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      Learning an Olympic sport: snowboard cross

      Snowboard Cross is a winter sport, described as a full on demolition derby down a mountain where anything can happen.

      I've been snowboarding since I was a teenager, so I decided to head to Ski Brule to learn more about snowboard cross from Yooper Olympian, Nick Baumgartner.

      It made its Olympic debut in 2006, and Baumgartner believes everyone should have their eye on it. "It's fairly new, but the one thing about it is, there's no politics, there's no judging. It's a very simple thing to get."

      The premise of the sport is that six guys start at the top of the mountain, chaos occurs the whole way down, but the first one to the bottom wins. The safest way and the best way to win is to get out in front of people right from start, stay out in front, and then stay away from the rest of the madness that can happen behind you.

      Snowboard cross courses are rigorous, filled with jumps, dips, sharp turns, and uneven terrain. The skills that go into being a successful snowboard crosser are difficult to master. The magic lies within the turning techniques. It's important to ride on the edge of the board to keep up your speed.

      With all the excitement surrounding the Olympics and snowboard cross, I asked Nick if he could teach me how to land a jump. He said it's crucial to keep your weight over both feet as you approach the jump. Then, you have to bend your knees to absorb the jump once you land.

      Easier said than done! I fell twice before I applied a key piece of advice Nick gave me: don't lean back. With that in mind...I finally landed the jump and felt a great sense of accomplishment.