The Homeward Bound terrain park is being renamed Robbins Nest to recognize the contributions of Okemos first Snowboarding Program Director Gordon Robbins.
Learn more about our Undergraduate Graduate and Online Continuing Education programs at CHAMPLAIN.EDU continued on page 49 okemo.com 802-228-1600 page 47 Okemo lost a beloved snowboarding mentor and coach extraordinaire with the passing of Gordon Robbins 73 on February 27 2015.
The world of snow sports also lost one of its leading snowboarding pioneers.
But while he will be deeply missed his legacy lives on in the Okemo Ski Ride School renowned for snowboarding instruction and in the thousands of snowboarders he taught and imbued with a passion for snow.
Gordon contributed to the development of snowboarding instruction both locally and nationally.
He helped our snowboard school become one of the top five in the country noted Marty Harrison Okemo snow-sports school director from 1982 to 2002.Current Ski Ride School Director Chris Saylor said Robbins made a difference by giving many people colleagues friends and students their start in snowboarding calling him a good friend and mentor to all.
A proficient skier Claude got Gordon involved with skiing but when he discovered snowboarding in 1987 he found it more intriguing he said in a 2009 interview.
In those days when snowboarders were primarily young guys Gordon was a white-haired dynamo who set a different tone for the staff than existed at other areas.Along with being more mature he was a very good coach and clinician so our staff had better training than most.When Rob Bevier joined the staff a year after Gordon the two of them developed a snowboard staff that was the envy of the industry.
Gordon understood how the body should move in order to make the hits happen and was an outstanding coach Harrison noted.
It was an exciting time with an attitude of lets try this or that Robbins had recalled praising the mountains commitment to snowboarding which led to nine Okemo snowboarders participating in the 1999 Junior World Championships in Italy.
They took two Golds and a Bronze prompting the German coach to comment Your resort got more medals than my nation Robbins related.
Chrissy Krieg met Robbins when applying for an instructors job.
I was 16 and so shy . . . but Gordon said to hire me.
Gordon and Claude became my rock.
They were there for me since the day I met them.
When I got into snowboard racing and bashing bamboo no breakaway poles then Gordon made me buy the most ridiculous padded pants.
He made me some guards with PVC piping.
He told me Its not how you look its how you ride.
Referencing the large group of former colleagues and students who had gathered to celebrate Robbins life on March 13 Beck observed that Robbins had inspired a shared passion for snow that re-united so many friends.
Gordon A. Robbins was awesome amazing.
He was my mentor the guy who got me to where I am today a ski and snowboard school director.
USASA Executive Director Peter Davis praised Robbins for his long history with the association his willingness to share his expertise and his legacy of having built a strong foundation for the organization.
Robbins also served as chairman of the Snowboard Committee 1993-98 for the American Association of Snowboard Instructors a division of PSIA-E Profes- sional Ski Instructors of America-East and as Technical Director of the United States Open of Snowboarding.Colleague Brian Spear said Robbins developed materials for a snowboard instructional manual established technical and judging criteria for competitions and started a coaching program for USASA which was then universally adopted by USSA.He had vision could spot talent and knew how to get things done.
It was in February 1996 when serving as vice president of the International Snowboarding Federation that Robbins received a frantic call.
Mont Sainte Anne had cancelled a major snowboard World Cup.
It was the second season that snowboarding World Cup competitions were held as sanctioned FIS events.
Robbins convinced Okemo management to host the events.
On March 8 9 and 11 1996 Okemo held a halfpipe competition a dual sla- lom on Bull Run and a GS on Wardance.
It was one of the finest World Cup GS races run that season and the course even had a jump in the middle.
The events went off amazingly well Robbins had related with pride.
To date Okemo is the only Vermont resort to have hosted a World Cup snowboarding competition.
Gordon was instrumental in pulling that off noted Wendy Neal former competitions director.
Honoring His Legacy Gordon Robbins took great joy in sharing his passion for snow and seeing others come to love riding whether recreationally on a competitive level or as a professional instructorcoach.
In recognition of his many contributions to Okemo the Homeward Bound Terrain Park was renamed Robbins Nest in his honor.
That kind of inuence is rare and we are privileged to have known Gordon and to have had him work here noted Okemo owners Tim and Diane Mueller.
Karen Lorentz author of Okemo All Come Home interviewed Gordon in 2009 for a history of snowboarding at Okemo.
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