2009 USASA NATIONALS
by Paul Maraschiello

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Over 1,500 skiers and riders competed for honors at the 2009 USA Snowboard Nationals at Copper Mountain. I've covered many ski and snowboard competitions over the years but have never seen so many talented skiers and riders from age six to 60+ from all over the country. Competitions were held in Slalom, Giant Slalom, Slopestyle, Halfpipe, Bordercross, and Skiercross. In addition to the contestants, the event was attended by thousands of parents and other spectators who watched the events and skied the many trails that Copper has to offer.



Accommodations
I was staying 24 miles from Copper in a charming B&B in Leadville, a real Wild West mining town that hosted such famous Western characters as Doc Holiday, Cole-Younger Gang, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Texas Jack, Oscar Wilde, and countless others are known to have stayed in the wild Leadville community including the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, and Baby Doe Tabor. I really enjoyed my stay Peri & Ed's Mountain Hideaway. This B&B is a nonsmoking establishment with 10 guest rooms in a large Victorian boarding house nestled in the pines with great mountains views. They serve a serve a full country family style breakfast every morning in the dining room and have a large-screen TV in the livingroom. Most rooms have more than one bed and a private bath and are suitable for families with children. My room was very comfortable. Room rates range from $49.00 - $159.00 for two depending on the room selected. Extra children (age 6-12) are $5 each. Additional adults are $10 each per night. This B&B is located at 201 West 8th St., just one block off Leadville's main street. For reservations call: (800) 933-3715 and tell them the Ski Bum News recommended them. These comfortable, economic accommodations are convenient to the historic Cooper Ski Area, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge and Vail. In the summer it is just a short ride over the pass to Aspen.

USASA National Contests
I met a lot of great skiers and riders representing ski areas from all over the USA and Canada. Young and not-so-young athletes were demonstrating their skills in a variety of venues. The halfpipe was setup at the bottom of the mountain and I was able to watch the performance of skiers and riders in the pipe while enjoying lunch at the outdoor café. I had lunch one afternoon with Sandor Borsiczky who hails from Stowe. It turned out that he's my age and still competes in GS on his snowboard. At his invitation, I watched the snowboard GS race and Darren Ratcliffe (Steamboat Springs, CO) placed 1st in the Mens OPEN Snowboard class with Garrett Sorteberg (Park City, UT) 2nd, Michael Trapp (Hyannis, MA) 3rd, and Rodger Carver (Placerville, CA) placing 4th.

For the Women, Alexa Loo (Richmond, BC) took the gold with Madeline Wiencke (White Bear Lake, MN) in 2nd, Heather Herde (Salt Lake City, UT) 3rd, and Cassandra Wagar (Steamboat Springs, CO) 4th. It was really great to see these riders slice and dice down the course.



In Boardercross, the riders lined up six abreast and battled down the course which was filled with burms, jumps and banked turns that made the race look like the "Chinese Downhill" from the cult freestyle movie "Hotdog". The competition was exciting with crashes and many lead changes. For the Women's Open Class, it was Amy Iredale Mont (Tremblant, PQ) who was the winner with Julianne Brackett (South Lake Tahoe) 2nd, Carrie Uren (Randle, WA) 3rd, and Kiana Putman (Anchorage, AK) 4th. There were numerous awards for competitors in every class much to the delight of the crowd. In the Young Women's Class, Alexa Dash from Holiday Valley, NY took the gold.

For the Men, Rodger Carver (Placerville, CA) came in 1st, Bobby Minghini (South Lake Tahoe, CA) was 2nd, Alex Diebold (Boulder, CO) placed 3rd and Rob Rudy (Palo Alto, CA) was 4th.



In the Open Skier Class, it was Trevor Ricioli (South Lake Tahoe, CA) who led the pack for the men, Kyle Kracht (South Lake Tahoe, CA) 2nd, Kevin Adamson (Dillon, CO) 3rd, and Steven Kutsch (Mammoth Lakes, CA) 4th.

For the gals, it was Francesca Pavillard-Cain (Steamboat Springs, CO) in 1st place, Sarah Koehler (Kennewick, WA) 2nd, Tiffany Stewart (Cascade, ID) 3rd and Bo Jaymes Forster (Aspen, CO) 4th in the Open Skier competition.



In the Open Halfpipe Class for the Men, it was snowboarder Ben Stewart (Copper, CO) who dazzled the crowd with his 1st place performance with Paul Brichta (Burnsville, MN) 2nd, Kenny Ballou (Hailey, ID) 3rd and local Brett Esser (Silverthorne, CO) 4th.

For the Women, it was Kaitlyn Farrington (Bellevue, ID) who took the gold with her amplitude and fancy tricks. Kelly Marren (Hillsborough, CA) was edged out and came in 2nd, Molly Wilson (Basalt, CO) placed 3rd and Kyla Sobieralski (Basalt, CO) was 4th. Skiers and riders went BIG to win and demonstrated their ability to complete sick tricks and wow the crowd.



In the Open Women's Slalom Class, it was Madeline Wiencke (White Bear Lake, MN) who took home the gold, Alexa Loo (Richmond, BC) was 2nd, Erica Mueller (Steamboat Springs, CO) came in 3rd and Heather Herde (Salt Lake City, UT) was 4th.

The Men's Open Slalom Class found Michael Trapp (Hyannis, MA) leading the pack with Garrett Sorteberg (Park City, UT) 2nd, Anton Pogue (Hood River, OR) 3rd and Indrik Trahan (Trois-rivieres, Quebec) in 4th



For me, the most exciting event was the Slopestyle competition with it's jumps, rails, and tabletops. Skiers and riders pushed off from the start and hit the first jump. Some hit the jumps head on and others turned backwards to make their jump. They threw flips, grabs and other fancy stuff and I was really impressed as they charged down the course, going from jump to rail to jump and tabletop. Their time was well-spent in the terrain parks considering the great show that they put on for the crowd of spectators who were there cheering them on.

In the Open Women's Snowboard Class, it was Anton Pogue (Hood River, OR) who took the gold, Indrik Trahan (Trois-rivieres, Quebec) placed 2nd, Michelle Zeller (Boulder, CO) was 3rd, and Stephanie Feld (Steamboat Springs, CO) was 4th.

For the Men's Open Snowboard Class, it was local, Brett Esser (Silverthorne, CO) who was the winner with Benjamin Farrow (Mount Holly, VT) in 2nd, Eric Beauchemin (Grand Blanc, MI) 3rd and Drew Brighton (Park City, UT) 4th.

In the Men's Open Skier Slopestyle Class, Marshall Mcgonegal (Eden, UT) finished in 1st place local David Zweig (Frisco, CO) was 2nd, Jim Borchardt (Wolcott, CO) was 3rd, and Steven Kutsch (Mammoth Lakes, CA) was 4th. For the women skiers, Julia Marino (Winchester, MA) aced out Holly Hind (Valencia, CA) for the gold.



The OVERALL winner for the men was Val Stepanchuk (Costa Mesa, CA) with a score of 890. For the OVERALL women, Julianne Brackett (South Lake Tahoe, CA) tied with Molly Cooney (Telluride, CO) posting a score of 2375.



In addition, the Altgames were also held as part of the event, where college athletes competed. I got some great shots of these skiers and snowboarders doing their stuff on the Slopestyle course. Big jumps, gnarly tricks and big hits were like candy to my camera and these skiers and riders were really thrilling. The event showcased the college action sports championships with more than 500 competitors from 45 different colleges and universities nationwide expected to compete. CBS Sports will air a one-hour kick-off special on Saturday, May 16 (2:00 PM, ET) with full HD coverage on Sunday, May 17.



During the seven days of competition, there were contests and races for children and adults of every age and a great time was had by all. As far as I'm concerned, EVERY COMPETITOR was a winner. There were 10-year-old skiers that could put me to shame and riders under four feet tall who could go faster and trounce you in the halfpipe and take BIG air off the jumps like a pro. If you get a chance to attend the USASA Nationals, don't pass it up. If you're a really good skier or rider, sign-up and compete. You're guaranteed to have a great time.

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