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Cover story | Jackson Collings & Jesse Kennedy
TWO HIGHLANDS TEENAGERS are tackling a sport against the odds and
coming up trumps. Jackson Collings and Jesse Kennedy are among an
elite group of leading young snowboarders in Australia.
It is a skill they have developed despite living almost 400 kilometers from
the nearest snow elds. And it is a sport they both hope to pursue to a high
In fact, the talented teens are part of a team of four young Aussie
snowboarders who will head to Frisco, Colorado, this month to hone their skills
on the United States snow elds.
The Rhythm Snowboard Team will spend 10 weeks training at various ski
resorts with support from their Australian coach Justin "Grover" Graves. Graves is
a coach with the Perisher Mountain Winter Sports Club.
As far as 17 yr old Jackson is concerned, the US training trip is the next step in
his e orts to become a successful professional snowboarder.
He said he had traveled to the NSW snow elds, including Perisher, since he
was eight years old. "My family originally went to the snow for about a week
each year," he said.
"I became interested in snowboarding when I was about 12 when my
family started spending the winter season in Jindabyne. "I joined the
Perisher Mountain Sports Winter Club where I trained, rst as a junior
and then worked through to an advanced level."
Jesse, 16, said his interest in snowboarding was inspired by his
older brother Jakob about ve years ago. "We used to go to the
snow (in NSW) each year for a family holiday and that's when
my brother got me into snowboarding," he said.
"I found I loved the sport and decided it was what I
wanted to do seriously. My family now spends the
winter living in the snow and I'm home-schooled so
that I can train and compete."
While the two teenagers have only limited time
in the snow each year they have both achieved
impressive results in competition. Jackson has been
competing in Australia for the past three years and
internationally for a year.
He placed rst in his age division in this year's
Thredbo Big Air Final and rst in the Perisher
Junior Free Ride Series Slope Style, as well as several
international competition placings.
Jesse has been equally successful with a rst in his age
division in the 2008 Perisher Big Air Competition and a second and
third in this year's contest as well as a strong nish in the open section of
the 2009 Thredbo Invitational Rail Night Jam. >
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