VAIL — Three local snowboarders have now qualified for the World Rookie Tour finals, leaving coaches feeling good about Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s prospects in continuing to graduate athletes into the top ranks of competitive snowboarding.

With big boots to fill — such as those of U.S. Pro Team members Jake Pates, of Eagle, and Ryan Wachendorfer, of Edwards — will the future of snowboarding also have a strong local contingency?

A good indicator may lie in the World Rookie Tour finals, an annual event taking place March 25-30 in Austria, which brings together the top snowboarders from all over the world who are less than 18 years of age. Each country gets to send 12 athletes, three boys and three girls from halfpipe and slopestyle.

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