Dhawornvej siblings shine on their snowboards for Team Summit
Krista Dhawornvej sees her son, Caleb, and daughter, Lily, compete each and every day, long before the two Team Summit snowboarders showcase their riding skills at Copper Mountain Resort.
“Sometimes, it’s as simple as who can get out the door first,” Krista said.
Once on snow, Caleb, 13, and Lily, 11, are two of Team Summit’s brightest young riders in the club’s academy program. While Caleb is pushing his boundaries by competing on the USA Snowboard and Freeski Association Futures Tour, Lily is right there in his tracks as his biggest fan and a young talent of her own.
Krista said her brother, Tim, a former snowboard instructor at Copper, brought his niece and nephew out on the hill, and the duo showed they were naturals from the start.
Team Summit academy program head coaches Josh and Mandy Underwood said Caleb is a hard worker who brings a quiet, deliberate approach to his slopestyle and snowboardcross disciplines, which the coaches said certainly isn’t lacking for speed. Lily is the extrovert who will make the rest of the group laugh with her high energy and penchant to drop in at a moment’s notice.
This season, each sibling excelled on the slopestyle and snowboardcross regional circuits, winning season-opening slopestyle contests at Copper on Jan. 27. From there, each sibling routinely appeared on slopestyle and snowboardcross podiums, culminating with each taking second place at the USASA slopestyle finale at Copper on Wednesday.
On March 19, Caleb got the chance to compete in his first Futures Tour event, finishing in sixth in slopestyle. Caleb said the opportunity gave him a chance to see how higher-level riders approach bigger rail tricks. Caleb said he also got the chance to work on some bigger tricks on bigger jumps, such as switch (opposite foot forward) 900- and 1080-degree rotations to his snowboard’s back side.
Josh Underwood said Caleb is incredibly consistent with his competition riding, always managing to land a run. At Futures Tour, the coach said Caleb’s score was the best of any Team Summit rider in attendance.
Caleb said despite that focus to be consistent, he’s always looking around for ways to push himself, especially from older riders.
“I know a lot of the times with my teammates, I’ll see someone do something, and I want to try that,” Caleb said. “I know my friends on the team will always end up pushing me past the limits I think I can go. And I feel the same with Lily.”
Mandy Underwood said the ever-energetic Lily is particularly adept at spinning in all four directions on a snowboard as well as riding and landing switch. And Lily’s ambition to continue to learn and stomp bigger and bolder tricks has led her to learn a backflip. Lily also podiumed in the halfpipe this season.
“And she absolutely annihilated at the boardercross contests,” Mandy Underwood said. “There was no competition to catch her. The Dhawornvejs are just a fast group of kids.”
The Team Summit coaches, athletes and Krista joked that their speed comes from Krista’s constant waxing of Caleb and Lily’s boards. But the mother’s commitment to her kids and the Team Summit program overall, Josh Underwood said, is a testament to the family’s preparation to be the best they can be as a group and individually for each rider.
Lily’s snowboarding dreams include competing at the Olympics and X Games and getting a slopestyle gold medal at one of those competitions, as the 11-year-old looks up to American legend Jamie Anderson’s style and success. Caleb said he would love to compete in X Games and film video parts with creative flair. He admires riders like Sage Kotsenburg and also pointed to Californian Dusty Henricksen’s recent street-heavy X Games Real Snow street part and Swede Kevin Backstrom’s side-hit-laden X Games Real Snow part as videos he appreciated.
Both athletes thanked Woodward Copper and Copper for hosting training and competitions in recent months while the Underwoods said an overall season would not have been possible this winter without the resort.
With the contests now over, Krista is excited to be able to watch her kids compete again next season after not getting the chance this winter.
“And I can’t wait to see Lily’s backflip,” she said. “I haven’t seen it this year due to COVID.”
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