Finding ambition in the slopes

Jason Loxterkamp’s legs dangled off the ski lift chair. Connected to his feet was a snowboard. Colorful graphics gleamed against the reflection of a bright sun.

In seconds he will drop and be destined to propel down a slope, feeling the burn of wind and snow as it slices against his already reddened cheeks.

As he prepared for the rush, he mentally calculated everything he needed to do. Before he can focus on all that could go wrong, he is released.

Loxterkamp glided through the snow, gearing up for a trick his friend Tim Spanagel wants to film. He soared through the air, body twisting at an elevation and speed that made onlookers nervous.

His board made contact with the snow as he landed, managing to stay upright.

Loxterkamp, senior chemistry major has built an, “arsenal of tricks” since he began snowboarding 13 years ago. At this point he considers a backflip, “easy and boring.”

Tim Spanagel first noticed Loxterkamp when he went to perfect north to shoot for a film. Noticing that Loxterkamp was there every time he was, he began to take an interest. Eventually, the two became friends. Now, Spanagel regularly films Loxterkamp both professionally and for fun.

Jason Loxterkamp

Age: 22

Year: Senior

Major: Chemistry

Also Tutors

“I met Jason four years ago ... he was really good, had good air awareness and was just easy to talk to,” Spanagel said. “He was willing to help and do what it took to get the shot i needed.”

Loxterkamp met another friend at Perfect North. This time a little more unlikely of a pair was made. Chris Neltner, senior Miami University student and avid skier, said if it weren’t for the age-old rivalry between snowboarders and skiers, Loxterkamp and Neltner may have never met.

“I went up to him and jokingly said, ‘Dang snowboarder, we don’t want your kind around here,’” Neltner said. “And it became this running joke the entire season that whenever we would see each other we would just go up to the other one and say that.

“I swear I didn’t even know his name for that entire season.”

Among cracking jokes and riding together, the pair also go to a gym where they practice tricks on a trampoline to stay, “fresh” during the off-season. This gym is where Neltner noticed Loxterkamp’s ambition and commitment to snowboarding.

“He’ll go into the gym and say, ‘What haven’t I done,’” Neltner said. “And then he’ll try it. I’ll just go to mess around and he will seriously be trying the gnarliest tricks I’ve ever seen.”

Being ambitious has caused Loxterkamp to succeed in many ways, but has also gotten him in trouble. He described a time during a competition that cost him half the snowboarding season.

“I thought I could land a trick that I’d never done before,” Loxterkamp said. “I wanted to impress the judges and so I just went for it. I ended up cracking a rib and having to sit half the season out. That’s when I started going to Perfect North to watch and help out other people who wanted it.”

At Perfect North, Loxterkamp said he enjoys supporting others, be it doing the same trick over and over so Spanagel can get the clip he wants, or by helping those younger or less experienced than him.

In this way, Loxterkamp has found community in snowboarding.

“Snowboarding turned into something different because of the friends that i go there with,” Loxterkamp said. “It’s kind of a family.”

For Loxterkamp, the emotional highs and lows are what makes snowboarding so exhilarating.

“When you try something for so long and you just don’t land it, it’s incredibly frustrating, especially when you know you can do it,” Loxterkamp said. “When I land a trick, it’s a feeling that’s hard to compare to other things because you put so much effort into’s such a good feeling.”