Three locals head to X-Games after USASA rail jam |

Three locals head to X-Games after USASA rail jam

Special to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (TDT) – The second USASA Rail Jam was held last Friday at the South Shore Snow parking lot at the “Y.” Not only was this a qualifier for the national championships but there were also spots in the USASA rail jam to be held at the X-Games up for grabs.

When it was all said and done, judges selected the top riders and skiers in each discipline to receive invitations to compete in Aspen on Jan. 28.

But before all of that took place, the scaffolding and rail were set up early in the day and snow was delivered from the South Tahoe Ice Arena. Volunteers and staff worked hard all day to prepare for the evening’s competition. The staff at South Shore Snow prepared for a large crowd and organized prizes for the event raffle. Beach Hut Deli was on hand to serve nachos and sandwiches for hungry spectators. A community event, with community support.

Once things got rolling though, there was a battle for the podium again in the snowboard boys’ 13 and under class.

In the end, 9-year-old Tony Piccinonno came out on top, followed by 11-year-old Shane Aaron and 13-year-old ripper Dustin Orr.

Local Claire Hewitt-Demeyer won first place in the snowboard open women class, followed by Tasha Sagucka and USASA national team rider Julianne Brackett. In the men’s open class, Marco Gooding came out on top followed closely by Mathew Jones and Anthony Corbo.

It wasn’t until after the riding and awards that the X-Game nominees were announced. Randy Hess, 21, (snowboard men), Natalie Vitalie, 19, (snowboard women) and Skyler Smith, 14, (skier men) were selected for the coveted invitations. They will be competing with other USASA athletes on Saturday Jan. 28 in Aspen Colorado during the X-Games. It is not an X-Games event, but an USASA rail jam held at the X-games.

They will have the opportunity to compete for a large cash purse on the same feature as the pro rail jam held earlier in the week’s televised competition.

Series Director CarolAnne Giustina said “This is a great opportunity to showcase these rider’s talents before a large crowd and bound to be a great experience for all involved. We are happy to have these spots for the Series and are excited for them to go to Aspen.”

For more information on the USASA South Tahoe Series, please visit

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