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Stand Out Athlete: Morgan Dardia

Grace Kilroy, Staff Writer

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Nine years ago, eighth grader Morgan Dardia picked up a snowboard and hasn’t put it down since. Growing up, Dardia and her family frequented the mountains, always involved in winter sports and activities. When Dardia turned five, her parents realized that she and her siblings were too big for the snowmobiles they usually rode, and they decided to turn to another hobby. When she turned seven, her family signed up for a snowboarding competition,  fundraising as a way to both raise money for a good cause and expose Dardia to the sport. After her first race, Dardia realized that boarding was how she wanted to spend her time.

Snowboarders can compete in slalom, giant slalom, halfpipe, railjams, and boardercross. Dardia began her snowboarding career competing in all. She trained with a coach and competitive team at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire, but after four years decided to train herself. The competitive team she had boarded with competed in all of the events, not giving themselves time to specialize and perfect their specific techniques. Dardia, however, knew what she wanted.

Her two favorite events are half-pipe (where competitors complete tricks while riding from one side to the other of a semi-circular, cylindrical ditch) and boardercross (where snowboarders race down a course filled with obstacles like jumps, berms, and drops). It’s easy to see why these are her favorite: she’s incredible. Training on her own for the past few years, Dardia has proved exceedingly capable of dominating her competition. While racing the very competitive teams she had trained with at Loon, Dardia saw her specialized skills trump the others’ jack-of-all-trades abilities in every event. Practicing “as often as possible,” Dardia treks up to New Hampshire every weekend to train. When not able to make it to the slopes, Dardia cross-trains: running, swimming, and playing soccer. She’s given up the other sports she used to play in order to focus on snowboarding; she’s set goals and she’s determined to follow through.

Over the years, Dardia’s progression in competitions has been outstanding. Just last year, she advanced through various rounds of tournaments and competitions to come out third in the nation in boardercross.

After spending more than half of her life dedicated to the sport, Dardia hopes to continue her career on the slopes throughout her life. She’s been looking into various mountain schools, like the Holderness School and Killington Mountain School, hoping to be able to spend her high school career working on techniques and speed.

Dardia takes a break from snowboarding to enjoy the view.

Dardia gained more than just a national title through her athleticism: she gained friendship. “It’s a different community up there—you know everybody on the mountain,” Dardia explained. The hardest part for her, though, is leaving her friends on the Cape when she travels to the mountains. After spending every weekend of the snowboarding season (from the end of November to the beginning of April) on the slopes for the past seven years, Dardia admits it does get tiring. It’d be easy to get deterred by the amount of work she puts in, but even if she gets drained, Dardia explains, it’s “not enough that it would make me want to quit.”

Dardia’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by family and friends. Morgan’s older sister Nicole lightheartedly explained that Morgan is definitely the most well-known snowboarder in the family; when in New Hampshire, “everybody knows her and she knows everybody,” the eldest Dardia sister mentioned. When their family of five goes to the mountains, Morgan finds a training partner with her older brother, Greg. Nicole joked that her younger sister is “way too fast for me to keep up,” but Morgan is able to ride with other competitors her age and her brother. “I’m really proud of her. She works really hard and she’s good at what she does,” Nicole remarked. Knowing the skills to target this season, Morgan will no doubt be up on the slopes training her hardest. Based on her past success and dedication, it’ll be no surprise to see Dardia dominate once again this year.

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Stand Out Athlete: Morgan Dardia