USASA South Tahoe Series concludes with rain-soaked rail jam at Sierra-at-Tahoe
TWIN BRIDGES, Calif. — On the rails and in the rain, the USASA South Tahoe Series ended its regional schedule. The series concluded with a rail jam at Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort on Friday, March 4, an event lovingly nicknamed “Rain Jam” by competitors.
At the rail jam, 45 athletes competed despite periodic torrential rain Friday afternoon. Weather forced competitors inside Solstice Plaza, but not for long — when series director Joey Orr asked if the event should go on, he was met with an emphatic response.
“Yes, let’s do this!” the kids exclaimed.
The evening’s oldest competitor, snowboarder Randy Hess of Red Bluff, California, said after the event that it was one of the more fun events he has competed in. Hess ended up leaving with a new snowboard from Aloha Products.
Sierra-at-Tahoe hosted the event at the front of the resort with a setup of rails that challenged both young and old competitors. Each rider got two runs on the course followed by a jam format — the last chance to show their skills on course. Judges Garrick Topp, Travis Leikness and Dwayne Davis had the tough job of scoring each rider based on technicality, style and skill.
Michael Carter of El Dorado Hills, California, was the winner of the skier men’s open class division Friday. Carter finished with a score of 1010.
The largest competitive group was the skier men’s 14-and-older division, which featured eight competitors. South Lake Tahoe’s Clayton Long took first place in that division, while Northstar California’s Matthew Ruiter of Rocklin, California, took second and South Lake Tahoe Sierra rider Logan Taylor rounded out the podium.
The snowboard boys 9-and-under division featured seven competitors — and the little guys slayed it. Brooklyn DePriest of Rocklin, California, took first place while South Lake Tahoe’s Graydon Ross (second) and Luke Leal (third) also reached the podium.
In the snowboard women’s 14-and-older division, South Lake Tahoe riders took the first three spots — Marisa Hasslinger took first, Desi McCully finished in second and Sierra team member Emma Dayberry placed third. For the younger snowboard girls in the 9-and-under division, South Lake Tahoe’s Lily Weitzel took gold in this division while first-time competitor and fellow SLT boarder Sydney Ross grabbed silver.
Four more South Shore athletes claimed gold Friday. Shane Aaron (men’s 14-and-older) and Makayla Kellogg (girls’ 10-13) topped the podium in snowboarding while Marley Befu (girls’ 10-13) and Piper Arnold (girls’ 9-and-under) won gold in skiing.
Excitement was palpable at the awards ceremony, as more than $5,000 worth of gear and products was given away from a variety of series sponsors. Hess and Kellogg won snowboards from Aloha Products, while Kellogg walked away with a week at summer camp from Woodward Tahoe and Justin Lehr of Placerville, California, won the raffle for summer camp at Windells in Oregon.
Though the South Tahoe Series ended Friday, the season isn’t yet over for the series’ skiers and snowboarders. Over the next few weeks, top riders in each age group will be invited to participate in nationals held at Copper Mountain, Colorado, in April — there they will represent their respective series while facing the best competition in the nation.
USASA South Tahoe Series is one of 33 amateur freeski and snowboard competition series nationwide. Complete event results are posted on its Facebook page and at http://www.usasa.org. For more information on the series and the national organization, visit http://www.usasasouthtahoe.com.
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