Scores of podium results poured in from local Vail snowboarders this past weekend. As numerous athletes from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) left to compete at the USASA snowboard cross and ski cross event in Copper, other local athletes headed up to Aspen to compete in a USASA event for halfpipe and slopestyle. Dozens of medals were brought back home from both events that had an established and competitive field.
Over in Aspen, SSCV athletes at the USASA slopestyle event had outstanding results throughout all age classes. “The hard work that this crew has put forth this winter is starting to pay off with strong results from all athletes that attended the Aspen competition. They all rose to the occasion and put down clean runs all weekend bringing home 9 gold medals, 2 silver, a bronze, and several top 5s. This was a fantastic start to the competitive season that lies ahead. I’m just so proud of this crew and their astounding performance against a tough field,” says Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy Snowboard Coach William Rivera.
At the event, Jack Coyne finished first for the menehune boys (10-11) in slopestyle as well as pipe. Dillon Okurowski placed second in slopestyle and first in halfpipe in the breaker boys (12-13) category. Ian Kalapos placed first in slopestyle and third in halfpipe for the breaker boys category. Colton Balentine cleaned up with a win in both halfpipe and slopestyle for the youth men category (14-15). Josue Velasco rode well and placed 4th in the slopestyle competition for youth men followed by Jake Leventhal in 5th. In the junior men (16-17) category Oliver Pilas came away with a first place slopestyle win.
On the girl’s side of the event, Mary Prantis placed first in the slopestyle competition and first in the halfpipe competition for the breaker girls category. Bren Blower performed well in the breaker girls slopestyle and ended in 4th. Emily Duncan rode well in the halfpipe competition and placed 2nd for the youth women (14-15). As one part of the SSCV Snowboard Team was crushing the competition in Aspen, teammates were at Copper dominating the podium for snowboard cross.
Snowboard cross is a relatively new discipline in the world of snow sports. The term “cross” refers to the sport being a cross between racing and freestyle. With racers flying down directly next to each other over jumps, rollers, and sharp turns, the sport is often intense and can be quite dangerous at times. As with many other extreme sports, the fear only adds to the adrenaline.
Twelve young adrenaline chasers from (SSCV) headed to Copper this past weekend to compete with 137 other racers in the USASA event. Ross Hindman built a very technical course that challenged all ability levels,” commented SSCV’s snowboard coach MacKenzie Ryan. With a mix of veteran racers and first timers, it was a race made for learning as well as qualifying for nationals. “For a lot of our crew, it was more or less a preview of who they are going to race against at nationals,” says coach Ryan. “The Breaker boys and youth men have incredible athletes,” says Ryan. Snowboarder Cameron Chaney from SSCV raced his way into a nice third place podium spot in the breaker boys (12-13) class. Sean Roley from SSCV, racing in the youth men (14-15) also landed in third place at the competition just behind Rossignol rider Senna Leith out of Vail. Olivia Boomhower raced well in the Open Class Women’s category with a first place win on day one of the event and a second place finish on day two.
On top of the snowboard crew, young Vail skiers also landed on the podium with Izak Little placing first and Pearson Black placing second in the skier boys category (10-12). Hannah Harnick walked away with a first place finish in the skier women category (13-15).
The local snowboarders went out competed as if it were just another day of training and brought home medals left and right. Keep an eye out for these young riders as they continue to excel in their respective divisions.