WESTPORT, Conn. -- Westport snowboarder Julia Marino spent much of the past two months in search of snow. She found it hard to come by in Canada and Utah.
Now, the 17-year-old member of the U.S. Snowboarding Slopestyle rookie team heads into the heart of her season.
Marino will compete in the U.S. Sprint Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain in California next week. She will also compete in Park City, Utah, beginning Feb. 23.
She has competed twice this season, including at the World Championships in Austria in January. Given her infrequent riding time this winter, her 19th place finish out of 31 contestants was encouraging. The field included many riders from past Winter Olympics.
Earlier in December, Marino finished fourth at the U.S. Revolution Tour event at Cooper Mountain in Colorado.
Marino planned to work with her coach, Max Henault, at a private mountain north of Montreal.
“She was going to go over Christmas for 10 days,’’ said her father, John. “There’s a rope tow and she could’ve made 4,000 runs. He said, 'Don’t come up, there’s no snow here.'”
Marino traveled to Utah in search of snow but found conditions lacking there as well. She finally got on the mountain in Breckenridge in Colorado.
“It was booked solid,’’ John Marino said. “We stayed with friends, and she got about 200 runs in instead of 4,000.”
After the event in Austria, Marino returned to Canada to work with Henault in preparation for the February events.
Marino was named to the U.S. Snowboarding team in May, and in August was featured in a “Play Positive” article by Liberty Insurance. She was also featured in a video on Transworld Snowboarding last year.
“My dad says for me to just remember what I do and remember the skills I possess,'' Julia said in the article. "He tells me to go out and do the best I can and to make the most of the experience and to most importantly have fun! My mom (Elaine) says to me to try my best, have fun and carpe diem!”
Marino, who finished ranked 19th in the world at the end of last year, is hoping to qualify for the U.S. Open in March.
“It’s been a little frustrating,’’ John Marino said. “But she’s looking forward to these next two events and hopefully she’ll get to the U.S. Open.”
Readers can follow Marino’s progress through her Facebook page. Julia also posts frequently on Instagram at _juliamarino.
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