Teen athlete: Chris Stingle, snowboarder
Chris Stingle, a junior at Duluth East high school, has taken snowboarding to the next level. Last year he took seventh place at the USA Snowboarding Association (USASA) national competition in Copper Mountain, Colo.
"Out of the nation, 60 qualify," Stingle said. "That was a blast because I've never been to Colorado before, and to compete one day and just ride the rest was a lot of fun."
After he started skiing at Chester Bowl around kindergarten, Stingle progressed to snowboarding in second grade and has called Spirit Mountain home ever since.
"Their jumps are pretty nice, some of them are really big and you can do a lot of cool stuff off them," Stingle said. "I haven't totally maxed out the jumps there yet, I just landed a double backflip."
Mastering the double backflip is a big deal for Stingle, as it is the only trick to date that has seriously injured him in his snowboarding career.
"Last year I tried a double backflip and I landed on my collarbone and broke it," Stingle said. "It was the fifth or fourth time I tried it."
Fear of injury doesn't deter Stingle from advancing his snowboarding skills. Matt Porter, a sophomore at East, has been snowboarding with Chris for years.
"Snowboarding with Chris is always fun because he's constantly pushing to try new tricks, which keeps the fun going," Porter said.
Riding with friends is one of Stingle's favorite parts about snowboarding.
"Getting a bunch of buddies up there and pushing yourselves is the way you progress," Stingle said. "Just having a whole bunch of friends and kind of one-upping everybody."
When he's not messing around with friends, Stingle is practicing with his coach, Jonathan Schmidt. Schmidt has been coaching Stingle for four years.
"After coaching Chris for such a long time I couldn't ask for a better rider," Schmidt said. "He has grown so much in the time I have known him in all aspects of his life. His passion for snowboarding is just pure and flawless."
Schmidt coaches Stingle through the G Team, an independent coaching company.
"G Team aims to help kids who have already learned to snowboard become better snowboarders," Schmidt said. "We basically try to help all of our riders ride to the maximum level of riding that they would like to achieve and are capable of achieving."
For his regional competitions, Stingle travels to hills around the Twin Cities area after practicing with G Team and getting his tricks down.
"I have six USASA competitions the whole year," Stingle said. "You take two runs down and you just try to land all your tricks on your runs, pretty much what you see in the X Games."
Schmidt sees big things in Stingle's future on the national scene. Stingle is already sponsored by Ski Hut, a local ski, snowboard and biking supply store.
"He is becoming a nationally recognized rider and is helping push snowboarding in our area to its limits," Schmidt said.
Solveig Rennan is a junior at East High School and interned for the Budgeteer in 2014. If you have an idea for a teen athlete profile, email firstname.lastname@example.org.