Elder wins snowboard event | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Elder wins snowboard event

Steve Yingling

It was a snowboard competition Lake Tahoe couldn’t lose: Kristie Elder of South Lake Tahoe vs. Athena of North Shore in the Bud Light American Snowboard Series halfpipe finals Sunday at June Mountain, Calif.

Elder, 24, came from the rear of the eight-woman knockout finals to make the championship round and upset her close friend.

“Athena’s my buddy. It was nice to know before the finals that we would both be on the podium. She won the event last year. I had nothing to lose and had a fun run,” Elder said.

Athena received some consolation, the Paul Mitchell black bib, which goes to the tour’s overall leader.

Elder’s first win of the 1996-97 season unfolded in unexpected fashion. She barely qualified for the finals and needed to knock off the top qualifier to advance to the semifinal round.

“I’m so stoked. It was a long time coming, and hopefully it’s the start of many more,” Elder said.

She credited local acupuncturist Jason Wang for removing the pain from a wrist injury suffered at the XGames a week earlier at Big Bear, Calif.

A bout of food poisoning slowed Elder at the XGames. She didn’t qualify for the halfpipe finals and finished eighth in slopestyle.

“I know I could have done a lot better, but I wasn’t feeling well. There will be another one next year,” Elder said.

Elder plans to compete in the next Bug Light stop at Snow Summit and the Vans World Championships of Snowboarding Feb. 24 through March 2 at Sierra-at-Tahoe and Heavenly.

Her busy competition schedule is a sign of snowboarding’s growth.

“It’s great. It seems like almost every single weekend there is an event somewhere,” she said.

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