Beauchemin making name on slopes
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
Wyoming County Press Examiner
Eric Beauchemin of Lake Winola is following his dreams and making a name for himself in professional snowboarding.
Beauchemin has been impressing judges and electrifying crowds competing in professional slopestyle snowboarding events around the world.
Some of his stops this winter include Switzerland, Finland and Austria among others.
On Jan. 10, Beauchemin competed in the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix Open Copper Mountain in Colorado.
He finished 18th overall out of 118 competitors in the Olympic qualifier,
“It’s good that I finished in the top 18 at the qualifier,” Beachemin said. “Because it keeps me in the running for a spot in the Olympics.”
Beauchemin, 21, looks to be a part of the first U.S. slopestyle team as the sport is introduced at 2014 Olympic games in Sochi, Russia.
Among some of his other accomplishments were fourth place finishes in the World Snowboarding Championships and the Burton Canadian Open, along with a first place finish at the O’Neill Pleasure Jam.
Beauchemin got his start in snowboarding at a young age when his cousin introduced him to the sport at age 12 at Elk Mountain in Union Dale.
From there, he was hooked.
Beauchemin was born in Harrisburg and lived in Pennsylvania until his family moved to Michigan, where he continued to snowboard.
Beauchemin then competed in his first competition in Lake Tahoe, Calif., when he was 15, where he took third place.
After that, Beauchemin got a call from Stratton Mountain School in Vermont, and enrolled there in his sophomore year.
Beauchemin continued to hone his snowboarding skills at the school, before graduating in 2010.
While Beauchemin spends a great deal of his time traveling around the world to snowboard, when he has time off he comes to Wyoming County to visit his family.
His father, David, mother Wendy, and brother, Brian, currently reside in Lake Winola.
Brian is the varsity quarterback for Tunkhannock Area High School.
“Whenever I go home, I go to the lake,” Beauchemin said. “I spend a good deal of time in the area.”
However, Beauchemin said his free time is limited because he spends the majority of the year competing.
“Pretty much mid-December through mid-March I’m traveling to competitions,” Beauchemin said.
After the season ends he usually travels out to Mammoth Mountain in California to ride and will sometimes make a stop at Mt. Hood in Oregon in the summer.
With all the travel involved in the sport, Beauchemin relies heavily on sponsorships to afford competing.
He is currently sponsored by DC Shoe Company, Boa Technology, United States of America Snowboarding Association, and has received grant money from the Level Field Fund, which helps young athletes follow their dreams.
“The Level Field Fund has helped me out for the last three years,” Beauchemin said. “I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without them.”
He said that DC Shoes supplies him with products and pays for his flights while Boa Technology provides him funding.
While Beauchemin is trained in all facets of snowboarding, he focuses his attention on slopestyle snowboarding.
Slopestyle focuses on a course featuring three jumps and a few rails set up in different configurations at each mountain.
The rider puts together a run down the course featuring different tricks, and is then judged by a panel.
“I really enjoy slopestyle because I can get creative,” Beauchemin said. “You really don’t know the course going into it.”
With the 2014 Olympics on the horizon, Beauchemin said he will be focusing his attention on making the team.
“One of my main goals is to make the Olympic team,” Beauchemin said. “But also doing well at every event I compete in, and just making it in professional snowboarding.”
Beauchemin acknowledges that is order to be successful in the sport, there are several hurdles he needs to overcome.
“Staying healthy is really important,” Beauchemin said. “And I just need to keep progressing and taking it really seriously.”
He said he devotes himself full time to the sport, and trains every day.