Snowherds

Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.

By: Paul Stoller

On February 20th and 21st, Gilman juniors Ethan and Christian Coherd traveled to the Czech Republic to represent the United States in the 2017 USSA Junior World Championship.

The Coherd twins were flown to the Czech Republic in February in order to snowboard for Team USA in the event held on the 20th and the 21st. Ethan competed in both the Giant Slalom and Slalom events while Christian competed in the Slalom. When asked about the experience, Ethan described it as “...a position like I’ve never experienced before. I just had those butterflies in my stomach the whole trip. I just couldn’t believe how far I’d come.”

For the Coherds, this life-changing experience came as a result of years of hard work. Ethan and Christian both hit the slopes when they were around four. Christian was the first to start snowboarding, while Ethan started out with skiing. Around the time when he turned 10 years old, Ethan decided that he wanted to switch to snowboarding. “I just enjoyed it more,” he explained, “I enjoyed watching it more.” After the Coherds turned 11, they joined Slalom Race Cup, where they have been competing since.

For the Coherd brothers, training occurs seven days a week: “When you’re on the snow, it’s about four days a week -- Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday for four hours. The rest is just outside training and the weight room.” The Coherds make the hour and a half drive to Ski Roundtop near Lewisberry, Pennsylvania four times a week in order to snowboard. On top of that, they spend a large portion of their time at Camelback in Bethlehem.

Balancing school work with their athletic commitments often brings significant challenge for the Coherds. When asked how they cope with the large workload from school and the roughly 40 hours a week dedicated to training, Ethan described the plan that he and his brother use in order to stay caught up. “Me and my brother just take turns driving, and while the other one’s driving, we get to do our homework. Basically, that’s how we survive.”

Missing school days to make time for snowboarding has also had an effect on their Gilman experience. Ethan remarked, “I feel like we don’t get as much time outside of class with the students.” Christian added, “I never realized how many days we missed, it really sneaks up on you.” Both Ethan and Christian are forced to miss winter athletics, and on Mondays and Wednesdays, they leave to train immediately after classes end. Though sometimes left wishing for more time to hang out with friends, the end result of their hard work is well worth it. This past summer, USSA, a USA Olympic-sanctioned organization, invited both of the Coherd brothers to their “Project Gold Camp.” They were flown out to Mount Hood, Oregon and trained daily for roughly a week, but this was only the beginning of their experience.

Ethan’s and Christian’s goals don’t end with the Junior World Championship. Though they didn’t place as high as they’d hoped, they didn’t let this diminish their aspirations. Ethan said that he has “...big hopes from there. Hopefully, from here on out, it’s winning Nor-Ams [North American Cup] and getting onto the Adult World Cup circuit.”

Moving forward, the Coherd’s have their sights set on the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, and wish to keep snowboarding and training in order to compete there.