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Updated Feb 7, 2014 - 6:31 am

US Olympic snowboarding coach doing Arizona proud

U.S. Olympics snowboarding coach Mike Jankowski, far right. (AP Photo)

PHOENIX -- Winter may not be Arizona's forte, but the state still has a representative at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

United States Olympic snowboarding team coach Mike Jankowski got his start at Arizona Snowbowl near Flagstaff as a snowboarding instructor in the late 1990s.

"There's a huge tie to Flagstaff, Snowbowl and Northern Arizona University, where Jankowski went to school," said Jason Stratton with the ski resort.

Stratton said the winter Olympics drum up huge interest in skiing and that's white gold for Snowbowl.

"First-time skiers see the Olympics on TV and say, 'I want to try that,' while others that haven't skied in 10 to 15 years will come out too," he said. "We will definitely see a spike."

An Olympics opening ceremony viewing party is being held Friday at Heritage Square in Flagstaff starting at 7 p.m.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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