FRISCO, Colo. (KDVR) — Nichole Mason has come full circle. She grew up snowboarding as a teenager with Team Summit at Copper Mountain Resort. Now, the 32-year-old is back growing the sport in her old stomping grounds.
“There’s something very special about (Summit) County, the people that live (here) and the support it provides,” Mason said.
Coaching snowboarders took Mason to new heights as a member of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team. She became the first woman to win International Coach of the Year in 2020 but admitted her experience working with athletes at that level was a little like Groundhog Day.
“It’s almost the same thing. Like, you get kids that are really, really good already. And all you have to do is fine-tune them,” recalled Mason.
Mason decided to return to her old stomping grounds to start One Team, a training program designed to help up-and-coming snowboarders succeed in the sport.
“I like to go through the struggles and see the ups and downs of them getting that ‘breakthrough moment’ or that ‘lightbulb moment’ where things just finally click,” Mason said.
How does one go from coaching elite-level athletes on the National Team to working with kids at the grassroots level? Mason said she wanted to give back to the sport and to local kids.
“It really allows me more freedom for passion projects,” Mason said. “(I have) the ability to give back to kids that might not have those same opportunities.”
In just two years, Mason already has two athletes competing at the World Cup level. With a little luck, her program will take off.