More Snowsport Gold For Skiers & Boarders That Learned Skills on Dry Slopes

The ever-growing list of athletes around the world who either learned or perfected their skills on dry slopes has grown further with skier Lauren Harder and snowboarder Emory Orlando who train on  the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre in Virginia, USA, winning golds at the United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships in Lake Placid, New York state in March.

The members of Liberty University’s ski and snowboard team had its most successful showing at the championships with Orlando earned golds in both the Slopestyle and Rail Jam events, and Harder leading the women’s skiers to a  1-2-3 sweep in Rail Jam. Josie Rich took silver and Isabella Tinney  bronze. Orlando and Harder led the women’s ski and snowboard team to an impressive four national titles, in rail jam and slopestyle events for both disciplines.

“Just watching Lauren ski throughout the year, she is very fearless and has been able to progress very quickly,” Head Coach Isaac Gibson commented, adding “She’s just so courageous in doing new tricks on the rails and on the jumps has always gone far bigger than the others. Emory’s the same way, never afraid to go really big, and that’s a huge separation factor that judges look at in Slopestyle — the amplitude of jumps, which is able to give them an edge on the rest of the field.”

For Liberty’s gold medalists, the year-round Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre was a factor in helping them rise above any fears and master some new skills in their sport.

“Emory and Lauren have quite similar backgrounds,” Gibson said. “Orlando pretty much came in with zero freestyle experience. Everything she’s learned has been on Snowflex and the last couple seasons on snow. Lauren grew up going out to Colorado to ski (downhill), and it wasn’t until she came to Liberty that she started freestyle skiing, which is pretty common among our student-athletes.”

Equipped with an aerial awareness trampoline and Bag Jump air bag, Snowflex provides a training ground with safety nets for skiers and snowboarders with little to no freestyle experience to fine-tune their stunts and tricks and progress rapidly in the sport.

Orlando is pursuing a B.S. in Business Administration: Green and Sustainable Management and wants to stay in the snowboard industry and use her degrees to further conservation, as she has through the Protect Our Winters (POW) movement.

The athletes join a long list of snowsports successes from around the world who learned their skills on dry slopes including Great Britain’s only World Cup winner Dave Ryding who won the Hahnenkamm slalom last winter and Chinese American 2022 Winter Olympics star Eileen Gu.