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Self-taught snowboarder from Florida seeks to inspire next generation

Corey Hicks taught himself to snowboard in 2020. Now, the self-proclaimed "park rat" and Eldora instructor hopes young, black athletes will follow in his tread.
Credit: KUSA Sports

ELDORA, Colo. — You can take the skateboarder out of Florida, but most of them usually don't end up on the slopes of Colorado.

"I wanted to snowboard since I was little but I never got into it, I always just watched it on TV," Corey Hicks said. "I was like, 'this is the coolest thing ever, sliding down a mountain on snow.' In Florida, we have boxes and grass."

Hicks first visited the Centennial State from the Sunshine State in January 2020, touching snow for the very first time in his 24 years. It only took one visit to Keystone Ski Resort to know he'd be switching his permanent residence one year later.

"I spent probably the first hour to two hours falling, then I started teaching myself to ride with one foot comfortably, skating around," he said. "I [rode it down] two times and then I was sold. I was like, yeah, I'm moving to Denver. That was the happiest I've probably ever been."

Two years later, the self-taught rider is now the teacher. Hicks became a certified snowboard instructor at Eldora Mountain during the 2021 season while working as a lift operator.

Teaching comes naturally to him. Hicks is also an assistant wrestling coach at Bear Creek High School and owns his own strength and conditioning company called Loc'd In Fitness Training and Sports.

"I do a lot of teaching. My whole life is based around teaching something. I have a lot of joy around seeing people smile as they learn a skill," Hicks said. "I feel like when I was growing up, there were a lot of things that I was just searching for answers on my own, so a lot of my research and my pursuit of knowledge is so I can pass it on to my next generation."

The next generation now has someone to look up to on the slopes, as well. Growing up as a skateboarder, Hicks idolized the Dirty Ghetto Kids (DGK), a group of street skaters, but there wasn't anyone who looked like him on a snowboard. He hopes younger kids may one day see him and think, "I can do that, too."

"10 out of 10. One thousand percent. That's another reason -- or the main reason I do this, to show kids younger than me that, 'hey, there's somebody out here that's really rippin' it and sending it,'" he said. "Give it a try. If you have a desire to do something, all you have to do is put some action behind it and it's going to happen."

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