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Brother, sister score in Italy

Steve Benson
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Only 16 snowboarders from around the country were selected to join the United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) All American Team earlier this month in their journey to Italy for the Junior World Championships.

Two of those selected were siblings Jordan and Teddy Karlinski, students at Aspen High and members of the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club (AVSC).

And the Karlinskis did not disappoint, taking home medals in every event they entered to fuel the USASA’s victory in the “Trofeo Topolino” ” a sort of mini Olympics for junior competitors.

Jordan, a 14-year-old freshman, won silver in boardercross and bronze in the halfpipe. Her brother, Teddy, 15 years old and a sophomore, won bronze in boardercross. He did not compete in halfpipe. Boardercross and halfpipe were the only two events offered.

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“It was an awesome experience,” Jordan said.

“It was pretty cool to think I was representing the United States over there,” Teddy said. “I’ve never traveled overseas for a competition before.”

The Karlinskis and their teammates went toe to toe with competitors from 20 different countries, and accounted for three of the USASA’s 10 medals in the games (out of a possible 24 medals).

Miah Wheeler, the head coach of AVSC’s snowboard freestyle team, was not surprised by the Karlinskis’ performance.

“The thing with those guys is they’re going to rise to that level, whether they’re here or in Italy,” Wheeler said. “They’re totally relaxed, it’s what gets them so far. They know what they have to do and they do it ” they don’t let anything effect them.”

Both were brought up in AVSC’s recreation and development programs.

Their mom, Suzy Karlinski, said she was contacted by Jessica Zalusky, the USASA’s team manager, in late January. Although Zalusky had never met the siblings, she had heard of them.

“They were offered spots and we said, ‘Yes, that would be great, what an opportunity,'” Suzy said.

While Jordan is 16 months younger than her brother, she has always been right in the mix and has never backed down from the boys, or anything for that matter.

“We joke because Jordy is just a really, really good rider, and when we buddy up on powder days, I never have to worry about her,” Wheeler said. “She’s not a tomboy, but she hangs out with the guys a lot and she compares herself to the guys ” it makes her push her limits.”

Suzy said it’s always been like that.

“They feed off each other,” she said. “Jordan’s performance and abilities have gone up from working out all week with the guys ” it’s really pushed her to develop her skills.”

Jordan has her reasons for riding with the boys.

“When I’m riding with the girls I don’t learn and push myself as hard as the guys push themselves,” she said.

Plus, her big brother is always right there for her.

“He’s a really cool kid,” Wheeler said. “He seems a lot older than he is and he’s pretty intelligent. He understands how his actions will effect him down the road and that’s huge for a kid who’s only 15.”

Suzy feels that’s due in large part to AVSC.

“I can’t say enough about AVSC and the coaches over there and the examples they set for their kids,” Suzy said. “It’s such a fine program, we’re lucky.”

Wheeler said when he and the other coaches at AVSC work with their students, the emphasis is not solely on physical development.

“It’s not just competing,” he said. “We try to instill core values ” commitment, discipline, and teamwork ” and when they follow those rules, it makes them better athletes. It has a huge impact on what we do.”

Said Teddy: “All the coaches over there are awesome, they’re just really supportive.”

Both of the Karlinskis, as well as numerous other AVSC riders, will be heading down to New Mexico this weekend to compete in the USASA Nationals. The All American Team victory will also be celebrated with the presentation of the international trophy.

[Steve Benson’s e-mail address is sbenson@aspentimes.com]


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