Klug leads talent-packed team | AspenTimes.com

Klug leads talent-packed team

Aspen Times Staff

Chris Klug charges into a turn during a qualifying run in the parallel giant slalom at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Klug went on to win the bronze medal. Aspen Times photo.

Aspen local Chris Klug wants one more shot at the Olympics.

The bronze medalist in parallel giant slalom at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics is coming back for a 14th season with U.S. Snowboarding.

Klug joins World Championships medalists Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, VT), Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT) and Seth Wescott (Farmington, ME) on the largest contingent of athletes in U.S. Snowboarding history heading into the 2006 Olympic season. This year’s squad is made up of 31 men and 16 women and includes 17 snowboardcross athletes who will be vying for coveted Olympic spots when SBX debuts at the Winter Games in Torino, Italy, this February.

Jordan Karlinski, 16, of Snowmass Village is one of six athetes on the SBX C Team.

“This is the largest and most talented group of riders U.S. Snowboarding has ever worked with,” said Jeremy Forster,the program director for U.S. Snowboarding.

“There is serious depth in halfpipe with Lindsey, Hannah, Elena (Hight), Steve (Fisher), Tommy (Czeschin) and Keir (Dillon) leading the way. We also have an awesome group of new riders coming into the program including Danny Davis and Michael Goldschmidt.”

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This year’s halfpipe riders are divided into two groups ” the Pro Team and the Rookie Team. Forster said this new categorization of the halfpipe program is similar to typical industry team’s structure and better reflects the riders’ stature in the competitive halfpipe culture.

Forster noted the SBX team alone has three World Championships medals to show from 2005 including two golds from Jacobellis and Wescott and a bronze from Jayson Hale.

“It’s going to be exciting to see our SBX riders participate in the Olympics this year,” Forster said. “After such a great showing last season, especially at the World Championships, we expect to contend for medals in this new Olympic event.”

In addition, the alpine riders will be led by seasoned veterans including Klug.

“Our alpine riders are positioned to have another great year with Michelle Gorgone coming off her best season ever. Chris Klug will be back and fired up after an injury last year,” Forster said. “We are going to be focused and ready to put American riders on the Olympic podium this February in Torino.”

Tommy Czeschin (25; Mammoth Lakes, CA; 2002 Olympics), Keir Dillon (27; Carlsbad, CA), Steve Fisher (22; St. Louis Park, MN), Michael Goldschmidt (17; Bondville, VT), Danny Davis (16; Highland, MI), Scott Lago (17; Seabrook, NH), Elijah Teter (21; Belmont, VT), Abe Teter (26; Belmont, VT) and Luke Wynen (28; Mammoth Lakes, CA).

Molly Aguirre (20; Mammoth Lakes, CA), Claire Bidez (17; Minturn, CA), Tricia Byrnes (30; Stratton, VT; 2002 Olympics), Elena Hight (15; Zephyr Cove, NV), Lindsey Jacobellis (19; Stratton Mountain, VT) and Hannah Teter (18; Belmont, VT).

Jack Mitrani (16; Bondville, VT) and Louie Vito (16; Bellefontaine, OH).

Jayson Hale (19; Sierraville, CA), Nate Holland (26, Olympic Valley, CA), Lindsey Jacobellis (19; Stratton Mountain, VT). Jason Smith (23; Basalt, CA), Graham Watanabe (23; Sun Valley, ID) and Seth Wescott (27; Farmington, ME).

Ben Jacobellis (25; Bondville, VT), Leslee Olson (26; Bend, OR), Mike Rosengren, (23; Bozeman, MT), Mark Schulz (31; Portland, OR) and Marni Yamada (26; Seattle, WA).

Joanie Anderson (18; Lake Tahoe, CA), Nick Baumgartner (23; Iron River, MI), Alex Deibold (19; Manchester Center, VT), Jeff Greenwood (30; Boulder, CO; 2002 Olympics), Jordan Karlinski (17 on Aug. 24; Snowmass Village, CO) and Matt Shrive (27; Redlands, WA).

Michelle Gorgone (22; Sudbury, MA) and Chris Klug (34; Aspen, CO; 1998, 2002 Olympics).

Rosey Fletcher (29; Girdwood, AK), Tyler Jewell (28; Sudbury, MA), Lisa Kosglow (31; Boulder, CO; 1998, 2002 Olympics), Justin Reiter (24, Silverthorne, CO), Adam Smith (24; Tangent, OR) and Pete Thorndike (27; Meredith, NH; 2002 Olympics).

Stacia Hookum (29; Edwards, CO), Ryan McDonald (25; Entiat, WA), Erica Mueller (23; Chester, VT), Eric Warren (23; Bennington, VT) and Joshua Wylie (23; Londonderry, VT).