USASA series preps riders for junior nationals |

USASA series preps riders for junior nationals

Chad Sellmer, Tribune staff writer

The United States Amateur Snowboarders Association series continued over two days last weekend at Sierra-at-Tahoe, with Heavenly Ski Foundation members taking home some of the top honors, as well as enjoying a surprise visit from the national press.

Producers of the television news program “60 Minutes” came out to film some action shots of 13-year-old HSF snowboarder Roger Carver of Placerville for an upcoming special on him, expected to air on the CBS network sometime in the next two or three weeks.

On Saturday, Feb. 8, HSF’s David Bosson finished first in the slopestyle open class with a best score of 28.9, followed in second by Danny Rein with 27.4, Jenner Estrada in third with 16.3, HSF’s Wes Klahn in fourth with 15.7 and Asa Martinez was fifth with 10.9. Maribeth Swetkoff finished first in the open class women’s division with a score of 18.6.

On Sunday, Feb. 9, HSF’s Klahn won the open division of the superpipe competition with a best score of 22.5, followed by teammates Ari Giovenco in second with 18.3 and Bosson in third with 16.9. Joanie Anderson of Sierra-at-Tahoe won the open class women’s division with a best score of 18.

The superpipe competition was supposed to be held at Heavenly but was switched to Sierra because Heavenly’s superpipe is not ready, according to Sierra-at-Tahoe’s communications director Nicole Belt.

Heavenly coach Ed McClain is pleased with the way his team’s season has gone, noting that South Tahoe has some standout athletes who are making the jump from a local to a national stage. Some of them will advance to compete in the junior national championships March 24-30 in Sunday River, Maine.

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“South Tahoe has won the most medals (of any region in the nation) three years in a row, and we’re looking to defend that,” McClain said. “We’ve been really lucky with the weather. Our contests all had clear skies and sunny weather.

“It gets really exciting and difficult this time of year, as nationals approach, to see who will go and to plan for the events,” he added.

Who goes to junior nationals (and worlds, held afterward) is determined by overall points in the series. The first-place finisher in each age division gets an invitation, as well as a few wild-card entries. That means that of the 45 HSF members, only 10-15 will be invited to compete at nationals, McClain said, noting that nationals is one of the largest snowboarding-related events in the country, with more than 1,200 participants.

“It’s over five days, with five venues each day, so every single day there is a slalom, a giant slalom, boardercross, halfpipe and slopestyle,” he said.

South Tahoe Snowboard Series co-director Donna Vano, whose non-profit organization places her in an active role in youth snowboarding, noted that only two series events remain before junior nationals, a GS on Feb. 22 at Kirkwood and a superpipe on March 1 at Sierra.

She, too, is proud to be involved in local snowboarding.

“We’re trying to be mentors for our children in this community, to build self- esteem, keep them out of trouble and focused on catching their dreams,” she said. “We had five athletes in the X Games, so I think that speaks volumes about what we’re doing here. We are the number one series in the country and we (always) have been.

“We couldn’t accomplish this without the fantastic support of our group of volunteer parents. Not one kid or participant this weekend left empty- handed. We also give away thousands of dollars in products at these events.”

Full results from the Feb. 8-9 events at Sierra-at-Tahoe will appear in today’s scoreboard.