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Small turnout for snowboarding workshop

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The scarcity of bodies could have been viewed as a disappointment, but Arlan Hahkala preferred to take the optimistic approach.

“We were able to concentrate more on teaching the kids that we had,” said Hahkala, who had six teens attend a snowboarding workshop he organized Sunday afternoon at the Fort Frances Gymnastics Academy.

“We put on a fairly intense program, and testing how they would work with a new gymnastics coach [Mirel Bica of the Visserettes],” he noted. “It worked beautifully.”

A series of snowboarding workshops were held at the club three years ago, but haven’t taken place since. Hahkala said he had received enough feedback that he felt now was the appropriate time to restart the program.

“The program is also geared towards anyone interested in diving or similar airborne disciplines,” said Hahkala.

Those attending Sunday’s workshop had ample opportunity to perfect new flips, turns, and spins on the facility’s main trampoline that mirror the stunts being tried by today’s snowboarding enthusiasts.

Michelle Cournoyer and Jill Howarth, members of the Fort Frances Trampoline Club, were brought in by Hahkala to help teach basics like spatial awareness when in the air and proper body rotation.

“A workshop like this is nice because a lot of times, they’re doing stuff while snowboarding that’s wrong that they’re not even aware of,” said Cournoyer.

“But it’s got to the point where too many snowboarders have become so independent, they would rather try and learn the tricks on their own,” she added.

Pat McCarthy, 15, has been snowboarding for five years. He agreed with the workshop’s idea of practising difficult tricks in a safe environment.

“It’s better to learn in here on the trampoline then out on the hill on the snow and ice and break your back,” he remarked.

Tyson Kadikoff, 15, said the safety factor can get lost on powder daredevils in the pursuit of increasingly outrageous air achievements.

“When you get better, you naturally want to try tougher jumps,” said Kadikoff, who has been cutting grooves on the hill since he was 12.

“You want to go higher in the air. But then, you have to think that you’re going to get hurt more easily, too.”

Hahkala said another workshop will happen, possibly in the next two weeks. For more info, contact him at 274-8653.

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