USASA SPOTLIGHT: THE PEPPER FAMILY

Created: 06 July 2020

Meet the Southwest Series’ Pepper Family. Parents Billy and Jenna along with Porter, 14 (Breaker Snowboarder), and Ry, 11 (Menehune Snowboarder), Delmar, 7 (Ruggie Freeskier) relaxing after a big day at Nationals 2019.

Five years ago, Billy and Jenna Pepper along with their three young boys lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and started a USASA journey that would change their lives. Their oldest son, Porter who was nine at the time, fell in love with snowboarding and after spending two years shuttling the whole family the three hours from Albuquerque to New Mexico resorts Billy and Jenna decided it was time for a change. “Competing at USASA events was such a fun way to spend the weekend, we totally reshaped our lives around it and being in the mountains,” Billy said.

The Peppers now live in the northern New Mexico mountain town of Angel Fire and can squeak in close to 100 days on snow a year. While their weekends are still intense with 6 am competition day wake up calls and nerves for Porter, Ry, and Delmar they wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

In their five years as a USASA family, The Peppers have seen their children grow in new ways both on and off the hill. They’ve watched Porter, their shyest child come out of his shell with confidence and skills brought about by the weekends spent competing at USASA, “just being around people and competing really opened him up and now at school, he’s president of the student council.” Billy said,  “USASA helped him develop confidence, not only in the competitive realm but in his academics and with making friends in a new town.”

Ry Pepper sending it at the Southwest Series Rail Jam.

They’ve also seen Delmar, their youngest, overcome the nerves and fear of competition day as he transitioned from sideline sibling fan to ecstatic competitor. And all of three of them have benefited from the lessons of winning and losing, “I feel like losing is a good thing,” Jenna said, “It’s good to know you can still be awesome and not win, I think the organization does a good job of fostering that. Letting them know it’s not about winning, and giving kids a healthy way to push their own limits.” Jenna continued, “The part where the kids are scared to do something, or they’re nervous and they get through it. Those experiences you can’t force, and USASA really helps that happen on a safe level.”


The Pepper boys taking full advantage of The Barn at Woodward Copper. Porter, Ry and Delmar.

When it comes to the best part of their USASA experience, hands down it’s the community and series directors, Tony and Tiffany Hinojosa, “The Southwest Freeride Series is a family in itself and the Hinojosa’s are the most incredible series directors. The community is so supportive, from the old guys all the way down to the Ruggies, high fives all around and the parents all hike up to the event to cheer everyone on, it’s such a fun way to spend the weekend.”

But if you ask the kids what their favorite part is, well, that’s easy, the bib draw raffle at the end of the events. Because let’s be real, who doesn’t like some free stuff after a fun day of competing with your friends?

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