Chris Klug, Gretchen Bleiler to lead power-packed U.S. team |

Chris Klug, Gretchen Bleiler to lead power-packed U.S. team

Gretchen Bleiler, of Snowmass Village, and Aspen’s Chris Klug, who won a bronze medal at the Salt Lake Olympics, have been named to the 2004 U.S. Snowboard Team.

Bleiler, 22, was last season’s most-winning-female halfpipe rider, finding a place on the podium in every event she entered. She posted the highest halfpipe score ever with 48.6 points out of a possible 50 at the Mount Bachelor stop of the Chevy Truck U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix. She also topped the overall Grand Prix and Triple Crown series along with winning the X Games and U.S. Open.

Klug, 30, has been bashing gates on his snowboard for close to 20 years, and adds a tremendous amount of experience to a talent-packed alpine snowboard team.

In July 2000, Klug underwent liver transplant surgery for Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. A year and a half later, he won a bronze in the 2002 Winter Olympics. He also competed in the 1998 Winter Olympics in 1998, finishing in sixth place.

Klug and Bleiler are part of a team that includes 11 men and nine women, plus 13 riders on the development squad, coach Peter Foley said.

“Both the halfpipe and alpine teams are a solid mix of veterans and new talent, which makes for a great training environment,” said Foley. “The older riders are on the top of their game and serve as a guide to the younger team members, but at the same time the young kids are constantly pushing the veterans with their fresh aggressive approach to training and competition.”

Joining Klug and Bleiler are 16-year-old phenom Hannah Teter, of Vermont, last season’s most-winning-female halfpipe rider. She finished just behind Bleiler in every event the two competed in together last year.

Also headlining the team are nine-year U.S. Snowboarding veteran and Olympian Tommy Czeschin (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.); World Championships bronze medalist Steve Fisher (St. Louis Park, Minn.); and 2003 World Cup Winner Andy Finch (Fresno, Calif.), who also finished the season as the men’s U.S. superpipe champion. Seth Wescott (Farmington, Maine), silver medalist at the 2003 World Championships and U.S. champion in 2003, is the lone boardercross rider.

On the alpine side, Klug is joined by Pete Thorndike (Meredith, N.H.); Stacia Hookom (Edwards, Colo.); and two other two-time Olympians, Rosey Fletcher (Girdwood, Ark.) and Lisa Kosglow (Boulder, Colo.).

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