USASA SPOTLIGHT: SNOWBOARD PIONEER DAVE PAULGER

Created: 19 August 2020

The longest-standing New Hampshire Series member, Dave Paulger, sends it in Methuselah Divison slopestyle for the 2019 USASA National Championships in Copper.

Hailing from the White Mountains of New Hampshire, USASA Methuselah, Dave Paulger is a true pioneer of snowboarding. In 1973, when snowboarding wasn’t even a thing, Dave was climbing local hills and riding down them on a Snurfer he bought at the hardware store. Forty-years later you can still find Dave standing sideways as the longest-standing member of the New Hampshire Series bringing his A-game and positive attitude to every weekend event.


The podium that Dave built.

Dave donated the podium upon which the next generation of Olympic contenders climbs upon and relishes in the positive support he gives and receives as part of the tight-knit New Hampshire Series. “Our younger athletes are all appreciative of Dave footing the bill for fresh stacks of stickers or some other swag, but they’re truly inspired by him as the guy in his sixties who still comes out week after week, puts a bib on and then proceeds to hit rails and spin all four ways in the pipe!” New Hampshire Series Director Josh Nicolaisen said as he reflected on a post-event day wood shredding session at Cannon Mountain, “I always appreciate Dave’s enthusiasm, experienced perspective, and friendship” Nicolaisen continued. Read more to learn a thing or two from a man who has weathered competitive snowboarding’s journey from the backyard to the big leagues and who still loves it just as much.

When did you start snowboarding?
I actually started snowboarding in 1973 while in high school, using a "Snurfer" from the hardware store. It was fun but not very effective. I took it up again in 1984 when I drove over to Manchester Center in Vermont and bought a Burton Elite, complete with fins and skegs (which were quickly removed as they don't work well on eastern snow). I would normally be the only one boarding there, at either Attitash or Bretton Woods (the only places that allowed it then). By 1989 I started teaching at Attitash and finally began to learn what I was doing.


How did you find out about USASA and decide to start competing?
I think I found out about USASA in 1991 when our local paper had a story about a competitor from King Pine Ski area. His dad was the series director (Steve Morrill). Back then it was slalom or giant slalom only. I liked competing because it helped me learn and gave a reason to train smarter.

What's your favorite part of being a part of the USASA community and competing in the New Hampshire Series?
My favorite part of being part of USASA is all the people I have met and made friends with over the years. I've met pretty much every Olympian since Ross Powers, and am constantly surprised when someone from years ago recognizes me. Competing in New Hampshire is really fun, going to many mountains I would not normally visit. It has been great to get to know all the super-dedicated directors (like Paul & Cindy Guldemond & Josh), and see the young competitors as they mature and advance. All the kids are very supportive of me and each other.


Postgame good vibes with Dave and his fellow competitors. National Championships 2019

When you're not snowboarding and working as a civil engineer how do you fill your time?
When I'm not snowboarding or working I'm thinking about snowboarding soon. I like to ride my bicycle when I can and do a lot of hiking and sidecountry trail maintenance during the offseason.

What is your favorite part of USASA Nationals?
My favorite part of the Nationals is seeing everyone again. It was a huge disappointment this year (but not surprising), but we all have to get through it. Nationals is a very difficult thing to properly prepare for, including the logistics of getting there with all the necessary equipment. It is gratifying when I finally make it through the last event. It is bittersweet, since I know I have to go home and wait until next year. I especially miss seeing the competitors from the other series (Hi Reese!), plus all the support staff like you and Zippy and many more.

2019 National Championships podium party with Dave at the helm.

We have a pretty solid crew of Methusala members but what's some advice you'd like to share to people who say "I'm too old for that"?
My advice for people who say they are "too old" is that the best part of competing is getting ready. The training and practicing are super hard but fun while competing can be a little nerve-wracking. It is awesome when you are done and know you did your best.

Any final thoughts or words of wisdom for all of us?
The only thing I would add is to give the greatest thanks to every mom & dad who supports their kids! Mine always would ask how my season was going and would brag to their friends about how their son was doing. Remember, I started competing at 34. I also want to thank all the directors and everyone who helps out (including you!), from registration to sponsors to course maintenance. The US Snowboarding team is only world-class because of USASA and all who support its grass-roots efforts.

 

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