Youngest ‘chick’ at the Jam
Look out Teters. One of the first families of snowboarding may soon have some competition from another tow-headed trio living and training right here in Park City the Kotsenburgs. Much like Olympic hopefuls Abe, Elijah and Hannah Teter, the Kotsenburgs are made up of two older brothers, Blaze, age 14, Sage, age 12, and a younger sister, Kirra. Nine-year-old Kirra may be the most impressive of all. She repeatedly took first place in her age group in regional and national competitions last season. The grade school-aged rider was also the youngest entry at the Roxy Chicken Jam this month. Although she did not end up competing, because she could not complete the last jump, she was a forerunner and boarded among some of snowboarding’s best pro riders. The rising star began her career as a toddler on skis, but watched her older brothers having fun on their snowboards and son made the switch. Since then, it’s been smooth riding. A lot of Kirra’s success comes the family’s commitment to make the children some of snowboarding’s best All three Kotsenburgs are home-schooled by their mother, Carol Ann, allowing them time to practice for hours daily and the freedom to travel to competitions for weeks at time. Kirra says that her goal is to compete in the X-Games before she can legally drive, and she seems to already be on her way. She is sponsored by Park City Mountain Resort, Roxy, DC and Milo and continues to improve. At the Chicken Jam, she said that she was not fazed by her age compared to the mostly adult riders. "I just felt really confident," Kirra said. "I felt like it wasn’t really a competition and we were just riding for fun." Part of this assurance comes from her support system. Besides the constant encouragement from Carol Ann and her father Steve, as well as her oldest brother, 26-year-old Jeremy, she enjoys help from Blaze and Sage who give her snowboarding advice and moral support. She is also a product of world of women’s snowboarding. "Everyone is positive. Everything is warm and fuzzy. It’s all good," Carol Ann said. Carol Ann says that pro female riders like Jessica Dalpiaz, Erin Comstock and even some of the guys, like Shaun White and Scotty Arnold encourage Kirra to be the best rider she can be. "Everything is positive right now for her. It’s good place to be," Carol Ann said. Kirra is currently ranked among the top riders in the nation for her age group. Carol Ann serves as her manager and says that Kirra shows a lot of potential and that the sport is wide open for her right now. Another incentive is spending her days on the hill with her brothers. They are constantly teaching her new tricks and pushing her to become better and better at the sport. "I hope to one day be as good as they are," she said. Kirra rides without a formal coach, but Carol Ann says that the time spent practicing with her brothers and other accomplished riders keep her on the cutting edge. Right now her favorite trick is the board slide, but Carol Ann says that her favorites and her ability to do more challenging tricks changes all of the time. Kirra plans to attend the Chicken Jam next year this time as a competitor. "In the next two years she won’t be in last place," Carol Ann said. "She’s a pretty confident rider." Just to be a part of the prestigious event was an honor for the entire Kotsenburg family. "The Roxy Chicken Jam is probably the premier event and to have Kirra be a part of it, because she’s been tapped as an ‘up-and-comer’ . is very exciting," Carol Ann said. The Kotsenburgs are still a few years away from the level of the Teters, but Carol Ann says that their success and camaraderie gives her family something to shoot for. She says that the Teters’ competitiveness with everyone else and absolute support is exactly how her family operates. With a little luck and a lot of talent, the "Kotsenburg three" may soon be the Teters’ biggest competition.
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In last week’s top five stories, changes coming to Park City Mountain Resort this winter and next summer captured our readers’ attention.