Nationals on tap for local snowboarders
SUMMIT COUNTY – The Team Summit snowboard team leaves this weekend for the United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) Nationals at Sunday River in Maine with a mixture of veterans and rookies to the competition.
Summit has brought home several overall age-class titles from nationals in the past, and the team feels as ready as ever to take on the best amateur riders in the country in five freestyle and alpine disciplines.
“All the kids have a lot of contest experience in our local series (at Copper Mountain),” said Team Summit snowboard coach Jim Smith. “We feel real prepared.”
Part of Summit’s success at this event has been its ability to come together as a team. The 18 riders and two coaches (Smith and alpine coach Chuck Bolden) will travel to Bethel, Maine, separately but will gather Monday for registration and inspection of the slalom, giant slalom, boardercross and slopestyle courses as well as the halfpipe.
During competition days (Tuesday through Saturday), the team will convene in the morning before scattering to the various venues, and at the end of the day, it will reconvene for awards and a nightly waxing party.
“We don’t use the word team lightly,” Smith said. “We’re a team, and we’re together, we’re cheering for each other the whole way. And we have a really good time.”
After a season of competing together in the Copper Series, the team is already tight knit.
“We support each other 150 percent,” said 17-year-old Silverthorne rider Libby Pansing. “It’s fun to go watch everyone else compete and cheer them on. They’re my best friends.”
Pansing is competing at nationals for her second year. Last year’s event was at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., where she was seventh in boardercross and 22nd in halfpipe in the Junior Women class.
Last year’s experience gives her an idea of what to expect and a goal for this year: “To do better than I did last year, try to place higher and keep doing well.”
Other veterans of nationals from Team Summit who are returning this year are: Jake and Zack Black, Dylan and Clair Bidez, Tyler, Paul and Kim Krahulec, Walker Savidge, Jamie Bishop, Joe Culgin, Ben Cope, Jessie Hazen and Steven MacCutcheon.
The first-timers are: Austin McGrane, Mike Campbell, Kyle Waters and Garrick Abt.
Abt, a 13-year-old competitor from Dillon, is one of the rare riders who will compete in all five events. His best shot is in Boardercross in the Breaker Boys division.
“I expect there to be a lot of people better than me,” he said. “I’m hoping to do well, but just going to nationals was my main goal.”
The winners of each age division in the Copper Series earned a spot in nationals. There were also discretionary wildcard spots awarded.
Other local riders earned spots through the Avon-based Snowboard Outreach Society series. They include: Justin Smith, Dave Miner, Jesse Csincsak, Adam Kisiel, Elizabeth Wierman, Ryan Van Winkle and Kathleen Sullivan.
Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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