In top form Down Under
For the brother-sister tandem of Teddy and Jordan Karlinski, this totally blew.Both local riders qualified for the respective slopestyle finals Friday at the New Zealand Open, only to have violent gusts of wind dash their hopes of winning some cash.Organizers at Snow Park, a tiny one-lift resort in Lake Wanaka on the South Island, canceled both slopestyle finals and moved Saturday’s halfpipe finals to today as a result of the wind. The gusts were so strong Friday that a windometer at the mountain actually blew away.Though grounded, neither Karlinski was down about the situation. Just qualifying for finals was beyond expectations for both, who flew to New Zealand to train for the upcoming snowboarding season with their father, Andy.”All I really wanted to do was make it through just some qualifying stages,” Teddy, 19, said during a phone conversation. “When I made it to the finals, that was the ultimate. … My riding has been just going really well, and I’ve felt really strong. I’ve just been riding really solid and landing everything.”Jordan, a member of U.S. Snowboarding’s boardercross team, said she and her brother took the trip to get in as much training as possible before both head off to college before the end of this month.Jordan will be a freshman at the University of Colorado at Boulder this fall, while Teddy plans to take classes at nearby Front Range Community College. Both plan to take the spring semester off to train and compete.”I literally come back from here, and then I have four days to get ready for college,” Jordan said laughing. She mentioned that she has yet to even talk to her freshman roommate on the phone. “We’ve just been writing to each other on Facebook,” she said. “She’s from Evergreen, so I’m guessing she’ll be cool.”The transition back to snowboarding after a summer in shorts and T-shirts was an easy one to make, both said.”I’ve been here for a week and a half, and I’ve gone riding every day,” said Teddy, who qualified for the top 16 among a field of more than 70 riders, including Olympians and Winter X Games medalists. “After those first three days, you’re back to normal. It really doesn’t go away that fast. It was kind of sketchy at first, but then it’s just like you’re back to how you were at the end of the winter.”Teddy’s qualifying runs included huge Cab 540s and frontside 720s off the course’s two kickers, and technical combinations on the course’s various rail features.The cancellation of the slopestyle finals meant organizers awarded riders by their qualifying rank. Teddy was the 15th-ranked rider out of the 16 to make the men’s final, which left him out of the prize money. Arguably more important, however, was that both riders earned valuable “Ticket To Ride” points, awarded at all of the events in Burton’s Global Open series.The two-year-old series is a collection of contests around the globe that includes the Nippon Open in Japan, the European Open in Laax, Switzerland, and the U.S. Open at Vermont’s Stratton Mountain.Combined, the $800,000 prize purse for the entire series is the largest in the world. At the season-ending U.S. Open, the male and female cumulative points champions for the whole series win $100,000.Both brother and sister mentioned that they would like to compete at other international events in the series, if possible.”It’s still up in the air, but I definitely want to do the European Open, the U.S. Open and the new Canadian Open, which is up in Whistler,” said Jordan, who qualified seventh for the eight-rider female finale. “With the new TTR points, it’s kind of like they’re replacing the [International Skiing Federation] World Cups. The FIS has a skiing and racing background, and while the Ticket To Ride thing is still based out of Europe, it’s more rider-driven.”Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
David Stapleton is the development officer for the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club. A product of the club, AVSC sat down with Stapleton for a Q&A session in this week’s Clubhouse Chronicles.