Vitalie claims national title in elite rail jam |

Vitalie claims national title in elite rail jam

Becky Regan

Courtesy of Heavenly Mountain Resort

Natalie Vitalie wasn't expecting the podium.

She was hoping to do well and of course make it to finals, but her shiny new gold medal more than covers doing well.

This was Vitalie's first year competing in the elite Open Class division at the United States Snowboarding Association Nationals and the South Shore snowboarder made quite an entrance. She beat 19 of the best snowboarders in the nation for the National Rail Jam title Sunday at Copper Mountain Resort, Colo.

"I was really nervous, but confident," Vitalie said. "I have spent this whole year training for Nationals and I wanted this win so bad."

Vitalie knew she had done well in the first heat, but it was still a long wait to hear her bib number.

"Thankfully they called 1040 and I was pumped," Vitalie said. "I called my family and told them how hard the competition was. I really had no idea if I would make podium."

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Telling her family this was for her grandparents, Vitalie quickly hung up and took off running for the lift. There wasn't much warm-up time before the next heat, and she planned on making the most of it.

"I have never run so hard in my life. I hustled on the course to get as many runs as possible. Thank you Push Fitness for keeping me in great shape, " Vitalie said.

Staying in shape paid off. Endurance is what separated the top riders from the rest as the competition wore on.

"It was pretty awesome hearing the announcer say, 'here comes Natalie on her 30th run'," Vitalie said.

Vitalie kept pushing, like she's done all year, and at the end of day she found herself standing tall on top of the podium.

"If you want something then you have to continue to work hard for it," Vitalie said. UP NEXT: Vitalie will transfer to Sierra Nevada College this fall. She plans on studying digital arts and still competing during the winter.

"A goal for the future is to really get into some backcountry filming," Vitalie said. "I want to be like my idol one day. Kimmy Fasani kills it in the backcountry."

Vitalie’s 2013 Contest Results

March 31: USASA Nationals Rail Jam — 1st

March 16: Diamond Peak Jiblet — 1st

Jan. 26: USASA X-Games Rail Jam — 2nd

Jan. 12: USASA Open Class Rail Jam —1st

Jan. 13: USASA Open Class Slopestyle — 1st

“The most memorable moment this season was when my dad and I drove to Aspen to compete in the USASA X Games rail jam in January. It was awesome having him there when I made podium.”

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