Truros Zack Francis off to national snowboarding competition
Hobby to passion
TRURO - What started as a hobby for Zack Francis has become something a little more.
The 17-year-old Truro resident started snowboardcross racing three years ago after seeing an event while snowboarding at Ski Wentworth.
Now he's off to his first Canadian Snowboard Federation national snowboardcross championship in Cypress Mountain, B.C., April 2 to 5.
"I didn't really think I'd go to nationals with boardercross," Francis said thinking back to his start in the sport. "I just thought I'd do it for fun but it's progressed to a bit more."
Snowboardcross, or boardercross, is a competition in which a group of racers (usually four) start together at the top of an inclined course and attempt to reach the end of the course first. The courses include banked turns, jumps and rollers.
The top two racers advance to the next heat.
Francis earned the right to represent the province at the event by taking the Nova Scotia Snowboard Association snowboardcross points championship after four events this winter. He finished the season with 82 points, two ahead of the second place rider.
"I just worked hard and things came together," he said.
Not bad for someone in their first season racing in the Open men (20 years and over) division. But it hasn't hurt that Francis has been on the snow for 60 days this winter, recently returning from a six-day trip to Quebec.
Francis said he'll use this experience to get a feel for the level of competition and the larger courses in the west.
He'll be up against racers who have qualified for the Olympics and the courses are twice as long as the ones he's used to here. Tracks in the Maritimes typically take 30 seconds to complete, but some are up to a minute long at larger mountains.
"I'm not sure what to expect so I don't know if I can set a reasonable goal for myself," Francis said. "Hopefully I can finish in the better half in my groups."
Despite the unknowns, Francis said he's not nervous about competing.
"I'm going to be up against the best in the country and I'm not sure what to expect but being nervous won't get me anywhere."
One thing Francis does know is he'll have to be at the top of his game as snowboardcross requires riders to be sharp in all aspects of snowboarding. But that's why he enjoys the sport.
"You're racing downhill against the clock and against three other people," he said. "And it combines a lot of different aspects of snowboarding."
Francis is looking for financial support to attend the event. He can be reached at 893-3251.