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A Politicking, Locally Invested Pro Snowboarder:

X Gamer Chas Guldemond
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RENO/TAHOE X GAMES ATHLETES

Chas Guldemond, Reno — Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle

Danny Davis, Truckee — Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe

Jamie Anderson, South Lake Tahoe — Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle

Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe — Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe

Hannah Teter, South Lake Tahoe — Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe

Nick Visconti, Reno — Snowboard Street

Shaun Palmer, South Lake Tahoe — Men’s Snowboarder X

Nate Holland, North Tahoe — Men’s Snowboarder X

Pat Holland, North Tahoe — Men’s Snowboarder X

Jayson Hale, Sierraville — Men’s Snowboarder X

David Wise, Reno — Men’s Ski Halfpipe

Errol Kerr, Truckee — Men’s Skier X

SPORTS SPOTLIGHT

I wouldn’t dare tell you who to root for in the Super Bowl unless 'Da Bears' were vying for the title, but the Winter X Games are another story. Will you know the local skiers and snowboarders to watch for when the X Games return to your flat screen on Jan. 26 to 29?

Turns out there are a dozen Tahoe athletes competing in the 2012 Winter X Games, most of whom are veterans like boardercross racer Nate Holland and skiercross racer Erroll Kerr. Another local veteran competing in the men’s snowboard slopestyle contest is Northstar team rider Chas Guldemond. It will be Guldemond’s sixth X Games appearance, and as usual, he will be gunning for gold. He placed first in slopestyle at the 2011 European X Games and owns a bronze from the 2010 U.S. X Games.

I’ll be rooting for Guldemond at the X Games for more reasons than his local address, however. In the last year Guldemond has made several serious moves in both the world of professional snowboard politics and the Truckee business landscape that deserve utmost respect. This 24-year-old is not just the best freestyle snowboarder in Tahoe, he’s an international ambassador and a local shop owner.

In March 2011, Guldemond and a group of the world’s most talented competitive snowboarders started a rider’s union called We Are Snowboarding. WAS, as it’s known, is a direct response to the dissatisfaction competitors felt toward the increasingly jumbled pro contest circuit and specifically the International Olympic Commitee’s proposed qualification process for the 2014 Winter Olympics — the first year snowboard slopestyle will be an official event.

'Over the past couple seasons I have been frustrated with how professional snowboard contests are run. Riders have not had a voice or any input on the contest scene,' said Guldemond. 'We started WAS to make sure athletes are taken care of and to make sure the future of competitive snowboarding is what we want, not something we can’t recognize.'

As the current president of WAS, Guldemond has been involved in talks between the top officials at the two major international contest series: the snowboarder-run Ticket to Ride tour (TTR) and the International Olympic Commitee’s darling, the International Ski Federation (FIS) tour. WAS’s position is that the TTR, not the ski-based FIS, should run the qualification process for snowboard events at the Olympics. In November 2011, the FIS turned down that proposal.

'Even though they turned down our proposal no final decisions have been made. We still have room for progress,' said Guldemond. 'The fact that the FIS has even begun to open up to us is a start. It’s not a closed door anymore.'

On top of battling evil European ski officials over the qualification process, Guldemond was invited to start training to bring home Olympic gold in 2014. He is one of four athletes on the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Slopestyle team.

'Joining the U.S. slopestyle team has been a really good thing,' said Guldemond. 'Over the summer they developed a training program for me that has helped prioritize what I really need to work on, and having a coach on the hill gives me an extra push to practice harder.'

Training took up much of Guldemond’s past summer, but he made the most of his time around town. In yet another big move, Guldemond and his wife, Drea, bought the well-established Urban Angels salon located on Jibboom Street in Downtown Truckee.

'Throughout my entire career I’ve had my wife, Drea, steering me in the right direction. She’s made a lot of sacrifices for me,' said Guldemond. 'So we were looking for an investment that she could run that would work well with our lifestyle. Urban Angels has been the perfect fit. It’s the best salon in Truckee with a really cool vibe and stylists who are great at what they do.'

Don’t expect to get a haircut or highlights from the pro snowboarder, but Guldemond does lend a hand at the salon.

'I’ve helped out when I can,'' he said. 'I built some custom shelves and did some re-organizing, but the place is running really smooth thanks to Drea. I’m really proud of her; she’s been doing a great job.'

If you don’t see Guldemond at Urban Angels, look out for him and his soaring double rodeo flips in the Winter X Games men’s snowboard slopestyle contest airing Jan. 27 and 28 on ESPN. For more info on WAS, visit wearesnowboarding.com.

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February 14, 2019