A snowboarder hailing from Falmouth is going places as a coach.
Sarah Payzant travelled to Fairbanks, Alaska for the 2014 Arctic Winter Games from March 15-22 as a head coach for the Nitehawk Snowboard Club near Grande Prairie, Alberta.
“It was a really good experience to take some beginning competitive level athletes to a big, international competition,” said Payzant, in a phone interview, from her home out west.
Payzant, who started snowboarding at Ski Martock 11 years ago, was selected to lead an all-girls team comprised of athletes between the ages of 14 and 17 in the competition.
Under Payzant’s direction, the team competed in slalom, rail jam and slopestyle events.
Payzant, a former instructor at Ski Martock, says she encouraged the young snowboarders participating in the high-level competition to have fun.
“I tried to just make it a positive learning environment for them.”
Her goal was to ensure nerves did not get the better of the riders, and it would appear her low-stress style of coaching, coupled with dedication from the athletes, worked.
“My girls had a possibility of winning 20 medals and they ended up winning 18,” she said.
Payzant juggles snowboarding work with a full-time job as a technician at a restoration company. She admits her winters can be pretty hectic but says seeing “the smiles on the kids’ faces when they place” makes it all worth it.