Janice Kurbjun
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December 8, 2012
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Freeski, snowboard team members announced at Copper Mountain

Being added to the U.S. Freeski rookie team isn't something Michigan's Kyle Mack takes lightly.

"To have people look at me and think I have a chance to make the Olympics - that's pretty cool," he said.

And for professional teammate Benji Farrow, who moved up from the rookie team this year, it's a dream come true.

"It's a realization of a lifelong goal. I grew up 10 minutes down the road from Hannah (Teter)'s house (in Vermont). ... I wanted to be just like them," Farrow said, speaking of snowboard stars Kelly Clark, Teter, Elijah Teter and Ross Powers. "Two years ago, I was put on the team. It was a surreal feeling, going from being a kid watching the Olympics and wanting to be like them to actually riding with them."

It's been a "progression of dreams" for Farrow, who hopes those dreams will only continue to come true as he dreams bigger and works hard to make it all a reality.

Mack and Farrow are among athletes who have been using Copper Mountain's superpipe for training since it was the first in the world to open on Nov. 30. On Saturday, the freeski and snowboard teams gathered for their official team naming announcement in the midst of Copper's 40th anniversary celebrations.

"The U.S. Speed Center was home to the most elite alpine athletes training for the season, and then we opened the first halfpipe in the world for our freeskiing and snowboarding athletes," Copper spokeswoman Austyn Williams said. She added that in mid-December, the U.S. freestyle selections will be made - again on Copper turf.

Many of the athletes credited the local mountain for having an ideal training facility prior to the Breckenridge Dew Tour competition, which begins next week, but more so, they credit their success to the U.S. teams, which provide support, coaching, physical therapy and more to the athletes.

"Behind every great athlete is a team of great people," snowboarder Kelly Clark said. "The U.S. team has contributed to my career - everything from its longevity to its success."

Though Clark doesn't have much contact with the new blood on the team, she still thinks they can be inspired by veteran athletes like herself, and vice-versa - she becomes inspired by their progressive approach.

"Snowboarding is always changing and you change with it," she said.

For Emilia Wint, it's extra special to have her discipline - slopestyle skiing - reach global status as a recognized sport in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

"Three or four years ago, when I got into slopestyle, it wasn't a thought in anybody's mind," she said. Now, the structure of the team will help her slopestyle skiing pursuit, from the recent two-week camp at California's Mammoth Mountain to the Center of Excellence training center in Park City, Utah, where she spent a good portion of the summer.

Slopestyle is a ski and snowboard discipline that Wint and U.S. Snowboard Team veteran Hannah Teter expect to take off in popularity and continue to increase exposure for skiing and riding as a whole.

"It's one of the most progressive aspects of snowboarding to watch ... It was cheers all around when they finally announced it," Teter said.

The full U.S. Snowboard roster includes:

Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen)

Greg Bretz (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.)

Kelly Clark (West Dover, Vt.)

Elena Hight (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.)

Ellery Hollingsworth (Darien, Conn.)

Matt Ladley (Chicago)

Scotty Lago (Seabrook, N.H.)

Hannah Teter (Belmont, Vt.)

Benji Farrow (Ludlow, Vt.)

Luke Mitrani (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.)

Maddy Schaffrick (Steamboat Springs)

Louie Vito (Santy, Utah)

The full U.S. Freeski roster includes:

Halfpipe

Wing Tai Barrymore (Sun Valley, Idaho)

Maddie Bowman (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.)

Duncan Adams (Breckenridge)

Simon Dumont (Bethel, Maine)

Jen Hudak (Park City, Utah)

Gus Kenworthy (Telluride)

Devin Logan (West Dover, Vt.)

Tucker Perkins (North Hampton, N.H.)

Brita Sigourney (Carmel, Calif.)

David Wise (Reno, Nev.)

Torin Yater-Wallace (Basalt)

Slopestyle

Ashley Battersby (Park City, Utah)

Sammy Carlson (Hood River, Ore.)

Joss Christensen (Park City, Utah)

Keri Herman (Breckenridge)

Gus Kenworthy (Telluride)

Devin Logan (West Dover, Vt.)

Meg Olenick (Aspen)

Alex Schlopy (Park City, Utah)

Emilia Wint (Denver)

Bobby Brown (Breckenridge)

Grete Eliassen (Salt Lake City)

Tom Wallisch (Pittsburgh, Penn.)


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The Summit Daily Updated Dec 9, 2012 12:35PM Published Dec 8, 2012 09:20PM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.