USASA NATIONALS RULE
by Paul Maraschiello

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Over 1,900 skiers and riders competed for honors at the 2015 USA Snowboard Association Snowboard and Freestyle Nationals at Copper Mountain. This was the largest event ever held at Copper and the first time that the FIS and Nor Am co-sanctioning the event. 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 at the Silver Mill Condominiums in the River Run Village at Keystone. My one-bedroom condo had a balcony that over looked the outdoor hot tubs and the main shops and restaurants. It had a spacious livingroom, galley kitchen and bath. The 1st floor lobby at Silver Mill features a pool table, large flat screen TV with comfy sofas and a wet bar with a microwave and mini-fridge with an elevator that took me you up to my room. An underground heated parking garage is another great amenity at Silver Mill Condominiums. There is a fitness room with a treadmill, weight rack, elliptical machine, stationary bike, flat screen TV, and room to stretch and work out.

For lodging accommodations, just call 877-250-7750 and tell them you read about them in the Ski Bum News.

I met a lot of great skiers and riders representing ski areas from all over. Eleven Countries were represented: USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, France, Spain, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Korea and Norway. 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.

Rodger Carver (Placerville, CA) and Maria Ramberger (AUT) were named Nor Am Overall Champions. Winners in each event were called to the podium and received medals for their respective events.

HIGHLIGHTS
This event saw the first appearance of skiers in the Exhibition Banked Slalom event. The event saw 174 snowboarded and freeskier athletes compete for USASA National Championship medals on the Copper Mountain's Lower Bittersweet Banked Slalom course. The Freeski winner in the Men's division of the Open Class BSL event was Eric Tompkins from the New York based Catskill Mountain Series. There were no female competitors in the Women's Open Class Freeski category for today's BSL event.

In Boardercross, the snowboarders 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.

Skiercross was a similar event except that skiers were competing instead of snowboarders. This event was just as exciting as the Boardercross event and it was great to see young skiers flying down the course vying for first place.

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.

During the week-long 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. If you would like to see a week-filled snowboard and ski event, make plans to attend the USASA Nationals next spring. You'll have a great time! For more information about the USA Snowboard Association, just click http://usasa.org and tell them you read about them in the Ski Bum News.

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