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Mt. Shasta snowboarder hopes to earn spot in 2022 Winter Olympics

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MT. SHASTA, Calif. - The 2022 Winter Olympics are less than two months away. 

Mt. Shasta Snowboarder Robby Burns is hoping to make the trip to Beijing. 

"It would mean everything," Burns said. "It's something I've been after my entire life. I've been dreaming about it since I was a kid and working towards it to the better part of a decade."

His parents introduced him to the snow at an early age. He was inspired to start competing after watching the Yreka High School Alpine Team. 

Burns competes in Alpine Snowboarding. This year, there are six qualification events in December and January. The Mt. Shasta native is one of three athletes being considered for two spots. 

His journey on the slopes hasn't always been smooth. 

"Not making it in 2018 at first was demoralizing," Burns said. "Eventually it became another log on the fire. It was like wow we tried, we got this close. Let's see if we can do it again in 2022."

This year, Burns faced another obstacle. He tore his calf four weeks before the season started. 

"Not an ideal time to have a leg injury," Burns said. "Progress has been slower than I would like. I want to push the fast-forward button. It definitely takes time to build into the speed that it requires to perform well at this level."

Burns says he hopes that hard work pays off with an Olympic spot. 

"I put my whole life into this and I love it," he said. "It would mean the world to me."

Burns spends most of the winter on a snowboard. When he isn't hitting the slopes, he works as a hotshot with the U.S. Forest Service, fighting wildfires across Northern California. He worked on several major fires this summer, including the Dixie Fire. 

"I was wondering how I was going to find some gainful employment that would allow me to work for 6-7 months out of the year and go snowboard for six months," Burns said. "There aren't that many jobs that are like that. Firefighting on a hotshot crew is an opportunity that allows you to work real hard with a great group of guys for six months. Then they let the leash off and I get to fly around the world and snowboard."

Burns will compete in two more qualifying events in January. He'll find out if he makes the team on Jan. 21.

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