2011 USASA SKI NATIONALS
by Paul Maraschiello

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The 2010 USA Snowboard Association Ski Nationals were also held at Copper Mountain, Colorado on April 10 - 12. Skiers ages 7 to 60+ competed in slopestyle, halfpipe and skiercross events. Weather conditions were excellent and the competition was intense.

Accommodations
For the ski events, I stayed at a really excellent ski lodge located in Frisco called the Galena Street Mountain Inn. This classic ski lodge boasts a light, spacious, newly remodeled interior with fifteen beautifully furnished guest-rooms. My room had a king size bed, 32" flat screen television, private bathroom, and a window seat with a beautiful view. They served wine and cheese each day at happy hour and the people running the lodge were very interesting and really friendly. Each morning they served a complementary breakfast that included fresh-baked breads, homemade granola with yogurt, fresh fruits and breakfast entree (omelette, pancakes, etc.) made .

Common areas include a very comfortable great room complete with a fireplace, mini library, board games and TV. There is a large dining area where I enjoyed the delicious breakfast each morning. They have a whirlpool/hot tub and sauna adjacent to the sun-deck. They even have a game room complete with a pool table, and foosball table to entertain guests. They are only one block from Main St., so you can walk to the restaurants where you will find a wide variety of excellent food and beverages.

Room rates: Winter $139 - $179 (regular winter), Holiday $169 - $209, Spring $109 - $129 and Summer $129 - $159.

I have stayed at many ski lodges and B&Bs over the years and the Galena Street Mountain Inn is one of the best. Isabella and Don are really nice people and go out of their way to make all their guests feel at home. The guests that I met at this inn stay there often, which is one of the best recommendations a B&B can have. If you are planning a trip to Summit County, look into staying at Galena Street Mountain Inn. They are just a short ride to Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapaho Basin, and Loveland ski areas. Please call (970) 668-3224 or e-mail them at info@galenastreet.com and tell them that they were highly recommended by the Ski Bum News.



SKI EVENTS
Each ski event was broken into groups by age and sex. There was the age 7 & under category, ages: 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-17, 18-22, 23-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+, and Open category. In addition, there was an adaptive category for men and women. With 78 medals being handed out, it is impossible to mention all those who made it to the podium. In my book, All the skiers who competed are WINNERS! But here are some of the highlights.



Slopestyle
I had the pleasure of witnessing slopestyle events every day, where athletes in all these age groups competed on rails, jumps and tabletops. It was amazing to see skiers start down the course. On the first rail some of the skiers did tricks right on the rail. Some skiers turned around while heading for the jump and hit the jump backwards then flipped in the air doing 180s, 360s, 720s and tricks that I can't even describe. There were twists combined with flips while the skiers flew through the air. This is one of my favorite freeskiing events. I watched men and women, and boys and girls do death-defying tricks all the way down the course. Some landed facing forward and others landed facing backward and skied backwards until they encountered the next rail, tabletop or jump. I saw back flips, front flips, doubles and triples. In the Open Class (over 19 years), there was a tough battle for 1st place. Cody Cirillo took home the gold for the men and Emily Wint topped the podium for the women.

Michael Lampe placed 1st for the 9 and under boys, followed by James Marren in 2nd and Austin Hooker 3rd. For the girls in this age group, Svea Irving took home the gold medal with Isabella Neibel 2nd and Saylar McGuiness 3rd. These kids are pushing the sport and I can't even imagine where the this event will be in just a few years.

Halfpipe
I also witnessed a lot of great air in the halfpipe which was located right in front of the base lodge. It was interesting to see really young skiers go for it. Skiers were executing tricks with amplitude and skill. Peter Crook took the gold medal in Open Class that came with $1,000! Aaron Blunck was 2nd and Lyman Currier was 3rd and both received checks for $500 and $250, respectively. As a result, these athletes are also now ranked as part of the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP).



For the women's Open Class Maddie Bowman who took home the gold, Kendall Deighan the silver, and Annalise Johnson the bronze medal. These gals also received checks and AFP points.



Skiercross
It was amazing to see the skiers battle their way down the course 4 or 6 abreast every day. I was impressed by the young skiers who fought it out around banked turns, jumps and rollers. Skiercross hosted a huge group of skiers, One notable were those 13 - 18 years of age who fought it out in their respective age groups to become 2011 Skiercross Champions. In the end, Erik Wehse, Peter Palumbo, and Peter White took the medals for 13-15 year old skier men.



THE MOUNTAIN
As I visited the various venues, I was able to make a few turns and check out some of the really great slopes at this BIG mountain. I skied expert trails like Mine Dump, Spalding Bowel, and Brennan's Grin. I liked the snow on Copperopolis and made many runs down Main Vein and Bittersweet as I made my way from venue to venue.



I did a little exploring and made a few runs down the slopes served by the Timberline Express quad. Little Burn was bumped up by Windsong was in great shape every time I skied it. I never made it up to the bowls on the top of the mountain. I was too busy photographing all the snowboard events. To really ski all of Copper, you need to take a week and explore this mountain.

Stats
Copper has 2,465 acres of skiable terrain with a 2,601 ft. vertical services by 22 lifts that include 1 six-person, high-speed lift; 4 high-speed quads; 5 triple chairlifts; 5 double chairlifts and 7 surface lifts. There are 2,465 skiable acres and 125 market trails. They usually average over 300 inches of snowfall and experienced 390 inches of snow this season. Additional Activities include: Ice Skating, Snowshoeing, Tubing, Snowmobiling, Sleigh Rides, Dog Sledding, Cross Country Skiing, Racquet and Athletic Club, Spa Facilities, Shopping, Dining, Après ski activities.



If you've never skied at Copper (or even if you have) put this world-class ski area on your short list. A ski trip to Copper mountain is a real fun adventure. Excellent slopes combine with up-scale food and drink make this an excellent choice for winter fun.

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