Vilandry has strong showing in collegiate snowboarding

Lacey Vilandry decided at an early age that she wanted to take up snowboarding, and her love for the sport hasn’t stopped since.

The 2012 Central graduate recently completed her junior season for James Madison University’s ski and snowboard racing team, in which she finished fourth in the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association snowboard cross event, and sixth in the snowboard giant slalom event.

“I felt like I did as well as I possibly could with the amount that I trained,” Vilandry said in a phone interview Tuesday. “It was awesome.”

Vilandry said she started snowboarding when she was 7 years old and lived in New Hampshire because her older sister was a snowboarder.

“She was my biggest role model growing up, and I wanted to snowboard just like her,” Vilandry said. “When I was 7, I picked it up and I just kept on going.”

Vilandry went to the USCSA Nationals held in Mount Bachelor, Oregon on March 2-7. Due to classes at JMU, she had to miss the railjam and slopestyle events, but did participate in the snowboard cross and giant slalom.

Vilandry said she was surprised that she did so well in the snowboard cross, because she usually does better in the giant slalom than snowboard cross. Vilandry’s qualifying time in snowboard cross was 33.68.

She said she does prefer snowboard cross, which is a race in which four to six snowboarders race down the course at a time, as opposed to the giant slalom where it is only one at a time. Snowboard cross also has turns, and various types of jumps and drops in it.

“I love it just because it’s more unpredictable,” Vilandry said. “Anything can happen. Anything bad that can happen will happen in the boarder cross. It’s just a much larger adrenaline rush. It’s awesome.”

In the giant slalom, Vilandry finished sixth in a time of 1:23.2. Despite missing two events, Vilandry placed 17th overall in snowboarding.

Vilandry also went undefeated in the giant slalom and snowboard cross in the Southeast Conference of USCSA and won the giant slalom of the Mid Atlantic regionals, which were held at Wintergreen Resort on Feb. 20 and 21. The USCSA Southeast Conference consists of JMU, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Duke University, Appalachian State, University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University and East Carolina.

Vilandry said she moved to the area when she was 12, but at the time she mostly just skied. She said when she was 14 she began to snowboard more and has stuck with it since.

While at Central, Vilandry was on snowboard teams at Massanutten Resort in McGaheysville and Wintergreen Resort in Wintergreen.

Vilandry said she enjoys snowboarding more than skiing, although she said the two sports are more similar than most people probably think.

“Sure the method is different, but the physics are all the same,” Vilandry said. “With skiing it’s more of a robotic motion. You’re either correct or you’re incorrect, but with with snowboarding you have a whole lot more freedom to express yourself. You can always tell who a rider is by the way that they snowboard.

“I wouldn’t trade snowboarding for the world.”

Vilandry said she chose JMU mostly because she knew that it had a snowboarding team. As a freshman, Vilandry was able to compete in all four events and placed seventh overall in snowboarding in the USCSA Nationals held in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Last year Vilandry took a shot at the snowboard cross pro tour, and said it was a great experience.

“I feel like I did really well for being my first year out there,” Vilandry said. “I traveled all over the country to races. That was amazing. I went to Minnesota twice, Colorado, California, New York. It was a lot of fun.”

Vilandry said she’s unsure if she will take another shot at the pro tour down the road, but she is not planning on snowboarding for JMU’s team next season. She said she is going to be a coach for Wintergreen Resort’s snowboard team instead.

She said she’s enjoyed her time with JMU”s snowboarding team.

“It’s been a whole lot of fun,” Vilandry said. “I’ve made some really good friends throughout the years.”

She said the collegiate experience she’s had racing in the USCSA has been a great one and she’s enjoyed it.

“It’s fun. It’s like a very family-like environment more than anything,” Vilandry said. “It’s been awesome. I’ve made a lot of friends and everybody wants to be friends, and I think that’s really wonderful because you don’t get that at a lot of the higher levels of competition.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com