Leland and Gray Snowboard Team Update

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20 February 2012

TOWNSHEND, VT It was a long week for the team. They started out on Monday at Bromley Mountain competing in a Snowboard Cross event, which was a bit more technical than they had seen before. The United States Amateur Snowboard Association has races every weekend, qualifying athletes for the National championships in Copper, Colorado, and when they have an event, they leave a course behind that is built a level above the quality of the average terrain our team ever sees. Boardercross is a combination of all the Snowboard disciplines; it contains features such as jumps and banked turns like Slopestyle and gates like Giant Slalom and Slalom races. The added difficulty, aside from the aforementioned, is that there are 4 riders vying for the finish at the same time. Each set of four has an elimination of two, with two advancing to the next heat. Each consecutive bracket gets more difficult as the level of riding gets more intense.

Kelsey Bruder rode the Boardercross course like a champ despite having a bit of difficulty during her practice run. She crashed and her knee hit her face

DSC07612and a black eye ensued over the next week, growing more colorful as the days went by.  In spite of this, she nabbed 5th place, first in the consolation round.

The boys did not fare so well. Ethan Robinson tried this out for the first time and did not make it past the first round. I am sure he will be back for more though. His riding is solid and he will not let this one go. The Winot brothers each advanced to the second round, only to face off with each other and two others, who, unfortunately, were faster than they. Shane Arsenault made it to the second round as well but could not pull through to make it to the finals. Watch for all these boys in Boardercross to make some headlines in 2013.DSC07485

Tuesday found us at Killington for the last Halfpipe contest of the season before the State Championships.

This venue was created for the Dew Tour, which is a high end professional Snowboard event. The walls are about 22 feet tall and they were solid ice since the temperatures were hovering around 25 degrees. As Halfpipes go, it was a dream pipe, but these athletes had never seen anything this size in their lives.

DSC07634-2Kelsey Bruder rode well and threw her front side 360 and followed up with an alley-oop to complete her run and pulled in a 4th place finish. Emily Stockwell did not want to ride in this monster, but after some coaxing, rode like a champ (a first time champ, but a champ nonetheless). She rode in to a 13th place  finish with a basic run.

James Crowther had an incredible first run with a couple of set up hits and then pulled out a 540 with a lien grab, method grab, lien air, tail grab, and a front side/Indy grab to finish it off. All of the hits were above the lip; overall a very technical run. This was a first place run until Justin Frybarger of Rutland High went about 7 feet out on every hit, but failed to do anything technical. The judges had a contentious argument about the merits of each run, but in the end, felt that amplitude trumped spins. James tried to push his second run a bit more and fell, which made him have to rely on his first run for his placement of  second.

Adam Beatty pulled in to a 14th place finish, Andy Weitzel came in 20th,  Tanner Winot slid into 23rd, and Shane Arsenault brought up the end with a 30th place finish. I have to say, as a former judge for freestyle events, Shane got ripped off in the scoring for his run. Technically his run was above the others, but in judged events, you are at the mercy of the judges and their ideas of what makes great run, and this was not the day for Shane.

DSC07921Thursday was our team’s adventure to Okemo for the State Championships in Giant Slalom. It was a beautiful day on the snow. The temperatures were in the mid 30’s, which made the snow very nice to ride on. The last time we were here for GS, the course was basically a sheet of ice and our riders worked it like champs. For this contest, we did not have a full contingent of riders and so could not place as a team. They all did their best though. Kelsey Bruder was in the top ten after her first run, but she fell on the third gate, which made her fall behind and end up in 21st place, which is not bad after falling as hard as she did. Emily Stockwell was not as confident coming into this race and ended up in 31st place. For the boys, we had Shane Arsenault and Adam Beattie who kept themselves healthy enough to make it this far in the season. Unfortunately, we have had a few injuries among some of our better riders, so we could not compete as a team. Shane's first run brought him into 34th place, and on his second run he shaved a second and a half off his time, moving him up two places to 32nd place. Adam’s first run was not so great and landed him in 52nd place, though on his second run he shaved off 4 seconds and he moved up to 47th place.

DSC07271This was not the best day for Leland and Gray and I think a lot of it had to do with not having a full team. Our next contests are the State Championships on March 8 and 9, a Thursday and a Friday. They are Slopestyle and half pipe, respectively. These contests will be held at Okemo again and this time we should have a full team representing for the boys, along with Kelsey and Emily representing for the girls.