Holding nothing backIt will take a lot more than a face plant in the snow to deter Brook Dickenson. And getting a rail in the gut only makes her want to try that much harder.
By: Jo Colvin, Alexandria Echo Press
It will take a lot more than a face plant in the snow to deter Brook Dickenson. And getting a rail in the gut only makes her want to try that much harder.
“As soon as most people fall, they take it as, ‘I can’t do it,’ ” said the determined 15-year-old snowboarder. “Every time I fall I don’t get bummed and I just try it again. Sportswise, I don’t account for injuries. I don’t think ahead about the risks because it holds you back.”
An admitted tomboy who always wanted to play football, Dickenson discovered the sport of snowboarding by accident when she was in 6th grade.
“One boy that I liked – that I liked a lot – he said, ‘Do you snowboard?’ ” she recalled with a laugh. “I said yeah, and I didn’t even know what it was.”
Dickenson, the daughter of Candy and Greg Nathe of Carlos, met her friend at the ski hill anyway, and discovered a new passion.
“I loved it!” she said exuberantly. “Oh yeah! It was dangerous and crazy! I thought snowboarding was the best thing ever.”
After snowboarding about five times that year, Dickenson already had the hang of it. So the next year she went even more. And she started to experiment with tricks she refers to as “rails.”
By 8th grade, she had mastered several of those rails and kept wanting to learn more.
“Every time I got encouragement about one thing, it made me want to try harder,” Dickenson said of the support from fellow snowboarders, mostly boys. “I’m not afraid to try a new trick. You just have to be willing to try.”
By 9th grade, Dickenson was spending even more of her free time at the ski hill. And she competed in her first snowboarding competition. Although she was put in a girls’ category with only five competitors, she took second place, beating out an experienced 17 year old.
“For my first competition, I was pretty happy,” she said. “As much as I thought I had wanted to snowboard, I wanted to go pro.”
Now a sophomore, this year Dickenson not only spends her free time at the ski hill, she works there, too. And so far, she has competed in two events. In the first competition, she was the only girl, so she was placed in the boys’ category. Of about 25 competitors, she was one of six finalists. In the second competition, Dickenson was placed in a girls’ category, but she was the only girl in the competition, so she took 1st. It was a somewhat empty win for a girl who, when she decides to do something, wants to be first.
“Snowboarding is one thing that not a lot of girls do. All the guys compare me to other girls,” she explained. “But I compare myself to them. I like being compared to the boys. I enjoy being in that competition.”
Dickenson plans to improve her snowboarding skills this summer at a camp at Mount Hood, Oregon, where she will get to have lessons with professionals. She also wants to attend as many snowboarding camps as possible.
“My goal is to be semi pro by the time I’m 18,” she concluded. “And pro by the time, whenever it is, that I make it.”
In the meantime, Dickenson will spend as much time as she possibly can improving her sport – despite the bumps and bruises along the way.