Robby Meehan spent his summer in the snow.
That’s right, the snow.
The 12-year-old Rockville Centre native is .
The dream? Competing for snowboarding gold in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
But, with more than five years remaining until his target competition, Meehan still has work to do. With summer snow hard to find, the Olympic hopeful traveled to Mount Hood, Ore. for a July jaunt on the slopes.
Mount Hood is a “sleeping volcano” that rises over 11,000 feet above sea level, according to greshamarea.com. Its high elevation allows for year-round snow, making it the perfect spot for winter athletes.
“They don’t even need snowblowers,” Meehan said.
Meehan woke up every morning at 7:30 a.m, making sure to be on the course by 9 a.m. He would hang up his board at 3 p.m. and work on dry-land exercises until dinner. Some of those exercises included work with a trampoline.
“It teaches you air awareness and what it’s like in the air (when you) do a trick,” he said.
Since returning from Mt. Hood, Robby has been concentrating on his school work. He is home-schooled full time and is currently enrolled in the K-12 International Academy. The pre-teen also receives one-on-one instruction at Fusion Academy in Woodbury.
The majority of Meehan’s schoolwork will be finished by Oct. 31, giving him the chance to train during the winter in Colorado. He has spent the last two winters training in Vermont.
“The slopes are a lot more advanced in Colorado,” Meehan said.
Meehan’s decision to move winter homes directly coincided with his decision to switch coaches.
After training with Ron Chiodi during the early part of his young career, Meehan chose to hire Jim Smith. Smith, who is based in Colorado, authored The Art of Snowboarding, a 2006 book focusing on the ins and outs of the sport.
“He’s a great coach,” Meehan said of Smith. “He finds your comfort zone and then lets you go past (that zone) to try stuff that you are capable of doing.”
Meehan will be living in Frisco, Colorado with his mother and training in nearby Breckenridge with his team, ISTC Groms. This team is comprised of the top ten snowboarders (ages 10-15) in the country.
In January, he will be competing in a European open in Switzerland.
While the Olympics are always in the back of his mind, it's not the only goal for Meehan. He is always looking to improve his skills. This winter, he intends to specifically focus on improving on the half-pipe.
“I’m really focused on backside double cork tens, which is (a move in which you) go upside down twice...and go around in a circle three times,” Meehan said.
The young rider said that he watched a lot of the London Olympics and was inspired by the young athletes bringing home medals.
While their hard work has culminated in success in 2012, Meehan’s golden path has only just begun.