Slush sets tone for Nationals |

Slush sets tone for Nationals

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Adam McLeish rounds a gate during Sunday's slalom at the U.S. Alpine Snowboard Nationals at Breckenridge.

Looking up at the Sundown run from the base of Breckenridge’s Beaver Run SuperChair on Sunday at noon, a snake-like track in the snow was perfectly visible.

The rut was the result of the first run of the U.S. Alpine Snowboard Nationals slalom event.

As temperatures crept up into the mid-60s, the snow softened up into a classic spring-skiing slush, not exactly the conditions most racers are used to.

“This is the softest snow I’ve ever raced on,” said Sean Smarse, a New Hampshire snowboarder who is used to much harder conditions.

But the boarders made adjustments and used the right wax, and the contest came together to crown two alpine snowboarding champions in slalom.

In the men’s race, Quebec’s Philippe Berube used his second run to make up a .18-second deficit to Japan’s Fuyuki Hattori to win the men’s title. Berube’s combined time after two runs was 1 minute, 13.66 seconds, while Hattori’s was 1:14.97.

“It was hard,” said Berube of the soft conditions.

“It was really bumpy and really sketchy and I was just trying to survive. I knew it was going to be soft, but you just have to follow the land and it’s all good.”

David Manthei of Steamboat Springs rounded out the podium in third place (1:16.79), beating Aspen’s Chris Klug by .11 seconds (1:16.90).

In the women’s race, Tomoka Takeuchi of Japan laid out a scorcher of a first run, finishing it in 35.35 seconds, the fourth fastest time of the day among both men and women.

The run proved to be untouchable, as even though Takeuchi’s second run was only the fifth fastest among the women, no one could make up the difference on Takeuchi’s combined time of 1:18.38.

Boulder’s Lisa Kosglow of the U.S. Team came the closest, winning the second run for a combined time of 1:20.46.

“This is awesome,” Kosglow said.

“I haven’t really done any racing or training over the last two months, so I’m super pleased.”

Kimiko Zakreski of Calgary and Constance Boisvert of Quebec tied for third at 1:22.33.

Notes: Breckenridge native Justin Goto-Reiter posted the third fastest time of the first run at 35.56, but missed a gate in a difficult transition near the finish of the second run and was disqualified … The event also served as a finals for the Race to the Cup series. Klug and Stacia Hookum won the overall titles for slalom in that series … Yesterday’s dual slalom women’s winner Michelle Gorgone did not finish her second run.

Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or at

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