Flow Snowboarding team athletes Lydia & Freddy Silber with Sophia Capua
Flow Snowboarding team athletes Freddy and Lydia Silber grew up in a family that has been living and breathing snowboarding since the 1980’s. Their father Jay Silber explains their family’s love of snowboarding was a joy that was passed on from his father after his visit to Winter Park, Colorado from Missouri.
My dad first came out to Winter Park in 1987 to visit his sister, Freddy and Lydia’s great aunt. He saw a few people snowboarding at the resort and realized it was the greatest thing ever. He was an athletic guy and at the time was in his late 40’s. He went into the rental shop at the hotel where his sister was working at and bought a Burton Elite 150 and never skied again. It is still a family heirloom that hangs in Freddy’s room. My aunt overheard the rental shop kids talking and laughing about the old geezer who bought a snowboard from them that morning. She came home from work that night, told my dad about the geezer comment and they had a huge laugh.
My dad had so much fun learning to snowboard and brought me out my senior year in high school on a snowboard trip. He bought me a Kemper Freestyler as an early graduation present (our second family heirloom, hanging in our garage). I was hooked after that trip. I only had thoughts of moving to the mountains as soon as possible. It took me another four years to make the move to Winter Park permanently.
Did you ever ski before snowboarding?
Yes. My dad’s youngest sister was a ski instructor here in Winter Park in the mid 70’s at a ski area called Ski Idlewild. It has since closed, but was the quintessential old school ski area from the 1950’s. Two slow motion 2 seater chairlifts and one modest lodge. She taught me to ski there when I was 4 and then I progressed and moved up to skiing at Winter Park. Apparently I was straight lining every run and scaring the shit out of my dad. So maybe I never really learned to ski.
How old were you when you started snowboarding?
I taught myself to snowboard at 16 years old in Missouri at an area called Snow Creek. It was 1987 and I had only seen pictures of people snowboarding in ads run in my favorite BMX magazine at the time. I had never seen anyone actually doing it. It just looked so freaking cool from the pictures. Snow Creek is a jenky place, but they have 2 lifts. Coincidentally one is an old one from Winter Park. I learned on a borrowed snowboard. It was a piece of crap. No edges at all, made out of plastic. I was wearing moon boots and jeans. A total gaper without a clue. I think I sprained both ankles that day because of the moon boots. But I had the best day of my life and began to think about moving to the mountains.
Jay Silber getting some fresh tracks at Winter Park Resort, CO
What year did you move to Colorado?
In 1993 the soon to be Mrs. Silber and I moved here from Kansas City, MO. Snowboarding and mountain biking were the main reasons for the move. Living in a laid back environment was another reason.
How old was Freddy when he started snowboarding?
Both kids learned to ski first, because they were in daycare at the time. The daycare would teach the kids to ski once they were 2 years old and potty trained. They were both 2-1/2 years old when they learned to ski. Freddy switched to boarding when he was 4. It was difficult, because he was too young for snowboard school lessons so I spent an entire season with him between my knees. It took 5 months of riding every weekend before he made his first turn on his own, but we were having the time of our lives together.
Those were days I would take again in a second… good times.
He had the smallest board at the time, which was still too big. His boots were also too big, so we stuffed them with newspapers to make them fit better. Kids bindings at the time for someone so small, were almost non-existent. We found the smallest ones at the shop and the shop guys let me cut them up and re-build the straps so they fit him.
Honestly, the first bindings that we found to work great for a kid were the Flow Snowboarding bindings. Once we got the Flows, snowboarding became really fun. That was how he came to be on the Flow team, because he loved the bindings. When it came time to send in a “sponsor me video,” Flow was the first company on his list.
Freddy Silber floating his Canvas ABT snowboard over the powder.
How old was Lydia when she first kicked into her snowboard?
Lydia was six when she learned to snowboard. I was bummed she wanted to quit skiing because she was so good at it. But she was carving on her board within 45 minutes of strapping in, so we didn’t suffer any kind of a set back with her. Now everyone in the family was sliding sideways. It was good.
How long did you have Freddy & Lydia in ski school lessons?
I realized after that first year with Freddy hanging onto my knees that we needed some professional help teaching the kids how to really ride, so it was good to move them into a program. They did each spend about four seasons in the Winter Park Ski and Ride School before we moved them onto the Winter Park Snowboard Team, where they continue to train. They loved it and it is where they both really got the foundation of skill that they are using these days. They learned to ride switch in Ride School. A lot of switch. A lot of riding trees and all mountain. It has paid off huge for both of them in their competitions. It was during these years at Winter Park Ride School that Freddy began to gain attention locally. At the suggestion of one of the local shop guys, Freddy began to compete and do pretty well. Those four seasons entailed 3 days a week of instruction.
How did you know Freddy and Lydia had what it took to take their riding to the next level?
Some parents set out with a goal to create super kid athletes. That never occurred to me when they started skiing and riding. It was just going to be fun and then it all mushroomed to some degree. I knew they were taking it to the next level when they both were competing at the regional USASA level and doing well; placing in the top five. Freddy was the one who heard about the USASA competitions from his skier friend Birk Irving, who is now on the US Junior Olympic Team. I was clueless to it all, I just wanted to snowboard with my kids when it all began.
How did you guys get involved with Flow Snowboarding?
Freddy was 9 years old and had been snowboarding for about five years, only competing for the past couple. He had been pestering me for the previous two years to make a “sponsor me video” and send it in to some companies to see if they would sponsor him. I pretty much ignored or blew that off for as long as I could. I was thinking, who in the world is going to sponsor a kid? I had a hunch that it was possible and maybe I wasn’t ready for that.
Freddy was ready and he let me know. He came into the house one late summer day and asked me for the hundredth time if I had made his sponsor me video yet. I said, “No.”
He looked at me and said in the most sincere tone… “Dad, You’re holding me back!”
I made that video the next day. I can truthfully say, it was Freddy who started it all. My wife and I have just been along for the ride to support our kids as best we can.
Lydia Silber with a method
Any advice to parents out there that are looking to elevate their child’s riding abilities?
Be patient. Enjoy the process. Some years will be far from great. Injuries will happen. Patience and unconditional support, regardless of contest results are the main things. People get too focused on what place their kid comes in. That’s not fair for the kid, judging is subjective and can easily dismantle a kid’s confidence. I would also suggest finding a quality coached program near where they live. I would say it is next to impossible to compete beyond the local level without some type of professional coaching these days.
Which resorts are your home resorts?
Winter Park is homebase, where we ride the most. Then Copper Mountain, Breckenridge and Steamboat.
What are your plans for the Silber family this winter? Do you have any ski trips coming up?
No ski trips planned other than traveling around Colorado for the kids’ competitions. I hope to take the kids down south to Silverton, CO someday for some serious riding outside of the park. Freddy loves big mountain free riding more than anything. He would eat it up down there. Both kids absolutely love riding powder. So anytime we can get some, it’s like being on vacation even though we are home. Nationals is coming up too, so we will be there in April. Luckily it’s at Copper Mountain, so we don’t have to travel far.
Anything you would like to say to the Flow customers or those reading this blog?
To the customers I would say congratulations for supporting a company that is totally dedicated to snowboarders. Flow is a unique brand and a unique blend of people making it happen. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re lucky enough that it’s for you, then you’re quite lucky. I know my kids have certainly been lucky and they work hard to represent the brand in the best way. Thanks to everyone at Flow, past and present, for their support of Freddy and Lydia.
There have been a few generations that have handed down snowboarding since its inception. Who was the first person to influence you to kick into a snowboard and slide down the snow? We here at Flow Snowboarding want to hear your story? Engage with us on Social Media. Post the videos, tag us and use the hashtags #FindYourFlow & #FlowSnowboarding
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