At the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Qualifiers presented by Mini, the top 10 men and top five women in slopestyle and halfpipe at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania won the right to move on to the 31st annual Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships in Vail from Feb. 25 through March 2.
The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club's Jordie Karlinski, 23, of Snowmass Village, who is sponsored by Roxy, made the cut after scoring 60 points in women's slopestyle. That put her into fifth place. The event, part of the three-stop U.S. Revolution Tour, continues this week with its freeskiing portion.
According to AVSC Freestyle/Freeride head coach Lynn Merriam, "All the boys worked through some fears of laying down their tricks in the pipe and produced excellent results. They were up against a few athletes that were in the World Cup Grand Prix, and it was awesome to watch them rise to the occasion and competition level that was presented to them."
"Brooks skied extremely well, and his place is exceptional coming off a major surgery and for his first contest of the season. There will be good things for Brooks to come this season even with his late start," Merriam said.
According to the AVSC nordic coaching staff, more than 600 athletes competed in Soldier Hollow, Utah, site of the 2002 Olympic events. The team is gearing up for the Aspen Nordic Festival on Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday's AVSC Supertour Classic race, which starts and ends near the AVSC Clubhouse, includes a five-kilometer high school race and a three-kilometer middle school event, plus a 1.4-kilometer Supertour Sprint qualifier that kicks off at 9 a.m. Racing continues throughout the day, depending on the age class, and spectators are welcome along the course.
Sunday's Owl Creek Chase, a premier Roaring Fork Valley event since 1985, is a 21-kilometer freestyle race that begins as a mass start "with waves." There are elite men, elite women and citizen classes in this race from Snowmass Village to Aspen. Go to www.owlcreekchase.com for more information.
In test events for next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, AVSC alum Simi Hamilton and teammate Andy Newell won their heat in the semifinals to move into the finals at the Laura Cross Country Ski Center in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.
Hamilton and Newell finished in seventh overall.
AVSC's adaptive team traveled to Kimberley, British Columbia, for the Canada NorAm Cup, which included speed events on Jan. 30 and 31.
Andrew Kurka, who hails from Alaska but now trains with AVSC, won gold in both downhill races at Kimberley. Kurka, who coaches say is skiing really well right now, also won a gold in super G for the men's sitting division.
In men's standing, John Lujan won silver medals in the two downhills. In women's standing, Melanie Schwartz took gold in one downhill and silver in the second race. She also scored silver in the super G.
The Kimberley events were solid gold for AVSC's men's visually impaired team of Brian Follet and guide Scot Jones. Follet and Jones took first place in both downhill races and third place in both of the super G events.
Steamboat was the recipient of a massive storm that left soft snow and plenty of ruts for the team of U16 competitors. AVSC podium finishes included Galena Wardle, who was third in her age group and third overall in Saturday's giant slalom thanks to a smoking second run. She finished fifth overall in Sunday's race.
Tristan Lane was second in Saturday's race (for U16s and overall) and finished third among U16s (fifth overall) in the Sunday giant slalom.
It wasn't only the top finishers who were noteworthy. According to coach Pat Callahan, Pascale Augspurger, who was ranked 62nd, finished 30th on Saturday and 29th on Sunday.
Quincy Dollahan, ranked 44th, finished 21st and 25th over the weekend.
"The team looks ready for the U16 qualifier in two weeks," Callahan said.
U8, U10, U12 and U14 alpine racers took to the gates at Highlands on Saturday for the second Roaring Fork Series race of the season (see results). Many of those same AVSC athletes will compete Feb. 9 and 10 during the Bolle Age Class slaloms on Thunderbowl. Two races will be held each day.