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    Monday, February 9, 1998

    Snowboarders triumph at last

    By MICHAEL PLATT -- Calgary Sun
      It's totally rad, dude.
     Canada's -- and the world's -- first-ever Olympic snowboarding gold is being celebrated by local en-thusiasts as the medal that finally legitimized their sport.
     "This is so good for the sport; this medal gets the message out that this is not a trend, but a real Olympic event," said Trish Dr-ake, a 19-year-old snowboard instructor at Canada Olympic Park.
     Canada's Ross Rebagliati made Olympic history yesterday by capturing the first snow- boarding gold in Nagano, where the sport is making its debut as a Games event.
     Across Calgary, veteran boarders reminisced of the days when even Olympic-hero Rebagliati would have been treated as a second-class skier, relegated to lousy runs, or even booted off the hill.
     "When they let us on the slope, they made us buy a special ticket, but first you had to pass a little course to prove you wouldn't lose control and run into skiers," said 22-year-old Benji Kidmose, a snowboarder for the last decade.
     And Jamie Calon, manager of The Source snowboarding shop in Kensington, recalls being banned from certain runs and ski hills.
     "They treated us horribly -- it was a stereotype and a prejudice, and we simply weren't wanted, even in recent years," said Calon, a boarder for 13 years.
     But with Rebagliati's golden win, even dedicated skiers were strapping on snowboards for a trip down the hill.
     "I normally ski, but I had to give this a try," said Marcello Leonardis, who spent yesterday on the slopes at COP.
     "It must have been a great feeling to be the first snowboarder to win the gold -- it'll be an interesting trivia question some day," added Leonardis.
     A number of young boarders felt the golden win would spell the de-mise of skiing as a popular winter sport.
     "It's nice to finally have snowboarding taking over skiing -- the gold medal will make it really popular," said 13-year-old Duke Wilkie.
     But Wilkie's friend and fellow boarder R.J. Hornes said snowboarders will never completely turn their backs on skiing.
     "I snowboard and ski, and they're both fun, but different from each other -- I'll keep doing both," said Horne.
     Carve or starve. Shreddin' like he's pulling a trailer. Hardly words you'd normally hear on the CBC, but it happened -- all because of snowboarding. To keep Sun readers on the cutting edge of the Olympic's latest sporting addition, we offer this unofficial guide to the lingo of the hill:
     * Stoked --adj. (stoh-kt) Really happy; to be quite pleased with oneself. Thrilled. "She must be really stoked after that flawless run."
     * Stacked, to stack it -- v. (sta-kt) To topple over; to make unintentional contact with the ground. To wipe out. "He stacked it after narrowly missing a collision with that large tree."
     * Rad -- adj. (rad) Rather impressive; a good showing. Often coupled with totally. "That was one totally rad move that fellow just performed."