Podiums, personal bests at USASA Nationals
With six different venues that measure speed, acrobatic skill or a mixture of both, the USASA Nationals at Copper Mountain offer athletes and spectators plenty of opportunities to test themselves against the best in class during a nine-day snow sports extravaganza.
Snowboarders – from kids to adults, newcomers to Olympic medalists alike – were prominently featured in USASA events including halfpipe, boardercross, slalom/giant slalom, banked slalom, slopestyle and rail jam, before ceding the courses to freeskiers.
All told, AVSC fielded about 35 athletes to the invitation-only USASA Nationals.
“We had a lot of kids here, including some who had great personal bests,” said Tyler Lindsay, AVSC snowboard program director.
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Landing on the podium for snowboarding halfpipe was Jake Orzech.
“He had a clean, solid run,” Lindsay said of a run that included back-to-back 5’s, a front side 720 and cab 360.
“Those were all good-sized tricks. And he stuck his landings clean,” Lindsay said.
Isabella Borenstein’s 10th place in rail jam was noteworthy. Borenstein’s versatility was demonstrated in this year’s USASA’s where she competed and finished solidly in every single event.
Teammate Kelanii Scarpaci also competed in slalom, pipe, slopestyle, boardercross and GS.
On the opposite end of the age spectrum is Mark Hogan of Snowmass Village, who has been a part of the USASA Nationals for at least 15 years, either as an AVSC parent or as an athlete, Lindsay said.
“This is Mark’s last year competing. He was happy to go out with a gold medal in boardercross,” Lindsay said.
Also receiving a shout-out is Chase DeMeulenaere, who nailed a fifth in open class slopestyle. That DeMeulenaere did so well given that the bulk of his training has been “adventure snowmobiling in the backcountry” is something coach Lindsay found notable.
Lending a bit of glamour to the USASA nationals was guest announcer Ryan Stassel, a 2014 Sochi Olympian in slopestyle.
Olympic boardercross silver medalist Lindsay Jacobellis and Ross Powers – who led the U.S. halfipipe medal sweep in the 2002 Games — were among the other high-profile athletes competing at Copper Mountain.
“It’s fun for the kids to see a connection between what they’re doing and what they’re working for,” Lindsay said.
Skiers take over
Skiers took over the USASA Nationals beginning April 4 and in short order, AVSC’s Kai Morris won not only the 9-and-under rail jam but the skier halfpipe for his age group as well.
Moody spring weather left its mark on the competition. It snowed almost every day the snowboarders were in attendance, though no events were postponed or canceled.
In fact, fresh powder on the day of the boys’ slopestyle competition may have made the course more accessible for the youngest athletes.
Lindsay, who managed the rail jam in addition to coaching AVSC athletes, said that while snowboarding entries in the nationals were flat, the number of skiers is “up dramatically.”
The event attracted an estimated 2,000 competitors from across the country. (Additional information about the skier results will be available in the April 16 edition of The Aspen Times).
While the Copper Mountain competitions wind down, AVSC’s big mountain team is just starting its final series of the year.
For the IFSA North American Junior Championships, which continue through April 13 in Snowbird, Utah, AVSC is represented by the following 19 athletes: Logan Brown, Will Brown, Brooks Gorsuch, Will Morris, Andrew Tierney, Chase Ellsperman, Connor Laughren and Davis Henschel.
Also competing in Snowbird are AVSC’s Ethan Burkley, Hunter Bryant, Jackson Ernst, Jackson Ferraro, Jud Hawk, Luca Doehling, Merak Mellin, Nicholas Goralka, Nick Mitchell, Phineas Henry and Rhianna Borderick.
The best freeskiers age 12-18 from the U.S., Alaska and British Columbia are assembling for the 2014 junior championships.
Weekly with Walt
Results from the USASA Nationals as well as the state of snowboarding, will be featured on the GrassRoots program “Weekly with Walt,” which airs at 7 p.m. today and is repeated throughout the week.
Guests include coach Tyler Lindsay and athlete Isabella Borenstein.
In the final segment of the show, there will be a discussion about the AVSC Adaptive Team’s recent snowmobiling sojourn. The show airs on Channel 12 upvalley and Channel 82 below Catherine’s Store.
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