2012 - Appalachian Adventure Achievement Award Finalists and Winners

The Appalachian Adventure Achievement Award (A4) is designed to discover, recognize, and celebrate young people in the North Carolina High Country who are passionate about mountain sports and community service. The 2012 awards were presented at the 16th Annual Banff Mountain Film Festival on March 30th and 31st, 2012 at Appalachian State University.

18 - 24 Category Winner and Finalists

Zack Silberman

2012 A4 Award Winner - Zack Silberman is known throughout the climbing community for not only being an incredibly talented climber, doing movements and difficult climbs with ease, but always being available for a spot for another climber or friend, helping people work through climbs, and having the same enthusiasm for everyone regardless of their climbing abilities. His willingness to put others before himself is especially inspiring. When Zack climbs in the gym there is almost an unspoken agreement to complete stillness and silence as everyone watches, mouths gaping open, as they watch him maneuver through seemingly impossible movements. His background knowledge of climbing and overall health provides a great resource for both new and advanced climbers alike.

Walter Ford

For 3 years Walter has been a member of the Lees-McRae College Competition Rock Climbing Team and for the past 2 years he has been Co-Captain of the team. He is a Climbing Wall Manager and an Instructor at the LMC climbing wall providing instruction for other LMC students who attend the Monday Night Open Wall sessions. He is also a member of the Rock Climbing Club and encourages students who come to the wall to join him on Climbing Club trips to area rock sites. Last summer Walter was a co-instructor for two of the new Fresh Tracks 4 day backpacking, hiking, and rock climbing trips specially designed for incoming freshmen. The new LMC students enjoyed Walter as a friend and respected him as their instructor. Walter continues to inspire other students to get active in the outdoors by encouraging them to join the trips hosted by LMC Outdoor Programs, then to get outside by participating in personal trips with their friends.

Zach Hypes

One of the achievements that sets Zach apart as a 20-year-old climber is his certification and membership with the Professional Climbing Instructors Association (PCIA). Zach successfully completed the course when he was just 17 years old, and then the following year attained his PCIA Top-Managed Climbing Instructor certification through a day of skill-based assessment that involved an evaluation of lead climbing ability, facilitation and management of a climbing/rappelling site from the base and the top, and also various rescue scenarios.

17 and under Category Winner and Finalists

Levi Marland

2012 A4 Award Winner - Levi is an avid cyclist. Not only does he compete in mountain biking races—and perform extraordinarily well—he encourages safe cycling for others. He and my daughter and another close friend have been encouraging other kids in our neighborhood to ride their bikes to school. They designed a bike rack for their school and have found funding to pay for it. Levi completed the 50-mile blood sweat and gears in 2010 in less than 4 hours time at age of 10. He has been involved in helping with the Boone bike rodeo that promotes safe biking for children. Other outdoor interests that he has include paddling, skiing, cross-country skiing, playing soccer, and hiking with his family and dog.

Luke Winklemann

Because of his intense focus and dedication to the sport of snowboarding, Luke has perfected his smooth style and daring aerials to the extent that many of his peers want to hang with him hoping to improve their technique. Luke makes use of his video camera to study style and correct mistakes. Even though he is only 11 years old, he has become a mentor even to students older than himself as they see how his intense love of the sport and the long hours he works at it pay off in competition. Luke has landed a 720 in competition and placed regularly in USASA competitions.

Riley Pudney

Riley is the epitome of a student-athlete. As a junior at Watauga High School, Riley is actively involved in academic pursuits as well as being a captain of the Watauga High School Varsity Softball Team. When she is not at school, she lives on Beech Mountain where she now assists with the Beech Mountain Snowboarding Team, a team she was previously a member before aging out. Riley can often be seen getting a group of teammates together to hold a team practice outside, even when coaches are not present. She loves to snowboard competitively as well as work out during her spare time.