Junior Kaya Luong speeds down the steep slopes of Mountain High, preparing for a jump as the crowd of snowboarders admires her stunt. Luong has been snowboarding for four years, beginning during her eighth grade for herself and her family.
Because Luong’s father would take her to the mountains at a very young age, her father became her inspiration, Luong goes to the mountains often with not only her father but the entire family.
“My dad was a skater and he picked up snowboarding a while back with his brothers,” Luong said. “When I was old enough to go [snowboarding] more often, [my family and I] really picked it up and continued the tradition of going every year.”
With the sudden rushes of adrenaline and thrill of the ride, Luong has fun going down the sharp but smooth inclines of the mountainside. Zooming past the pristine white covered fir, her family can all experience an exhilarating feeling.
“I love snowboarding,” Luong said. “I plan to go every year no matter what, even though my dad is getting a little old for it. There’s nothing like the thrill of speeding down a slope, leaning into the wind, surrounded by beautiful white snow and nature.”
Despite the general risks of snowboarding, Luong believes snowboarding is more than just a sport. Snowboarding is her form of self-gratification because she has been teaching herself. It is also a way for Luong to have fun and destress.
“It’s really nerve-wracking going almost more than 20 miles per hour off a ramp,” Luong said. “However, it’s one of the most inspiring feelings to have and it makes me feel like I can accomplish anything if I put myself to it, mentally and physically.”
Luong hopes to inspire others to snowboard and participate in other sports. She hopes to tell a message with her actions, make others aware of physical activity and live an active lifestyle.
“I can bring awareness to how human physical and mental health can be a huge factor in developing a person’s self-esteem and health choices,” Luong said. “It helps to learn independence and appreciation of the natural part of being human.”
As Luong grows from the experience of snowboarding, she plans to continue snowboarding for the rest of her life, hoping to spread the message of the importance of spending time with her family.
“At home, we’re always swamped with work or playing video games,” Luong said. “It’s a way to spend time together. At least my family still makes the time. I know a lot of families don’t, so I’m grateful.”