The Jib Factor

By Beacon Staff

When flagging interest threatened to terminate both of Whitefish Mountain Resort’s freestyle and snowboard teams, long-time freestyle coach Steve Knox invented a solution. Last year, he combined the two teams and refocused the coaching instruction targeting what lots of the kids on the mountain were doing—jibbing in the park.

“Were all about jibbing,” he says. The combined approach worked, attracting 33 kids into the program to learn jumps, ride rails, and master tricks. “The kids won hundreds of dollars, half a dozen snowboards, and half a dozen pairs of skis at local events,” adds Knox. Two even won medals at a national competition.

The unique program attracted 8- to 18-year-olds to train with coaches one day per week. It proved so successful that this year Knox is offering a two-day and four-day program as well. His cross-discipline coaching staff includes both skiers and snowboarders: Andrew Johnson, Erik Johnson, Jay Dobbins and newcomer Kyle Duty.

Combining the disciplines of skiing and snowboarding is a novel approach. Last year, participation split almost even for each. But according to Knox, the combination works well. “You’re taking the kids out to do something they really like to do. Of course, most of them are already friends anyway,” he explains. “It’s just super fun, and the days go by so fast.”

The team trains in the Fishbowl Terrain Park, on the Jump Hill–named Knox’s Landing after Coach Knox, and all over the mountain on powder days. The team also competes in freestyle events, including the 11 that Whitefish Mountain Resort will be hosting this season.

For newcomers, Knox will be holding an informational meeting and orientation on Thursday, Nov. 20, 6 – 8 p.m. at the Whitefish Library. Some of last year’s team members will be on hand to answer questions.

For more information, Knox can be contacted directly by emailing freestyle@skiwhitefish.com. Call 406-862-2909 or check Whitefish Mountain Resort for program prices, details, and registration information.

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