Local youth athletes grow skills despite nationals cancellation
Regional, virtual contests still taking place
The United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Nationals at Copper Mountain Resort may be canceled for the second straight year, but local winter sports clubs directors and coaches believe the season has been a successful one for local youth.
While pandemic regulations canceled nationals and some other competitions, Team Summit Executive Director C.B. Bechtel said it was encouraging that Team Summit was able to host its first race series of the season at Breckenridge Ski Resort on Monday, Jan. 11 and Tuesday, Jan. 12. Bechtel described the race season as “normal, just being run a little bit different.”
Bechtel said Team Summit mogul skiers were also able to compete in Aspen this weekend, their second competition of the season.
The organization’s snowboard and freeski athletes are the most affected by the cancellation of the national competition. Team Summit Snowboard Program Director Matt Voegtle said the USASA’s regional and Futures Tour contests will keep many of his snowboarders busy through the season.
Voegtle also said the USASA’s virtual video submission contest was something his snowboarders spent time on. Team Summit riders like Eli Stroker, who won the boys 7-10 age group, and Renner Fitzhugh, who finished third in boys 10-13, devoted several hours over a few days for the virtual contest.
As for the skills of young snowboarders, Voegtle thinks the young riders are progressing “above normal” right now. That’s thanks to a lot of warm days, which are ideal for spending time in the terrain park. The team was able to put in time over the summer on snow at Woodward Copper.
Voegtle said the USASA Nationals cancellation most directly affects skiers and riders 12 and younger.
“Nationals is really kind of for them and it is a really fun experience for them,” Voegtle said. “USASA Nationals doesn’t lead to the next step anymore. But it is a place where kids make a lot of friends and get to hang out for a full week with lots of snowboarding. It’s a good time.”
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