Knowledge is king for the snowboarding Chambers |

Knowledge is king for the snowboarding Chambers

SUMMIT COUNTY – Drew Chambers knows too much.

What is a broken ankle to most people is a fractured talus bone to Chambers. What most people call a knee surgery, Chambers terms a miniscectomy.

So, unlike some snowboard competitors who rush back from injury, this Summit Countian can’t fool himself. He’s a certified athletic trainer, and he knows every bone, ligament and muscle his body.

When he broke his ankle last December, his professional knowledge of rehabilitation helped him get back on snow and into the boardercross start gate by February.

“I knew I needed to get back to a certain level,” Chambers said. “Somebody else is more apt to put off rehab and not do what they need to do when they’re at home. I know that I need to do it, so I actually work that much harder. I know if I don’t have my full range of motion, I’m not going to be able to ride as well, whereas somebody else might be like, “I can get away with it.'”

Chambers has spent most of his life on a board. Chronologically, it was skate, surf, then snow. He grew up skating and surfing in Virginia before getting hooked on snowboarding as a junior in high school. He moved to Snowshoe, W. Va., after high school as a precursor to his move to the mountains of Colorado. Since he arrived in Summit County in 1993, it’s been all snowboarding.

“It’s faster; you can go bigger,” Chambers said, comparing snowboarding to surfing. “I got on a snowboard and everything kind of clicked. It came to me quick. I felt like I needed to go and progress and wanted to do things better and push my abilities.”

His competitive career started in the halfpipe, moved to slopestyle and is currently entrenched in boardercross. The climax of his career (so far) was winning the Copper Series for his age in 2001 and going on to place fifth at the United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) Nationals. He was 14th the following year, and last year, his injury prevented him from making the cut for the event.

Aside from snowboarding, Chambers works as an athletic trainer for Avalanche Physical Therapy. Much of his time is spent at Summit High School, helping its injured athletes get back to action as quickly as possible. In the process, he’s become a fan.

“I do get attached,” Chambers said. “And I definitely cheer for them. You want to see them do well. You might not see every athlete that’s on each team, but you’ll see enough of them to get to know them as a person.”

Chambers also sees a lot of injured snowboarders, and he’s decided, at 30 years old, his days of getting inverted off kickers or in the halfpipe are coming to an end.

“I think you basically have to have a screw loose to ride like people ride nowadays,” Chambers said. “It’s just getting so out of hand. It’s getting so burly that in order to become a big name in freestyle, you have to be a nut, pretty much, and I’m getting older.”

The desire to avoid the pounding – and a lot depends on how his broken ankle continues to heal – may lead Chambers back to surfing. He leaves this month for California, where he’ll spend the entire summer near the water.

“I miss it,” he said. “Every time I’ve surfed the past couple years I’ve just gotten more and more re-attached … but I’ll never stop snowboarding. I don’t foresee myself every getting off my board.”

The Sports People series will focus on active Summit Countians every Tuesday in the Summit Daily.

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