SUN VALLEY • With a fluid style and flare as he soars 10 feet in the air, Chase Josey is one Sun Valley snowboarder making a name for himself in the halfpipe.
The just-turned-17-year-old has torn up the snowboarding circuit in the States and now has an international competition under his belt as well.
Josey, a junior at the Community School in Sun Valley, was the top American in snowboard halfpipe at the Junior World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain, last week, placing fourth in his first international competition.
“I didn’t know what I would get into. It’s really been a blast. It’s surprisingly a big mountain and the snow has been good. It’s a beautiful place,” said Josey, who celebrated his 17th birthday last Saturday in Granada, Spain. “I’ve been to Europe before, but never for competition like this, so it’s been a really good experience.”
First in his heat and tied for second overall with 85 points after qualifying rounds, Josey led a group of four Americans into the finals.
He fell on his first run, but Josey regained his composure and landed a front 9, back 9, front 10, cab 7, air to fakie on his second run to score 79 points – one point out of third place.
“Well in my first run I was really nervous, so I tried to calm myself down before my final run,” Josey said. “I knew coming in that I had a chance (to medal), but that I had to land it. I felt pretty good about the run. I wanted to podium, but finishing fourth is pretty cool.”
So is being the top American, he said, as the next best Yank finished 11th.
“That’s really cool. There are so many great riders here and to be the top American is a good feeling,” said Josey, who competed against riders as old as 21.
Josey has been snowboarding “for about 12 years now,” he said, growing up shredding his home mountains, Bald and Dollar, in Sun Valley.
He’s a member of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, which trains athletes as young as seven to ski moguls and snowboard halfpipe and terrain parks.
Josey is one of about 100 SVSEF members, some of whom competed in United States of America Snowboarding Association events around the country. This season, they traveled to Jackson Hole, Wyo., Brighton and Park City, Utah and Tahoe, Calif., and this week Josey and 14 other teammates are in Copper Mountain, Colo., for USASA nationals.
“I’ve kind of been competing and traveling for a while now,” said Josey, who rode in Argentina this summer. “That was really cool and a lot of fun on some huge mountains.”
This year was the first time Josey qualified for international competition, however, and he traveled to Granada with SVSEF snowboarding director, Andy Gilbert.
“It’s pretty awesome riding with all these guys around the world. Everyone is really cool,” said Josey, who finished behind competitors from Slovenia, the Netherlands and Russia. “Anyone that has gotten here obviously has a passion for the sport. We all love it.”
Josey cites professional boarder Danny Davidson as one of his favorites, and said when he rides, he tries to “create his own style and be as fluid as possible.”
Already the recipient of one sponsor, Josey hopes to attain more as he improves his skill and moves up the snowboarding ladder in hopes of someday competing on a national and international stage as large as the X-Games.
“Yeah I’d love to do this as long as I can and the X-Games would be pretty cool,” Josey said. “Snowboarding is hard to explain. It really is a rush. It’s such a good feeling to be flying through the air.”