stars and stripes in the first-ever Youth Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria next January.

"It’s pretty cool," Raymer said of his inclusion on the U.S. snowboard slopestyle squad. "It’s hard to explain when you go from nothing to you having everything."

Max’s father, Bud, said the family originally didn’t know what the Youth Olympic Winter Games even were, and even when Max began to creep onto the radar, they didn’t give it much thought.

"We didn’t know what was going on," he joked. "Probably the public isn’t going to know much about it before it goes on."

As Raymer continued to get looks and move into contention for a possible spot on the team, he continued to excel.

"It became more serious about where these competitions were and it just worked for him," Bud Raymer said. "He would win the selection process by 300 or 400 points it wasn’t something where he just breezed in. He did win it hands down. We were pretty proud."

The team is comprised of four athletes selected based on cumulative points gathered at competitions during the 2010-2011 U.S Grand Prix of Snowboarding series and USSA Revolution Tour. The riders were among over 30 male and female athletes between the ages of 14 to 17 selected to compete for the Winter Youth Olympic Games positions.

Raymer, who has been snowboarding since seven or eight years old, was swayed by a pair of older brothers who disagreed on what kind of winter activity was more enjoyable.

One skied, the other snowboarded.

"Skiing and snowboarding, they were both kind of right there. (I) trained in both, did contests in both," Raymer said. "With snowboarding, I started to slowly find more passion in it. Started to progress.

"I just had so much more fun on my snowboard."

Bud Raymer said his son is an extremely social kid, which allows him to excel in the classroom as well.

"He likes school and the social aspect of it," he said. "We’ve looked at Winter School off and on, but he really likes (public) school; he’s worked with counselors and the school district. He’s on a program where he takes a couple classes during winter months and then they work with him for online classes.

Next year, Raymer will be a sophomore at Park City High School.

When asked if his son has started to realize what he has in store for him next January, Bud Raymer said, "He’s pretty excited. Very excited. They explained to him, the USOC, they’re going to pay for his travel and so forth and want him to be there for all the events, from opening to closing ceremonies. What hit him, is, ‘Wow, this is going to be just like the Olympics.’ Innsbruck has quite an Olympics heritage. They’re very good at putting on the games and events."

As for walking into a stadium packed full of people cheering him on in January 2012?

"It’ll be different. It’s just one of those things," Max Raymer said. "You’ve got to experience it just to see what it’s like."

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