Peak Performers nominee: Chad Otterstrom, snowboarding |

Peak Performers nominee: Chad Otterstrom, snowboarding

A former competitive snowboarder, Chad Otterstrom now prefers to spend his time riding in the backcountry.
Courtesy Celia Miller

Editor’s note: Readers nominated their all-time favorite Summit County athletes for Peak Performers: The Mount Rushmore of Summit County athletes. Voting begins Feb. 23 at

Nominee: Chad Otterstrom
Sport: Snowboarding

In a county where talented snowboarders often spend time — pay their dues before leaving for other mountain-town destinations — Breckenridge local Chad Otterstrom has stuck around and evolved from X Games competitor to backcountry riding savant to do-it-all elder statesman of the Summit County snowboarding community.

The Minnesota native has been a mainstay at Breckenridge and Woodward Copper parks for more than two decades, as his contest success has included everything from United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association national slopestyle champion in 1995 to U.S. Grand Prix titles to several top-10 finishes at X Games slopestyle comps.

But it’s outside of contests where Otterstrom might have his most influence on snowboarding, especially here in Summit County. To this day, he rides the most aggressive big-mountain lines around, and he takes pride in being able to freeride them with a park-like approach. An owner of Academy Snowboard Co., Otterstrom rides lines on daunting local mountains like Crystal Peak in the Tenmile-Mosquito Range on his special “The Graduate” splitboard snowboard, built by Never Summer. And it was video from his epic line last spring down the iconic 14er Pyramid Peak outside of Aspen that inspired many a Summit boarder to continue to pursue their biggest snowboard dreams.

Back on the resort, Otterstrom is a mainstay in the international snowboarding community whether it be serving as a judge at the world’s biggest contests to mentoring in the park many a Summit local, like Deaflympian Lauren Weibert.

Despite a lifetime of success, including Transworld Snowboarding’s 2005 Rider of the Year award, you can still find Otterstrom most days on a chairlift at any Summit County ski area, where he makes it a point to try for first chair each season at places like Breck or Arapahoe Basin Ski Area with a gang of local friends.

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