Carving a path to success |

Carving a path to success

Elyse Brightman
South Tahoe's Cara Kellogg rides a box during the USASA Nationals in Copper Mountain, Colo.
Courtesy of USASA Nationals |

In the winter months, you can find the three Kellogg kids at one of the local resorts practicing for the next snowboard competition.

Collyn, 13, McKayla, 12, and Cara, 10, recently returned from the USASA Nationals at Copper Mountain, Colo. The family made the 16-hour drive to Copper on March 28 for the competition that took place over a week. McKayla and Cara competed in all events and Collyn in halfpipe. Events included boardercross, slalom, giant slalom, halfpipe and slopestyle and about 60 athletes competed in each division separated by age.

Coming out of the weekend, Cara placed sixth overall, McKayla 10th, and Collyn, competing in just one event, was 29th. The Kellogg’s compete throughout the winter at events in North Tahoe and South Tahoe to earn points to qualify for nationals. In this year, McKayla finished first, Cara first and second and Collyn finished second and third in every competition they competed.

Recently, with the success of local athletes, they each expressed interest in competing in the Winter Olympics one day.

“My goal is to be in the X Games in two years and the Olympics in four years,” McKayla said.

During non-winter months, the three attend South Tahoe public schools, but, during the winter, they are home-schooled to spend the daytime hours practicing at Heavenly or Sierra-at-Tahoe. Their dad, Jason Kellogg, acts as coach and brings them to the mountain in the mornings to ride with them until about 2 p.m. before he leaves for work. From 2-4 p.m., the kids ride alone before their mom picks them up and takes them home for school.

“I like homeschool because I get to ride and I can still see my friends at the mountain,” said McKayla.

According to Jason, it’s at the point where all three kids are passing him in ability level, but because of the high cost, they aren’t able to afford higher level coaching.

“We watch trick tips on YouTube,” said Collyn about how they learn new tricks.

Without formal coaching, Collyn has a variety of tricks including methods, front flips and 900s. Cara and McKayla can throw down some nose grabs, tail grabs, board slides, nosepress and tailpress.

“Methods are my favorite grabs,” McKayla said.

Collyn also is a sponsored snowskater by Predog Snowskate and has seen success in competitions.

“I got second against adults,” said Collyn.

The family set up a fundraising website to defer the cost of entrance fees and travel expenses called They were hoping to use nationals as exposure for sponsorships to also defer costs and next year all three plan to be part of the Sierra team where they’ll all get more advanced training. Medical bills also are a factor as McKayla was out all last season due to a broken humerus suffered during training and Cara was out for part of last season when she suffered a major concussion during slopestyle practice before a competition.

“I think I’ll get a lot of training and it’ll be a lot of fun,” said Collyn who hopes to go back to nationals next year and win halfpipe.

“I can hit bigger features,” said Cara who hopes to finish in the top 10 again next year.

To prepare for next winter, the Kellogg’s will make a turf set-up in their backyard for the summer. They’ll put up some small features and add soap and water to make it slippery for the boards to slide. They also plan to ride backcountry with their dad until the snow is gone.

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