Summit riders clean up at USASA Nationals
The weather in New Mexico last weekend was the sort that made you wish you had packed sandals and shorts instead of snowboard gear.
But the 1,118 athletes who converged on the Angel Fire resort in New Mexico last week for the USASA Snowboard National Championships didn’t seem to mind- they put on sunscreen and carved through the slush.
The riders competed in five event: slalom, giant slalom, boardercross, slopestyle, and freestyle. There are over 30 USASA rider categories, and Summit County had riders in almost all of them.
Summit riders dominate
The Summit riders who qualified for Nationals over the course of the ’03-’04 season came ready for any snow conditions. Some, like 15-year-old Jake Black of Keystone, came away with some respectable hardware.
Black, a veteran Team Summit member and sophomore at Summit High School, competed in all five events in the 14-15 age group. He took the silver in halfpipe, his best event. With 95 other competitors in his age group, this was no easy task.
“This is a really big deal for Jake,” said Annie Black, Jake’s mother. “It was a pretty high pressure event.”
Jake bagged the halfpipe silver medal with a solid frontside 900 with a melon grab and a frontside 540 with a mute grab.
“It feels really good because I’ve been working all year for that,” Black said.
With a solid showing in alpine events (fourth in slalom, 12th in GS), Black also managed to take second overall out of 18 Youth Men in alpine/freestyle combined and second overall in all five events.
Team Summit coach Jim Smith said he is proud of Black’s performance and is looking forward to seeing how far he can go.
“He’s got a great attitude, and he’s ready to take it to the next level,” said Smith.
“Next season I’m going to try to get him some pro experience.”
Smith said he would encourage Black to enter some professional competitions.
Tara Paladi of Dillon also let it all hang out for the five events.
Paladi took the gold medal in halfpipe and finished first in overall alpine ranking, and second in freestyle and second in the five combined events.
“I was just stoked to have such good competition in my age group,” she said.
She expanded her horizons this season by competing in GS, slalom and slopestyle for the first time, and she placed second, first and third respectively.
Silverthorne’s Kim Krahulec, who normally races 16-17, upgraded to the Open class and finished third in boardercross and had strong finishes in the other four events. Krahulec took second place overall.
If there had been an award for the happiest guy to win a gold medal, Meade Parks would have won it hands down.
Parks, the dining room manager at the Blue Spruce Inn in Frisco, has won four other gold medals in giant slalom and slalom in the past, but since Everett McEwan of Littleton came up to Parks’ age group, 30-39, the slalom gold has been elusive.
“It’s a very friendly competition between us,” says Parks. “We like racing each other. We even room and travel together sometimes.”
Jimmy Simons, of Silverthorne, competed in all five events in the 30-39 age group and finished fourth in halfpipe and third overall.
Frisco’s Walker Savidge took silvers in giant slalom and slalom in the 14-15 Youth Men, and second place in overall alpine ranking.
Teammate Garrick Abt of Frisco took a silver in boardercross and Gabby Viteri of Silverthorne placed fourth in Open Women slopestyle.
Frisco’s Flynt Doyle made it to the championships after his first year of competition.
“I was really happy to see (him) make it,” said Smith. “It was his first competitive season, and he made it in all the events that he competes in.”
Doyle competes in boardercross, slopestyle, and halfpipe. His best finish was 10th in slopestyle.
Smith said he was proud of the entire team’s effort this season.
“I feel good, you know,” he said.
“The kids worked hard all season to get there, and our hard work paid off. Next season, we’ll work hard again, and do the best we can at our local series, and take the kids out there and try to kick butt again.”
Athletes, ranging in age from 5 to 70, qualify for Nationals by winning in their specific region.
Every year, the number of regions and members has grown, and many of these young riders have become famous snowboard stars, for example, Tara Dakides, Peter Line, Claire Bidez and Hana Beaman. USASA acts as a launching pad for international and professional competition.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User