Hight’s fear at Breckenridge disappears on podium
Breckenridge was the site of one of Elena Hight’s most painful and devastating experiences in snowboarding.
Last year, the 15-year-old snowboarder from Zephyr Cove experienced a severe concussion in the halfpipe that shortened her season.
Returning to the venue tested the teenager’s mental toughness and love for snowboarding.
Hight overcame any lingering fears of Breckenridge by scoring her second Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix podium on Sunday. She finished third behind by two of the biggest names in snowboarding, defending X Games champion Hannah Teter and reigning Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark.
“I had a bad concussion here last year and it scared me a little bit that I really didn’t want to come back, but I’m glad I got over my fear of Breckenridge,” Hight said.
“I tend to do well here or get hurt,” said Hight, whose other third-place performance was in Breckenridge.
After finishing fourth in Saturday’s qualifying round, Hight gave the top riders in the world a run for their money by linking together an unprecedented series of highly technical tricks.
“I needed to step it up to do well so I tried it and it all worked out,” said Hight, who strung together a frontside five Indy, a backside five kneel and frontside nine melon grab.
U.S. coach Bud Keene was impressed with Hight’s performance.
“She really pushed the sport today. She’s never practiced it … she just did it,” he said.
Teter of Belmont, Vt., won the title with a score of 45.20. Clark of Mount Snow, Vt., was second with 40.20 and Hight third with 39.60.
The podium finish keeps Hight in the running for the three-event series championship. The winner receives a new Chevy truck or car.
“I’d be excited to do well enough for that, but I’m just going to think about one contest at a time and see where I end up,” said Hight, who earned $2,700 on Sunday.
It was a good weekend for West Coast boarders as Tommy Czeschin of Mammoth Lakes was the surprising winner of the men’s’ halfpipe. Czeschin edged Travis Rice of Jackson, Wyo., 46.00 to 4.570 for the men’s $10,000 first prize.
“To get a podium these days is just awesome, because anyone can win a contest any day. There are so many good riders right now,” Czeschin said.
Hight is heading home for the holidays and won’t compete again until the second Grand Prix event at Mount Bachelor, Ore., on Jan. 5.
– USSA contributed to this story.
Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix
December 18, 2004
1.Hannah Teter, Belmont, Vt., 45.8
2. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, Colo., 43.2
3. Soko Yamoko, Japan, 41.2
4. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, Calif., 41.0
5. Kelly Clark, Mammoth, Calif., 39.8
6. Clair Bidez, Minturn, Colo., 37.2
7. Naho Mizuki, Japan, 35.9
8. Tricia Byrnes, Stratton Mountain, Vt., 33.6
1. Steve Fisher, Breckenridge, Colo., 45.9
2. Jan Michaelis, Germany, 45.7
3. Travis Rice, Jackson Hole, Wyo., 44.7
4. Christophe Schmidt, Germany, 44.1
5. Ross Powers, South Londonderry, Vt., 43.2
6. Xavier Hoffman, Germany, 43.1
7. Justin Lamoureux, Canada, 42.1
8. Brad Martin, Canada, 41.7
9. Hugo Lemay, Canada, 41.7
10. JJ Thomas, Golden, Colo., 41.3
11. Keir Dillon, East Stroudsberg, Pa., 40.8
12. Tommy Czeschin, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., 40.3
13. Abe Teter, Lake Tahoe, Calif., 40.2
14. Luke Wynen, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., 39.8
15. Andy Finch, Fresno. Calif., 39.5
16. Vinzenz Lueps, Germany, 39.4
Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix
December 19, 2004
1. Hannah Teter, Belmont, Vt., 45.20
2. Kelly Clark, Mount Snow,Vt., 40.20
3. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, Calif., 39.60
4. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, Colo., 38.70
5. Soko Yamaoka, Japan, 37.50
6. Tricia Byrnes, Stratton Mountain, Vt. 34.00
7. Naho Mizuki, Japan, 29.40
8. Clair Bidez, Minturn, Colo., 19.80
1. Tommy Czeschin, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., 46.00
2. Travis Rice, Jackson Wyo., 45.70
3. Justin Lamoureux, Canada, 45.20
4. Andy Finch, Fresno, Calif., 42.90
5. Ross Powers, South Londonderry, Vt., 42.90
6. Jan Michaelis, Germay, 42.80
7. Xavier Hoffman, Germany, 42.30
9. Hugo Lemay, Canada, 41.60
10. Steven Fisher, Breckenridge, Colo., 40.80
11. Vinzenz Lueps, Germany, 37.90
12. Luke Wynen, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., 31.20
13. Christo Schmidt, Germany, 29.30
14. Jarret Thomas Golden, Colo., 29.00
15. Abram Teter, Lake Tahoe, Calif., 28.80
16. Keir Dillon, East Stroudsberg, Pa., 28.20