CHESHIRE — Caleb Kampf feels comfortable on a mountain.
Only 11 years old, the Norton Elementary School sixth-grader attends at Okemo Mountain School in Ludlow, Vt. from November to April to hone his skills as a snowboarder.
The work on the board has paid off as Kampf traveled to the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association’s national championships at Cooper Mountain in Colorado in late March.
Competing in the 10-11 Menehune Division, Kampf took second in slalom, giant slalom and in boardercross. Kampf also competed in slope style and halfpipe, but did not place in those events.
In the overall standings, he finished third among 72 kids in his division.
“It’s just fun to do,” Caleb said this week. “It’s fun to go with your friends and competing. I love being on top of the mountain. I’ve been doing this since I was 4. My dad taught me.”
Caleb is the son of Lucy and Josh Kampf. The family has lived in Cheshire for seven years.
Caleb said his favorite event is the boardercross, in which four skiers speed down the mountain at the same time.
“He’s made tremendous strides this year,” Okemo Mountain School coach Luke Bonang said. “Fundamentally, he’s very sound and we are very happy with the strides he’s made this year. He works hard and has a drive for racing.”
When in Vermont, Kampf practices with his team on Mount Hood. There are five other Connecticut skiiers on the team.
This was Kampf’s third year of competition.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Lucy Kampf said. “When he gets up there, the only thing I don’t want him to do is fall. The one event that makes me the most nervous is boardercross. If they don’t keep their lines, they can crash into each other.
“But I’m proud of him this year. He’s 11 years old and he made three podiums.”
Either Lucy or Josh are with Caleb throughout his time in Vermont.
“He takes his curriculum from school,” Lucy Kampf said. “We get a lot of time together. He gets up every morning for a warmup in the gym. Then goes to the mountain from 8:30 a.m to 11:30 a.m. Then he goes to school from 12:20 p.m. to 5:40 p.m. Eight blocks of 37-minute classes. He also does conditioning and work on dry land as well as on the trampoline.”
There were around 50 student athletes at the school this year, including 12 snowboarders.
Caleb will be back in Vermont in November, with the next competition coming in January 2020. Kampf’s team competes in the Southern Vermont series. Slalom is his top event.
“What he has done is exceptional. To go to nationals and medal is great. Not many kids in the country can say they did that,” Bonang said. “We are proud of Caleb and everything he did this year. To get three podiums and three medals and third best overall, I’m excited to see what the future has for him.”
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