USASA national champ’s come to Copper
COPPER MOUNTAIN – The United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) is holding its 16th annual national championships Monday through Friday at Copper Mountain.More than 1,600 athletes have qualified. Copper race coordinator Erin Silver expects more than 1,400 to compete. After experiencing the hectic nature of the Winter Gravity Games in March, Silver said the USASA championships will be easier to plan and execute. “(The Gravity Games) just helped us figure out how to handle these big events,” Silver said. “This is going to be a big one.”
Men and women will be separated into several age groups, from the “Ruggie 7 and under” class, to the “Methusalah 60 and over.” And contrary to its name, the event will not be snowboarders only. Men’s and women’s skiers will be broken up into 16-and under and 17-and over divisions. There is also adaptive men’s and women’s divisions. Each day will feature giant slalom, slalom, halfpipe, slopestyle and boardercross events. More than 40 local competitors qualified for the event through the Copper Mountain Snowboard Series. They range in age from Flynt Doyal in the Grommet 8-9 division to William Putnam and Julio Machado in the Kahuna men’s 50-59 division.Other Copper qualifiers include Elspeth Monigle, Laura Munch, Meade Parks, Dylan Bidez, Jake Black and Peggy Martin, among others.
Wildernest resident Kim Krahulec is competing in the open class of every event. The 17-year-old said her best event is boardercross, which happens to award an X Games spot to the winner. “I think I have a shot,” Krahulec said. “I’ve been doing boardercross for four or five years, but I really got into it this year.” Krahulec said she was planning to leave today for the snowboarding FIS Junior World Championships in Switzerland, but the event was cancelled. The cancellation has added a number of top competitors to the USASA field.Copper Mountain is still looking for volunteers to help in any way during the championships. Volunteers will receive two lift tickets to Copper per day that are valid through the 2005-2006 ski season.
Last year’s national champioships were at Angel Fire, N.M., and drew roughly 9,000 people. If the same turnout comes to Copper, it could surpass the highly-publicized Gravity Games as a money-making event for the resort. “It’s a different crowd of people,” Copper spokeswoman Jamie Wilson said. “Gravity Games had 255 athletes, this week we’ll have 1,600, and all of their families. The mountain will be very busy all week.” “There’s going to be so many kids here it’s going to be ridiculous,” Krahulec said. “The (Copper) race department should be able to handle it. They are really good at that stuff.”Andy Frame can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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