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As a professional snowboard coach for the last two decades, Ian Kirk brings snowboard wisdom to the next generation of park shredders at his program based in Summit County, Colorado, Kirk’s Camp. With a philosophy that promotes a love of snowboarding – and ensures that the kids he coaches have fun while working toward their goal – Kirk fosters stoke and pushes the boundaries of the next wave of young competitive snowboarders.
Now, he has his sights set on the Olympic stage for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. Linking up with his good friend and mentor, legendary snowboard coach Bud Keene, Kirk will be the assistant slopestyle coach for the Chinese National Team.
“[Keen] is widely known as the most accomplished snowboard coach in the world,” says Kirk. “Bud had been hired by the Chinese team as their head slopestyle coach, and he was looking for an assistant. So, [to get] the opportunity to work with him and end up at the Olympics, I was very honored.”
Now, he’s bringing his ideas about the sport to China’s up-and-coming riders.
“Snowboarding is what you want it to be,” says Kirk. “The judging is going to be part of it, but don’t let their ideas affect your ideas. This sport is evolving, and it’s the riders that make it evolve. If you follow the herd, it doesn’t really represent the spirit of the sport to me.”
Time will tell if Kirk and Keene’s approach will land their team on the podium, but Keene, for one, has been here before.
“I always say that I have no idea what I’m looking for in a champion … but I’ll know it when I see it,” says Keene.
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