Sisters give snowboarding stereotype the cold shoulder

UNITED COLOURS: For the 2011-12 Association of Ontario Snowboarders season Claire, left, will be joining her older sister Maddie at national meets. The two are following the same path to the Olympics as snowboarder Michael Lambert.

Etobicoke’s Maddie and Claire Radvanyi shred packed powder for both school and country

On a brilliant sunny day Maddie and sister Claire Radvanyi are busy packing their mom’s Explorer to ship off for snowboarding.

They’re caught up in a weekend filled with more packed powder than one could find at Whistler-Blackcombe.

The two teens are from a sporting world that goes unnoticed, especially in an urban environment nestled in the crook of Lake Ontario.

Still, Maddie wants to dispel any stigmas associated with the sport she loves best.

“Most of the snowboarders you hear of are the ones who do pipe like Shaun White and you don’t really hear about the races,” she said. “When people watch the Olympics and see the racing part they see there’s more to snowboarding than just going off jumps.”

Vancouver helped raise awareness to snowboard racing and not just the halfpipe.

“Having Canadians race at the Olympics and having them do well like Jasey-Jay Anderson was really good for the snowboard community,” she said.

The national races do keep the Radvanyi sisters out of school, but Maddie still finds time to represent Etobicoke School of the Arts.

There is some reticence though, as she missed attending OFSAA at Camp Fortune in Quebec for one of her Fédération Internationale de Ski meets.

“I was kind of sad because the previous year at OFSAA I felt I didn’t do as well,” she said. “I really wanted to go and come in Top 3.”

Coming from an arts school always sparks conversation too.

“It always surprises the people who show up for OFSAA that a person from an arts school can do more than paint or sing or dance,” Radvanyi said.

Maddie certainly bucks the trend as the 16 year old claimed gold at the Mount St. Louis TDSSAA meet. Her two giant slalom times were 29.45 and 28.62.

For her it was the third straight year she dumped the city’s shredders in the snowbanks.

“I love competing,” she said. “How I feel when I’m racing and just the atmosphere of snowboarding.”

It’s that same exhilaration that drew 14 year old sister Claire to the hills at the age of 10.

“I just saw Maddie and our family friend Abigail,” she said. “They were doing lessons and stuff and it kind of looked fun.”

Unfortunately for Claire, her school, Ursula Franklin Academy, does not have a snowboard team. But that doesn’t keep her ripping it up at U.S. nationals.

In a year’s time, Maddie will have a test on her feet, as Claire will be carving her name into AOS meets.

“She will be racing FIS next year which means we’ll be racing against each other,” Maddie said. “I think it will be good. She’s a good racer.”

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