The West Bloomfield High School snowboarding program recently completed its sixth season.

The West Bloomfield High School snowboarding program recently completed its sixth season.

Photo provided by Bill Lambert


Dad helps start snowboarding program at West Bloomfield High

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 7, 2021

 West Bloomfield High School senior snowboarder Cole Caspers finished second at a state meet this past season.

West Bloomfield High School senior snowboarder Cole Caspers finished second at a state meet this past season.

Photo provided by Bill Lambert

 West Bloomfield High School junior Sophia Elsen recently finished seventh at a state meet.

West Bloomfield High School junior Sophia Elsen recently finished seventh at a state meet.

Photo provided by Bill Lambert

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Resident Bill Lambert recently said that the snowboarding program at West Bloomfield High “feels like my baby.”

The program recently completed its sixth season as a sport at the school, and it was Lambert who led the way in getting it started.

Lambert has triplet daughters who were all into snowboarding when they attended West Bloomfield High School.

Their level of interest in the sport was enough to encourage Lambert to approach the school’s athletic director about getting a program started at the school.

His initiative paid off, as the AD gave the go-ahead to have a snowboarding — also known as boardercross — team at West Bloomfield.

The program has been in existence ever since, with both boys and girls a part of it but competing separately.

Lambert said there were 21 students on the most recent team. He is the program’s coach, along with Cody Anderson.

Being a non-mainstream sport can help draw some kids to snowboarding.

“We’re getting nontraditional athletes,” Lambert said. “A lot of these kids don’t do other sports, so it’s a niche.”

One of West Bloomfield’s “non-traditional” athletes is senior Cole Caspers, who became the program’s first all-state snowboarder after he finished second at a state meet Feb. 12.

Lambert said Caspers is “one of the best around.”

Caspers said he started snowboarding when he was about 5 years old.

He has been part of the program since he was a freshman, with snowboarding being the only sport he has taken up at West Bloomfield.

After finding out there was a snowboarding program at the school, he didn’t need to put too much thought into whether or not he wanted to be a part of it.

“There was no hesitation,” Caspers said. “I heard ‘snowboarding,’ I was in. I was very happy to realize that there was a snowboard team at the high school.”

West Bloomfield practices and competes at Alpine Valley in White Lake.

Five snowboarders from various schools race at a time, with the first to the bottom declared the winner.

As for how fast kids can go on a snowboard, Lambert said, “You’re flying (on) that thing.”

“You get to the top of the hill, and it’s insane to look down (at) what these kids do,” Lambert said. “There’s all kinds of hills and valleys, and five people rushing out at the same time. … You have to be crazy and fearless to do that.”

Races turning into crash scenes is not an unusual sight at snowboarding events.

“I know it’s morbid, but the crashes are spectacular,” Lambert said.

The niche aspect of the sport can help create unique bonds among teammates.

“They are so tight,” Lambert said. “I had a parent drop her kid off and she said to me, ‘I hope he gets friends.’ Now he’s so popular. … They’re bonded.”

Caspers said the team is like a family.

“I know everybody on a personal level, and it’s really cool,” he said. “Some sports, you won’t even talk to half the team. … I really like the community sense of the boardercross team.”

On the girls side at the state meet, sophomore Audrey Phipps finished sixth, with her teammate, junior Sophia Elsen, taking seventh.

Elsen said she switched from skiing to snowboarding in middle school and joined West Bloomfield’s program as a freshman.

She said, “I think it’s cool that it’s a more unique sport.”

“It’s a pretty small team,” Elsen said. “We’re a close-knit team. Everybody knows everybody on the team.”

Despite his daughters’ interest in snowboarding being Lambert’s initial motivation for wanting to start a team at West Bloomfield, he has remained part of the program since their graduation.

“I did it for my kids,” Lambert said. “But I’m still doing it because it’s kind (of) fun. … We started this thing, so it’s gratifying.”

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