Vans to stay a while at Sierra-at-Tahoe |

Vans to stay a while at Sierra-at-Tahoe

The third stop on the Vans Triple Crown of Snowboarding, Monday through Feb. 27 at Sierra-at-Tahoe emphasizes the crown.

That’s not only because some of the best riders in the world will make up for lost time at the final event of the triple-headed snowboard series, but because the series will crown its overall champions at Sierra.

“This is the third year Sierra-at-Tahoe is hosting a Vans Triple Crown event, and the Ford Ranger North American Championships is going to be one for the history books,” said Vans vice president Steve Van Doren. “With more than 300 riders in the competition, $200,000 up for grabs, a week of intense snowboarding competition and a chance to win a Ford Ranger or a trip to Hawaii all only minutes from downtown South Lake Tahoe, this is bound to be the best snowboarding event in the sport’s history.”

In addition to settling the overall standings, next week’s series will offer fans bonus boarding, making up two competitions from the weather cancellation of the last Triple Crown event. The week kicks off at 8 a.m. Tuesday with the makeup of the snowboard cross finals from the second Triple Crown stop after snow forced officials to scratch the event at Mount Seymour, British Columbia. Wednesday is also a makeup day from Mount Seymour, for the big air finals from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. On Friday, the final snowboard cross finals of the series hits Sierra, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The slopestyle finals follow from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday, and the halfpipe finals run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

“You have a week long of snowboarding, literally,” said Ryan Snyder of event promoter SNL Communications.

That gives riders like Switzerland’s Gian Simmen (1998 Olympic gold medalist in halfpipe), Tara Dakides of Laguna Niguel, Calif. (2000 Winter X Games big air gold medalist) and Norway’s Daniel Franck (former halfpipe world champion and Olympic silver medalist) the chance to make up their points after being unable to compete at Mount Seymour.

“Sierra’s actually bending over backwards for us this year,” Snyder said.

“They really go out of the way,” he said. “They’re actually going to build two different snowboard cross courses for us.”

In addition to the infamous Gauntlet boardercross course on the back side of the mountain, Sierra will add another race course starting on the Sleigh Ride run before dropping onto Broadway. Vans brings the Super Pipe Dragon terrain machine to the mountain to create Sierra’s “Superpipe” at the bottom of Lower Main.

“It’s just a halfpipe times 10, basically,” Sierra’s Ben McLeod said of the new-built structure near the mountain’s base. “The tranny is big, the walls are huge – it’s just a monstrous pipe.”

“Really, I think it’s our operations guys, who do such a good job putting on the series,” McLeod said. “I think Sierra’s always been kind of on the leading front of snowboarding, and it’s something we don’t shy away from at all.”

The international pros aren’t the only ones who will try to canyoneer the Superpipe. The series has been stacked with South Shore riders: South Lake Tahoe’s Marguerite Cossettini, Rozemarie Dittfach, Heidi LaPointe and Jana Sibley have joined Zephyr Cove’s Gabriela Buehler in the women’s division. Jimmy Halopoff, Chris Bertimioli, Cyrus Briggs, Allan Traves and Josh Damore have represented South Lake Tahoe this season in the men’s events.

“Lake Tahoe’s obviously a hub for snowboarding, so we’ve got tons of people up in the area to come check it out,” Snyder said.

The pros will be shooting for the overall series championship, which will crown one men’s and one women’s overall series points winner. The overall men’s winner receives a brand-new Ford Ranger pickup, and the overall women’s winner an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

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