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Riding the rails – like few others

The walls stand 17 feet tall, and extend 500 feet in length. It’s like looking down a giant ice tunnel. The fear and intimidation the half pipe at Okemo puts into most mountain goers is just another run through the park for Castleton student Maggie Seiple.

Okemo Ski Resort sits right next door to Maggie’s home in Ludlow, where she has been shredding the powder for the past 10 years.

She had been raised on skis until seventh grade, until she strapped on a snowboard. Her first year on a board she began to ride the half pipe and after only four years of riding, the sponsorship call was sent her way.

She was working at a ski company called Joe Jones when the opportunity arose. The owner worked for Roxy, a women’s clothing and snowboarding company, and was seeking out female riders.

Seiple pulled off tricks riding a rail as an unconventional audition. Christopher’s Bar, a local business in Ludlow, has also played a part in Seiple’s sponsorship.

Okemo and Christopher’s pay for all the competitions she participates in. Although Roxy doesn’t finance any competitions, company officials do spread her name on the circuit and supply her with gear.

After a phenomenal winter last year, Seiple has been struck with the hardships of injury. On a trip out west this past Christmas break, she hurt her neck overshooting a jump. She rested up for a few weeks, and then broke her wrist in Okemo’s half pipe.

“It has felt like a throw-away year so far,” she said. “The injuries have set me back, and it’s been frustrating.”

Although the bright pink cast covering her wrist prevents her from daily routines, it does not keep her from riding. Seiple still has nationals to look forward to in the beginning of April.

Last year she tore up nationals in the 18-22 year old class, nabbing second place. She will however, be competing in an open class this year.

“My focus for next year is to do the same competitions, stay healthy, and hopefully make the U.S. Open,” she said.