USASA holds rail rams, slopestyle event at Sierra
Nine inches of new snow last weekend at Sierra-at-Tahoe brought smiles and good vibes to three USASA events, including the inaugural Jammin’ 4 Tash where skiers and snowboarders produced a high-level competition in their battle for $1,000.
The first event was a rail jam Saturday, Jan. 20, that had 71 competitors from ages 8 to 70, and was followed by Jammin’ 4 Tash in the afternoon where 42 battled in the men’s and women’s open class. Both events took place adjacent to Solstice Plaza. The weekend ended Sunday with 71 athletes competing in slopestyle on the Upper Snowshoe Trail.
South Lake Tahoe teenager Anthony Piccinonno and Whitney Teague, who competes in the South Tahoe Series, took first place in Jammin’ 4 Tash in the men’s and women’s snowboard open classes, respectively.
South Lake Tahoe’s Zoe Loughlin claimed first place in the freeski women’s open class and Chris Watford won the men’s division.
Jammin’ 4 Tash was created to celebrate the life of Natasha Saguka, a former Sierra-at-Tahoe and USASA competitor, who recently passed away from cancer.
Tash’s mom, Margaret Sagucka, donated $1,000 for prize money for the open jam. She also donated $1,000 to USASA South Tahoe Series for scholarship money to go toward athletes in need. USASA also donated $1,500 to leukemia cancer research.
Jammin’ 4 Tash will be held annually on the third USASA rail jam of each season moving forward, said Roger Ashton, president of the Sierra at Tahoe Education Foundation, a parent volunteer group that works with the management at the resort to manage the competition-level teams.
Piccinonno also claimed first place in the boys 14-and-over division in the morning rail jam. Other snowboard winners included South Lake Tahoe’s Nate Mitchell (boys 10-13), Krystyna Schembri (girls 10-13), Kaitlyn Bland (girls 14 and over), Colton Bryan (boys 9 and under), Serina Verduzco (girls 9 and under), Denver Orr (open class) and Mammoth’s Makayla Kellogg (open class).
The top freeskiers were Everett Hunt, of Stockton (boys 10-13); South Lake Tahoe’s Loughlin (girls 10-13); South Lake Tahoe’s Finn Abiko (boys 14 and over); Kaveya Gole, of Cupertino (girls 14 and over); and Alannah Malone, of San Mateo, (girls 9 and under).
Piccinonno came close to a weekend sweep Sunday but settled for second place in the slopestyle competition.
Freeski winners included South Lake Tahoe’s Forrest Jones (boys 12-13); Jameson Dunn (boys 8-9); Piper Arnold (girls 10-11); Alameda’s Joanne Warren (girls 12-13); Haakon Zander, of Truckee (men 18-22); Placerville’s Justin Lehr (boys 16-17); Riley Reimund, of Portola (boys 10-11); Noah Rodarte, of Truckee (boys 14-15); and Piedmont’s Katie Ashton (girls 14-15).
Snowboard winners were South Lake Tahoe’s Isabelle Wilson (girls 12-13); Devon Smead (boys 8-9); Lillia Verduzco (girls 8-9); Luke Leal (boys 10-11); Lily Weitzel (girls 10-11); Venture Bruner (girls 14-15); Orr (open class); Kai Shidler, of San Francisco (boys 12-13); Ocean Roberts, Australia (boys 16-17); Foster City’s Mamatha Aahlad (girls 16-17); Angela Oyevides, of Valley Springs (women 50-59); Dick Schulze, of Truckee (men 60-plus); Cole Sorensen, of Reno (boys 14-15); Evalena volk, of Castro Valley (girls 7 and under); and Kellogg (open class).
The next USASA event will be a boardercross/skiercross Sunday, Jan. 28, at Sierra-at-Tahoe followed by another, also at Sierra, on Sunday, Feb. 4.
Anyone can enter as an athlete for a USASA event, South Shore Series or North Shore Series.
Participants can register online at USASASouthTahoe.com or at 8 a.m. the morning of the event. Athletes are trying to earn enough points for an invitation to Nationals at Copper Mountain, Colorado later in the season.