Young South Tahoe snowboarders prepare for nationals
In the South Tahoe Snowboard Series tripleheader last weekend, several young riders showed they have what it takes to defend their titles in the United States Amateur Snowboard Association national championships next month.
One of 35 regions in the USASA, the STSS holds more national medals of any region in the event’s history. And as the riders prepare for the end of the series, they hope to go into the March 18-24 nationals at Mammoth Mountain with the same success they are enjoying at home.
In the men’s 16-to-17-year-old class, Heavenly Ski Foundation’s David Bosson and Ari Giovenco earned the top two slots in all three races at Heavenly Ski Resort on Friday and Sunday and at Sierra-at-Tahoe on Saturday.
Giovenco earned a gold on Friday in the night slalom with a combined time of 76.04 seconds, ahead of silver medalist Bosson by a second.
But on Saturday in the slopestyle, and again on Sunday in the giant slalom, Bosson, who finished fourth overall in nationals last year, showed he also is in prime form for the 2001-2002 nationals by finishing first in both events.
“It was real heated all weekend between them,” said head Heavenly snowboard coach Ed McClain.
Bosson is expected to qualify for nationals in all five events: halfpipe, slopestyle, slalom, GS and boardercross.
A tie for third place in the slalom in 14-to-15-year-olds “shows how difficult and tight these races get,” McClain said. Heavenly’s Greg Dupree tied Bear Valley’s Dodov Nickolay for bronze with 60 points. Heavenly’s Ryan Bosson, David’ Bosson’s younger brother, earned first place with 100 points, ahead of Ben Goldenberg with 80 points.
Nicholas Poohachoff, the regional champ from last year in the 10-to-11-year-olds, and who will likely be the regional champ again this year among the 12-to-13-year-olds, finished second Friday behind Kevin Cain. But he returned Saturday and Sunday to take first in slopestyle and the GS, both times ahead of Aaron Orlick and Chad Cooney.
Reclaiming her stay on top for the 12-to-13-year-old girls was HSF’s Elena Hight, finishing with two gold and a silver.
“Elena has been the national champ three years in a row,” McClain said. During the past three years, in the five national events Elena has taken 14 out of the last 15 gold medals. The one gold medal she didn’t win was claimed by Sierra-at-Tahoe rider Stacie Anderson, who finished ahead of Hight in the slopestyle Saturday.
Stacie, one of three Anderson sisters competing in STSS, won the national championship last year, the year that Hight competed in the 10-to-11-year-old class.
“Stacie had phenomenal runs Saturday in the slopestyle,” said McClain, noting her backflip off one of the airs.
He added that both Anderson and Hight did well for competing with impaired vision: Both girls had swollen, black eyes after landing hard during practice.
In the 14-to-15-year-old girls class, Sierra’s Joanie Anderson finished the weekend with two gold medals. She didn’t compete on Saturday.
HSF’s Colleen Sheehan finished with three silver medals, behind Sierra’s Xavier Cierra on Saturday, but just one spot ahead of her in both the slalom and the GS.
“We have Olympic potential for sure,” said Donna Vano, summing up the talent on the slopes Sunday. Vano, the STSS event co-organizer, scheduled the tripleheader to avoid conflicts with scheduling between Vans Triple Crown and X Games staffers.
“It was a marathon of events,” McClain said. Fifty-nine racers competed Friday night, 68 competed Saturday and 62 Sunday. “It really tested the kids’ ability to compete.”
The March 3 superpipe event at Sierra is the last race of the STSS before the nationals at Mammoth Mountain March 18-24.