Cam Poklop Snowboards His Way to the Olympics

Yiyi Chen and Anya Cunningham

Cam Poklop, a junior at CRLS, does competitive snowboarding and is hoping to make the Olympics.


Register Forum: When did you start snowboarding?

Cam Poklop: I started snowboarding when I was like three or four; my mom put me on the snow at a young age because she was a ski instructor.


RF: How often did you snowboard each year?

CP: I try to go as much as I can. Every season, I [go] on weekends for like eight hours—Saturday and Sunday.


RF: So your mom taught you?

CP: Well, my mom introduced me to skiing and snowboarding. I started off as a skier with my mom and I found a snowboard, and—me and my little ski boots—I strapped in and started going down the hill, and then my mom saw me. All of her instructor friends were like, “You should switch him to a snowboarder,” so that’s how I started snowboarding.


RF: And you did a semester school?

CP: Yeah, I went to this school called KMS, Killington Mountain School. … I went for like ten weeks, didn’t like it, and I came back to Rindge.


RF: What about the Olympics? What’s your goal?

CP: So my end goal … is to make the Olympics—hopefully do good in the Olympics. The one I’m aiming for is in 2022 for boardercross, which is like snowboard racing down the track with a bunch of people; [it’s] kind of crazy.


RF: And how on track are you for that goal?

CP: I have pretty good chances. Currently, I am first in the US for sixteen and seventeen year-olds. Then, later in the season, I have these things called NorAms, which are like FIS [International Ski Federation] races, which is right below. How it goes is there’s this thing called USASA, which is like [beginner] level. And then Rev Tour, which is intermediate, and then NorAms, which is advanced, World Cup, which is Olympic level, and then the Olympics. So I’m at NorAms right now; I’m working my way up.


RF: Have you found that your passion for snowboarding has influenced any other part of your life?

CP: Yeah, I think about snowboarding all the time. I’ve made a lot of decisions based on snowboarding. Like, working out can benefit snowboarding, not doing substances will benefit snowboarding.


RF: How have you balanced your academic life and your snowboarding career?

CP: I try to do my homework right when I get home so I have time to workout in the afternoon, or the other way around: workout right after school, and then homework. On the weekends I usually go snowboarding in the morning, leave at like 6:50 AM, and come back at like 4 or 5 PM, and do homework when I get home.


RF: Where do you usually go to snowboard?

CP: I was at Killington for a little bit, which is really nice—I love Killington. But my home mountain where it started was Wachusett Mountain in Western Massachusetts. Yeah, but I go all around like Colorado, Canada, Oregon, Vermont, New Hampshire, [and] Maine.


RF: How have you done in past competitions?

CP: Currently I am four for four in gold medals right now, so that’s good. I got fifth last year at Nationals which I’m really mad about, because throughout the whole day I was doing amazing and then I had this semi-final curse. I always fall at my semi-finals; I don’t know why.


RF: Is there a favorite trick or jump that you like to do?

CP: My favorite trick is… hmm… cork 720 or just flat 1080.


This piece also appears in our February 2019 print edition.