Our future snowboarding and freeskiing pros will take to the slopestyle course at Copper Mountain Resort Saturday for the final USA Snowboard and Freeski Association (USASA) Rocky Mountain Series regional competition of the season.
Series winners will be guaranteed a spot at nationals, also at Copper Mountain, later this month. The final halfpipe competition was held last weekend at Breckenridge. Competitors’ top three scores are considered in nominating series winners and in qualifying for nationals. The USASA offers an amateur-level competition geared toward giving competitors exposure and a chance to rise to the professional level.
“It’s anywhere from the grass roots, all the way up to the next rising stars,” Rocky Mountain Series director Paul Krahulec said of the athletes competing in the event.
Past competitors include 2014 snowboard and freeski Olympic medalists Kaitlyn Farrington, Nick Goepper and Gus Kenworthy, along with fellow Olympians Aaron Blunk and Taylor and Arielle Gold. All are among the long list of athletes who started at the USASA level.
“USASA gives amateurs a chance to work their way up the ranks,” Copper Mountain spokeswoman Stephanie Sweeney said of the event. “We’re happy to host them here.”
Top finishers from Saturday’s competition will have an opportunity to compete at nationals against roughly 1,700 athletes from other regional divisions across the country.
Only series winners will be guaranteed a spot at nationals; other top finishers will have their results compared against competitors from other divisions.
“The level of competition is extremely high,” Krahulec said. “We’ve got the best parks in North America. If you want to see how well you can throw down, you come here.”
Close to 160 skiers and snowboarders have registered for this final regional competition. Skiers will hit the course at 10:15 a.m., followed by snowboarders at 1 p.m. Krahulec said competition is divided into age brackets, and at nationals competitors range in age from 5 to the early 70s. Nationals are scheduled to take place at Copper from March 29 through April 11. Nationals will include both slopestyle and halfpipe, along with skier and boarder cross.
“USASA gives amateurs a chance to work their way up the ranks. We’re happy to host them here.”
Copper Mountain spokeswoman