USASA SPOTLIGHT: THE OWENS FAMILY

Created: 14 July 2020

The Owens Family celebrating the finish of the 2020 Southern Vermont Series Season at Okemo (pictured from left to right, Maggie, Leslie, Amy, Kevin, Harrison). 

Fourteen-year-old Maggie Owens’s homework assignment was simple, make a video about something you’re passionate about and explain what it means to you. The Fairfield, CT native immediately thought about the weekends she spent competing at USASA, “I wanted the video to show what I love about my winters in Vermont with my family and how much I love competing every weekend with my snowboard friends” Maggie said as she set out to capture what she and her twin sister Leslie experience as part of the competitive and tight-knit Breaker Girls snowboard division in the Southern Vermont Series. 

“Competing helps our friendships grow, we really need to help each other a lot and not just be competitive, but encouraging.” Maggie said, “I like how close all the competitors are and how close-knit and friendly we all are, hyping each other up before races and getting excited for each other after,” twin sister Leslie continued. 


Southern Vermont Series Squad 2020 -Maggie, Brianna Schnorrbush, Annie Gabriele, Leslie

The Owens sisters are part of a fiercely supportive and competitive group of up and coming riders out of the Southern Vermont Series, including their younger brother Harrison and cousins Katie and Annie Gabriele and Brea Church. On any given comp day you can find the pack of them along with other SVS friends cheering each other on, hyping each other up, and when eleven-year-old Harrison was in his Ruggie days you’d see this gang of girls pushing him into the start gate.

Olympic silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis inspiring the Owens family at her 2016 CB SBX event at Stratton Mountain, VT. 

As Stratton Mountain, VT weekend locals the Owens girls have had the opportunity to get some Olympic inspiration and encouragement from Southern Vermont Series Director, Ross Powers, who won an Olympic gold medal in 2002, as well as Olympic silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis who grew up riding at Stratton. In February 2015, Lindsey Jacobellis hosted a girls-only SBX event at Stratton with her clothing sponsor CB aimed at giving young girls an opportunity to have fun with boardercross. This event sparked a love of SBX and competing for both the Owens girls. After that event, they were hooked. “Hearing Lindsey’s story was really fun, she signed my board and I got to ride the lift up with her and was super inspired,” Maggie said. This inspiration turned to passion and soon after, parents Amy and Kevin Owens found themselves positioned at the top and bottom of USASA SBX courses cheering on Maggie, Lesley, and Harrison as the three became an integral part of the USASA Southern Vermont Series community. “Without fail at the end of each medal ceremony and raffle, each of them comes to shake my hand and say thank you. They are three of the most kind and polite kids I have met!” Paul Kelly, Southern Vermont Series Director said of the Owens siblings.


Harrison getting a little support from his dad Kevin.

The four-hour weekly road schlep from Connecticut to Vermont is a mission but like all shred family weekend warriors, Kevin and Amy appreciate the journey. “I treasure those weekends, even though the drive is a grind, it’s exactly where we all want to be,” Amy said, “Through USASA our kids have grown with confidence, putting themselves out there more and more, trying new things, and overcoming the mental struggles as they work to burst out of the middle pack.” The Southern Vermont Series Breaker Girls snowboard division is stacked with over 25 competitors. Making it one of the most competitive groups and regions in the country.

“Some days are better than others but they have learned how to champion their friends while understanding their own limitations. It takes such courage to high five your friends while they just beat you.” Amy is continually impressed by the way her kids have thrived in an environment that supports competition and good citizenship giving Paul Kelley big props, “Paul runs such an amazing program, he makes it all about comradery and friendship and competition. Our series is really tough, with so much to manage and he does it with grace.”

The bonds of friendship formed on winter weekends competing in the Southern Vermont Series have carried over into the offseason as well, Harrison skateboards with a friend he met at USASA who unbeknownst to him lives just down the street in Connecticut and The LoPresti family has made the trek from New Jersey to Fairfield for some summertime fun with both USASA families. 

While Maggie, Leslie, and Harrison all felt the pain of missing out on USASA National Championship, 2020 was set to be their first,  they’re all equally excited for 2021 Nationals and a chance to make more friends and maybe even another video project for Maggie. And as for a grade on her video homework project, USASA is giving it an A+.

 
Maggie's video project captures the spirit of USASA and the Southern Vermont Series perfectly, don't ya think? 

All photos courtesy of the Owens family 

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