2011 USASA NATIONALS

The 2010 USA Snowboard Association Nationals were once again held at beautiful Copper Mountain in Colorado. 1,641 athletes competed in slopestyle, slalom, halfpipe, giant slalom, boardercross and skiercross events. Snowboard events took place from April 2 – 7 and ski events April 10 – 12. Skiers and snowboarders ages 7 to 60+ who competed in the various age categories to the delight of thousands of proud parents, coaches and other spectators who attended this 10-day event extravaganza on the snow. Weather conditions ranged from excellent winter conditions with blowing snow to excellent spring conditions.

Accommodations
Covering such an exciting event gave me the chance to sample a variety of different lodging alternatives.
The first place that I stayed in was a hotel room with bath located in the Village at Copper Mountain at Village Square. This property is managed by Rocky Mountain Resort Management and they also manage properties at Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail and Beaver Creek.

My accommodations included underground parking with elevator service up to the room. The room with bath was nicely decorated, clean and comfortable. It was furnished with a king-size bed, flat screen TV, small refrigerator, coffee maker, and microwave in the room. Staying here, you also have access to a hot tub, sauna, ans laundry facilities. These accommodations were only a short walk from the slopes and very convenient. There are numerous restaurants and shops in the village, so you can park your car when you arrive and walk to everything you need. Rates for this room range from $95 – $115 per night during the ski season and as low as $60 per night in the summer. The Rocky Mountain Resort Management Co. manages condos that sleep as many as 14 people, so please contact them at (888) 700.2754 for your lodging needs or e-mail them at info@RMRMIC.net. Tell them that the Ski Bum News recommended them.

The next place I stayed at was a one bedroom condo in the town of Breckenridge at Saddlewood Bluff. This was truly a ski-in ski-out condo with a chairlift and ski trails that run right by the livingroom door. This condo sleeps 4 people and has a cozy king-size bed and TV in the master suite and a full-size sleeper sofa in the living room where you can watch the flat-screen TV and relax. The condo is nicely decorated with upscale rustic furniture and the kitchen is loaded with quality cabinetry and granite countertops. Once you are off the mountain, you can relax your sore legs in the private hot tub and watch people ski by on Snowflake Run. This condo also has 2 full bathrooms and a laundry room for your convenience. Rates during the ski season start at $206.50 per night and range up to $436.50 per night for the week between Christmas and New Years, so the per person cost is very reasonable. They even provide FREE shuttle service for getting around town. This property is managed by Breckenridge Accommodations, Inc. They manage properties to meet every need up to private homes that can sleep 25 people. To find out more about available properties in Breckenridge, call (800) 872-8789 or e-mail info@visitbreck.com and tell them that you read about them in the Ski Bum News.

SNOWBOARD EVENTS
Each event was broken down into groups by age and sex. There was the: Open category, and ages 7 & under, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-17, 18-22, 23-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60+. In addition, there was an adaptive category for men and women. Hundreds of riders mounted the podium and took home prized at this event but ALL the competitors were winners in my book.

Slopestyle
I witnessed slopestyle events where athletes in all these age groups competed on rails, jumps and tabletops. It was amazing to see riders start down the course and hit the first rail, many doing tricks on the rail, then heading for a jump. Some even hit the jumps backwards then flipped in the air doing 180s, 360s, 720s And all types of other twists and flips while in the air. This was one of my favorite events. I watched boys and girls, women and men to death-defying tricks all the way down the course. They would hit the jump and start to turn in the air. Some landed facing forward and others landed facing backward and rode that way until they encountered the next rail, tabletop or jump. I saw back flips, front flips, doubles and triples.

In the 14-15 boys category, Peter Brichta of Burnsville MN took hone a gold medal, with Quinton Jones 2nd and Brett Moody 3rdd. The Men’s 18-22 competition saw Andrew Mcisaac lead the pack with Joe Stein placing 2nd and Brandon Monehan 3rd.

Other slopestyle winners were Brett Esser who took the top honors with a Cab 180 on the down rail and switch off, 270 on and off on the cannon, switch back nine, fronside 9, followed up with a cab 900. Ryan Stassel of Anchorage, AK was 2nd and Tyler Anderson from Chanhassen, MN was 3rd.

Notable lady riders included Ty Walker of Stow, VT taking the gold by throwing a big floaty back 3, indy grab and a big back 3. Maddie Mastro of Wrightwood, CA was 2nd and Julianne Brackett of South Lake Tahoe, CA coming in 3rd. Walker showed her skills on the jumps with a big floaty back 3, indy grab and a big back 3.

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 riders go for it, even though some of them could barely get above the lip of the pipe while others older snowboarders were executing tricks with the kind of amplitude and skill seen at World Cup and X Games events.

Kelsey Coghlan from Park City took the gold in the 14-25 year-old category. She was joined on the podium by Noelle Edwards of Stamford, CT 2nd place and Sophie Meade of New York City who was 3rd. The next day saw riders throw down impressing tricks that included huge amplitude and a mix of tricks. The best trick of the day came from Brandon Davis of Mammoth Lakes, CA who threw a massive Haakkon Flip 6 feet out of the pipe. All the riders really stepped it up with their amplitude, technical tricks and style.

The USASA National Team swept the Men’s Open Class event. Taylor Gold took the gold with Brett Esser coming in 2nd and Benjamin Farrow placing 3rd. Ben also took home the top spot in the USASA Monster Mash that afternoon. The ladies saw Rebecca Sinclair of Frisco, CO take top honors with Arielle Gold of Steamboat, CO in 2nd and Jenna Dramise Truckee, CA placing 3rd.

Max Jensesn, 13 years old from Rye, NH tore the pipe up with a McTwist, Frontside 720, Cab 360, Front 540, Backside 540 and an ally-oop rodeo. Maverick Shaw, 12 years old from Bondville, VT took 2nd place with Front and Backside 540’s a Front 7 and a Cab 360. Jake Pates from .Eagle, CO took 3rd. The 10-11 year old class saw Toby Miller go huge to win with 2nd place going to Cody Warble from Edward’s CO who threw a massive Mctwist 7. Blake Moller finished 3rd.

Slolom & Giant Slolom
These events were held on venues high up the mountain, serviced by the Excelerator Quad. The Open Class GS saw 22-year-old Mike Trapp take 2 gold medals in as many days. Madeline Wiencke followed suit, taking home gold medals in Slalom and Giant Slalom as well. Other winners that day in the 12-13 year-old category were Kirk Tears of Essex Junction, VT, Cameron Chaney of Vail, CO, and Cody Winters. Grant Abrahamson of Chanhassen, MN came in 1st place, Dylan Udolf of West Hartford, CT was 2nd and Griffin Hanes of Oakville, NY was 3rd for the 10-11 year old boys.

Bordercross
It was amazing to see the competitors careen down the course 4 or 6 abreast every day. I was particularly impressed by the young riders who battled it out going around banked turns, jumps and rollers on a course where experience skiers like myself fear to tread. Michael Perle, of Saddle River, NJ was awarded a gold medal for first place in the Open Class Men’s division and then donated his prize money to the USASA Scholarship Fund. I was able to view much of the Bordercross events from the chairlift. It was exciting to have a bird’s eye view of the riders flying down the course going over the rollers and fighting it out around banked turns.

THE 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, Apr├Ęs ski activities.

All you shredheads should put the USASA Nationals on your list for a really exciting competition. Copper is a great mountain to ride and I can assure you that you will have an excellent time.