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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.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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