Shredding gnar in Vancouver

February 12, 2010 - 4:40 am

For years, snowboarders have been misunderstood. '€œYo, bro, let'€™s go shred some gnar.'€ It seems like a different language, doesn'€™t it? But these high-flying athletes have made themselves a nice home during the Winter Olympics. Since 1998, when snowboarding officially became an Olympic sport, the best in the world have been making the crowds '€œooh'€ and '€œahh'€ and made us wonder why their parents would let them attempt some of the crazy stunts that they seem to pull off with ease. In Vancouver 2010, the U.S. Olympic snowboarding team will be heavily stocked with local talent from all over New England. No, New England can'€™t lay claim to the greatest snowboarder in the world -- Shaun White -- but these are some of the local riders who will be putting on a show north of the border. You can see these dare devils rock Cypress Mountain from Feb. 15 to Feb 27. Jonathan Cheever Cheever has an interesting story. He doesn'€™t have the luxury of having sponsors pay for him to sit on the slopes all day and hone his craft. Cheever is a local plumber who has to put in a long days work before he can hit up the slopes. He works with his father and finds side work when he can. Which other Olympic snowboarder has a feature on Cheever is originally from Saugus, Mass., went to Malden Catholic High School and will be competing in the snowboardcross event in Vancouver. Kelly Clark Clark, of Newport, R.I., burst onto the scene in the 2002 Olympics with a gold medal win in the halfpipe competition, she was only 18 years old. This year will be her third Olympic go-around at the ripe old age of 26. She grew up in Vermont and learned to snowboard on Mount Snow before she was 10 years old. Clark is a tough girl. In 2005 she landed wrong on a trick in a halfpipe competition and suffered some serious injuries. Scotty Lago Right behind Shaun White, Lago is a prime-time candidate to grab a gold medal in Vancouver. A native of Seabrook, N.H., the 22-year-old has been a wild man since he was a kid, as his father recalled a story of his son trying jump off the balcony with a sheet, which he called a parachute. You have to be a little crazy to enjoy doing this kind of stuff: Kevin Pearce Pearce was looking like a lock to be on the medal stand, as he defeated Shaun White in an event earlier in the year, but a Dec. 31 accident while he was training left him in critical condition. According to his website, Pearce was attempting a cab double cork, for you non-snowboarders it'€™s a twisting double back flip, and he caught the front of his board on the landing and came crashing down on his head. Pearce will miss the Olympics, and the recovery process is still continuing for the 23-year-old from Vermont. Ross Powers Powers is the elder statesman of the group from New England. Born in 1979, he has at least four years on the rest of the riders on this list. Powers was also one of the top-rated picks in Shaun Paulmer'€™s Pro Snowboarder game for Playstation 2. A connoisseur in the halfpipe competition, Powers '€” a native of Vermont who lists his home as Okemo Mountain '€” is now taking his aim at a medal in the boarder cross competition in Vancouver. Powers captured the first ever medal in the halfpipe competition for the United States, and it will be interesting to see if he can capture that same magic in a new competition. Hannah Teter We have a feeling America is going to fall in love with Teter this Olympics, especially since she can be found in this year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. While she'll make heads turn off the slopes, on it she will be just as mesmerizing. She claimed an Olympic gold medal during the 2006 Olympic Games, and this year decided to donate all of her prize money to help the people in Haiti. The Belmont, Vt., product will no doubt win over fans with her good intentions, good looks and killer abilities on the slopes.