Student Spotlight: Stephanie M. Lopez

Rio Hondo College Representative, Stephanie  M. Lopez, 19, has been snowboarding since she was 8 years old. It took her two years of practice to finally get it down and has now been doing it for about twelve years. It all started with her dad, who was a skateboarder and snowboarder. He wanted to pass it on to his family since that was his passion and what he loved to do. So he took all of them to the mountains every Sunday in the winter season. It became something they always did as a family so it’s very special to her. She didn’t really like it at first so it took her a while to get used to it.

Since Lopez had no experience in snowboarding, she had to start off by learning how to skateboard. Her dad also bought her a trampoline to practice with a snowboard and by the age of 10 she finally learned how to. And at the age of 13,  she started to take it serious.

At 15, she entered her first competition and won. Lopez was one of the few girls at that age range competing and was becoming noticed. She then became part of the Mountain High team and got represented by Skullcandy and competed in Jumps and Snowboard Cross competitions.

When Lopez became more competitive, that’s when she started getting more injuries. The doctor advised her to quit because she has very low bone marrow density and little cartilage, so it’s very easy for her to break her bones. But Lopez refused to quit and ended up breaking her ankle and dislocated her knee. And then she was forced to take a break.

She made a comeback at 18 and Mountain High decided to sponsor her again. They noticed her passion for snowboarding and how she pushed herself very hard to put her name back on the board and how she had the ability to get better.

Lopez, now 19, has to get surgery to strengthen her knee caps. The low cartilage is still a problem and affects her. She hopes to come back ten times stronger. It will allow her to push her body even harder and not let her weak knees become a factor.

Everyone in her team and family has faith in her to come back with the ability to prosper and become a professional. Lopez said, “If you believe in something, you shouldn’t let anything stop you from reaching it.” One thing that inspires her is that “knowing that my dad loves the sport and knowing I have such a passion for it is the best feeling in the world.” It is not just a sport, but a bond between a father and his daughter.