Following a week of practice and qualifying rounds, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Zach Black rode to a ninth place in the snowboard finals at the Visa Grand Prix halfpipe competition on Saturday.

“Black had a great run,” said SSCV’s snowboard program director, Ben Boyd.  “He skied combinations he had not done before, and it was a great way for him to start the season.”

With some of the best snowboarders in the world attending this event, including the Bronze medalist in the 2010 Olympics, Scotty Lago, Black took notice of the competition.

“There were some heavy hitters here,” said Black.  “The competition was as good as I’ve ever seen it, and it was impressive.”

Black made a mistake on his first run in the finals, but when they take the better of two runs, he had one more chance to come up with a good score.

“My first run was good,” said Black.  “I did everything I was supposed to do until my second to last hit when I came up short, and that held me back a little bit.  On my second trip I pulled the run I wanted and landed everything all the way down.”

Black’s second run pulled him up from 14th to ninth.

SSCV had 21 athletes taking part in the qualifying runs during the event, and although not all of them qualified for the finals, their coaches were happy with their performances.

“The whole team looked super good in their qualifying rounds,” said coach Elijah Teter.  “This competition lit a fire under them seeing the field here, and now they have seen the tricks they will need to move ahead.  The team and the coaches are stoked and looking forward to the next competition.”

The SSCV snowboard team will head to Breckenridge next week for the Dew Tour.