Hurtling forward and turning quickly back and forth, carving lines into the glimmering fresh white snow, sending showers of powder behind him, he snowboards down a steep slope. The landscape of Sugar Bowl rests in front of him, trees covered in snow on the slopes and mountains in his view. He moves on forward, landing jumps and twisting between trees.
Senior Aidan Nabavi has been snowboarding since he was nine years old, and is currently Sugar Bowl Resort’s youngest snowboard instructor. He teaches lessons every weekend, twice a day.
Before switching to snowboarding, Nabavi used to be a skier.
“The snow is a ton of fun and Tahoe is a great place to be, but skiing didn’t really interest me that much,” Nabavi said.
The first time Nabavi went snowboarding, he had planned to go skiing but just decided to try out snowboarding instead.
“It didn’t click, like at all,” Nabavi said. “In fact I kind of hated it, really. It was just really painful; I kept falling over and then none of it was really that fun.”
A turning point in his interest in snowboarding was the seventh grade ski trip, when he was first able to snowboard with his friends.
“I finally got the click of it,” Nabavi said.
Before becoming a snowboarding instructor, Nabavi was on the Sugar Bowl snowboarding team for two years, after being spotted by the coach while snowboarding one day. He was invited to become an instructor for this year.
Nabavi has done every single run at Sugar Bowl except the Palisades.
“My favorite thing to do is find a good roller in the powder, and just send it off that and get like 30-40 feet of air; just go for it,” Nabavi said. “Throw a 360 or something.”
As an instructor, Nabavi instructs all levels, including advanced. Most of the lessons he instructs are called “never-evers” (a person who has never-ever snowboarded before).
“Most of my “never-ever” lessons start with me showing them the snowboard and all its different parts,” Nabavi said. “I then show them how to ride it and how to use the bindings. After that, I get them practiced for riding the chairlift by having them work on stopping with one foot strapped in and describing the basics of riding the chair. Then we go up the chairlift, and I describe how to strap in the other foot, then work on making turns onto their heels, called a heelside turn. We usually work on heelside turns for the majority of the lesson, so that by the end, they can safely turn and stop.”
From the people he instructs, the kids learn the fastest, Nabavi said. Most kids taking the lessons started out skiing and are now trying out snowboarding, and when they first start the lesson, would rather go home or go skiing.
“Usually most of my lessons start out with [the little kids] crying or hitting the ground or getting really frustrated because they can’t stand up on their snowboard or they can’t make a turn, but by the end of it they are usually pretty stoked because they are about to get a hot chocolate because their mom promised them if they learned how to snowboard, they could get a hot chocolate,” Nabavi said. “That actually happens really often.”
Senior Peter Wrensen, who has been friends with Nabavi since the fourth grade, was mentored by Nabavi in an informal snowboarding lesson for one day.
“He basically re-taught me the fundamentals of what I used to know,” Wrensen said. “He was a really good teacher just because he was so advanced and knew Sugar Bowl so well.”
Another hobby of Nabavi’s is trampolining, Wrensen said. Nabavi has a membership to the trampoline park right next to Sugar Bowl, as well as one at his own home.
“He jumps on his trampoline a lot to practice snowboarding tricks and flips and stuff like that,” friend, senior Grady Wetherbee said.
Wrensen and Nabavi used to trampoline at Nabavi’s house almost everyday after school before an injury prevented Wrensen from continuing, Wrensen said.
“He is really enthusiastic about doing different things all the time,” Wetherbee said. “Whether it’s screwing around on his trampoline or learning how to skateboard. He’s gotten really into longboarding, too.”
Nabavi is passionate about mostly outdoor and physical activities, Wetherbee said.
“My motivation to go snowboarding has changed over the years,” Nabavi said. “When I first started it was all about, ‘I want to learn this; this is cool; I want to know how to ride down a mountain,’ and then I started to get into it and I was like, ‘Oh wow this is fun,’ it’s just a really fun activity overall, and now it’s gotten to the point where it’s part of what I do.”
Nabavi applied to colleges that have an easy access to snow and mountains.
“I want to find a good college, but I also want to find good snow,” Nabavi said.
Nabavi remains open to the prospect of being a snowboarding instructor for his career. Snowboarding is very important to him, and he hopes to continue to pursue this interest in his future.
“I get paid to go snowboarding,” Nabavi said. “That’s just an awesome gig to have.”