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Four best friends from Stamford will go to Copper Mountain in Colorado this weekend to compete at the USASA National Snowboarding Championships, which runs from April 1 to April 12.

Siblings Grace (11) and Morgan Malloy Creanza (8), along with their friends Kaua (13) and Raphaella McGowan (8), will compete over the next week in the Slopestyle and Rail Jam events.

The two families live in Shippan Point, and the children attend Rogers International School in Stamford.

The snowboarding craze began with Morgan, who started at just 3 years old. Her mother, Alison, signed her up for a snowboarding lesson in Stratton, Vt. where the family has a home.

All the ski lessons were taken. Morgan was immediately hooked.

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“It’s really fun. It makes me feel free, like gliding, and going down the mountain really fast,” Morgan, now 8, said.

Alison was worried that when she picked Morgan up at the end of the day that she was going to be angry.

“But when I picked her up, she had the biggest smile on her face. She was like, ‘This is my sport, I love this, do not return my snowboard. I’m never going back to skiing.'”

Around Thanksgiving 2020, the Malloy Creanzas decided to move to their home in Stratton after Rogers International School gave the option for remote learning.

Renata McGowan and her husband Angus followed suit and rented a home next door.

The other kids watched Morgan snowboard and wanted to try it. The parents decided to rent snowboards for everyone and surprise them for Christmas, and the rest is history.

“My sister started snowboarding, and then I became interested in it because I wanted to snowboard with her,” Grace said. “Since I used to be a skier, I thought it would be fun to try out a new sport.”

Kaua was a hockey player, but decided to focus solely on snowboarding soon after he tried it.

“What I love most about snowboarding is learning new tricks, seeing my progress and spending time with my friends,” he said.

“He found snowboarding brought him peace,” his mother Renata added. “He developed this passion for it. He just wants to pursue it, no matter what it takes.”

The two eldest siblings are on the competition team at Stratton Mountain, and helped teach their younger siblings how to maneuver on the board.

“He is the best coach,” said Raphaella of her brother.

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