Amateurs and aspiring professionals of all ages closed out a week of snowboarding competition at Copper Mountain Resort, Thursday, with the final day of U.S.A. Snowboard and Freeski Association snowboarding nationals.
“It was a phenomenal experience,” USASA executive director Pete Davis said. “We had some incredible results across the board.”
The annual competition includes snowboarders from across the country, ages 5 to over 60. Most riders compete in the event’s age classes; an open class typically features rising stars in a number of snowboarding disciplines.
“We’re staring the future in the face,” Davis said. “Chances are if you see a 10-year-old on the podium here at Copper, eight years from now you might see them at an Olympic event.”
Past competitors include snowboarder Shaun White, recent freeskiing medalists Nick Goepper and Gus Kenworthy and a host of others.
“The entire roster of slopestyle and halfpipe riders at Sochi are USASA alums,” Davis said.
But as much as the event is about competition, it’s also about camaraderie, USASA executive board president Mike Mallon explained.
“Watching all of the kids making new friends and just shredding around the hill after their contests is on of the highlights of the day,” he said. “Where else in the world can you get over a thousand snowboarders together to compete in five events at the same time.”
Riders competed all week in slopestyle, halfpipe, boardercross and snowboard slalom and giant slalom.
Recent Olympic slalom athlete Justin Reiter’s performances were among the highlights of the week’s competition; he raced in the open divisions in slalom and giant slalom and took gold in both.
“It was awesome to be here at USASA Nationals,” he said. “It’s such a positive event. It brings together every generation and every discipline of snowboarding, so there’s really no more positive place to be — and that includes the Olympics.”
Reiter made headlines leading up to the Olympics by living out of his truck while trying to earn a spot in one of snowboarding’s less-heralded disciplines.
A number of Summit County locals were also among the top finishers during the week of competition.
Competing in the open division, Quinton Jones of Frisco took silver in halfpipe, and fellow Frisco resident Emily Arthur placed second among women. Jones also took bronze in slopestyle behind Asher Humphreys of Breckenridge. Julianne O’Neill of Silverthorne took top honors in the women’s open division slopestyle.
Competition continues next week with USASA freeski nationals starting Sunday, April 6.
Complete snowboarding nationals results are available at www.usasa.org.
“It was a phenomenal experience.”
USASA executive director