A Passion for Snowboarding Brings Chicago Native to the Auraria Campus


Posted Sun, May 11, 2014

“My absolute favorite thing about snowboarding is the pre-game." -- Rob Mitch Powers

“My absolute favorite thing about snowboarding is the pregame.” — Rob Mitch Powers

DENVER — Rob Mitch Powers, a sophomore at the University of Colorado Denver and Head of Public Relations for the Auraria Ski and Ride Club, has already made it up to the mountains to ride about 40 times this season.

“My absolute favorite thing about snowboarding is the pregame,” Power says. “When I say the pre-game, some think of shot-gunning their brews… in my case, I love the night before a day on the hill. It’s that ‘tummy filled of butterflies’ anticipation. What tricks am I going to put down? Did I make a solid playlist for the day? Should I wax my board?”

Powers mother’s commitment to taking him on trips to the USASA’s (United States of America Snowboard Association) National competition at Copper Mountain every spring when he was growing up made Powers fall in love with Colorado and “it’s atmosphere, lively people and world class snowboarding.”

Powers was raised on the Northside of Chicago, and was first introduced to snowboarding by some older boys in his community, through the Boy Scouts of America. Camping trips throughout the Midwest brought him to Cascade Mountain in Southern Wisconsin, where he first strapped into a snowboard at about 11 years of age.

Citing a local hill that was only a 10 minute drive from his home, called Raging Buffalo Snowboard Park, as a location where he was welcomed with open arms, Powers says there he experienced, “plenty of accomplishments and just as many injuries.”

Spending time with friends on the snow lead Powers to gain interest in competition. At first, he wasn’t excited about the prospect. All of his experiences with other sports such as football, wrestling and martial arts had exposed him to the commitment competition required.

“After watching some friends who did compete throw down,” Powers says. “I knew I had to get involved. I wanted to stunt like those guys.”

When Powers was 14 and a freshman in high school, he entered in his first competition. Powers skill set grew to include impressive tricks like a Cab 720, or switch front side 720 degree spin in the half pipe.

“I remember feeling so good after landing it!,” Powers says.

Powers did decide to put a halt to competing after the 2011-2012 winter season to focus on school and pursue a degree, which he said was heartbreaking. But he’d like to get back into competing soon.

“There (are) still some medals I’d like to snatch!,” Power says.

Currently dual-majoring in Business Management, as well as Marketing at the University of Colorado Denver, Powers loves to spend in the park — especially at Keystone’s Area 51 and Breckenridge’s half pipe. After college, Powers goal is to get into the business of action sports. He would love to take on a marketing position for a company like Burton Snowboards or Lib Technologies.

“When I first started taking snowboarding seriously,” Powers says, “it did not really occur to me I was the only black kid on the hill. It took me a few years to realize a role I could potentially play… I would love to start an organization getting minorities to their local snowboard park. It’s a shame there (are) so many kids missing out on the fun.”


About Shaun Kramer

Shaun Kramer is a Denver-area photographer and writer.

View all posts by Shaun Kramer

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