COPPER MOUNTAIN — There was no doubt about who would win a national snowboard title, at least not in Tom Boldt’s mind.
Boldt, who lives in Beaver Creek, won the parallel giant slalom at the 25th annual United States of America Snowboard Association’s national championships.
Olympian Justin Reiter, of Steamboat, won Monday’s parallel slalom.
“There wasn’t any doubt in my mind about who was going to win,” Boldt said.
Boldt isn’t cocky; it’s just that he had a one second lead after Monday morning’s first run. The second saw more of the same.
That earned him his first national title in the Men’s Jams division, for amateur snowboarders aged 18 to 22. That’s one small step below the professionals in open class.
“I was kind of speechless when I won,” Boldt said.
Love, not money
They’re in it for love, not money. You get around $2,000 if you win, Reiter said.
Boldt does it full time, or as full as he can.
When the USASA nationals wrap up today, so does the competitive snowboarding season. Boldt heads to Chile in August to train. He works in between to support his snowboarding habit.
During the summer, you’ll find him in St. Louis, working in a warehouse for his father’s company, Boldt Brothers, a building maintenance company where he doesn’t do anything remotely resembling easy-chair office work.
“It’s real work,” Boldt said.
Olympian rider Reiter
Reiter (pronounced rider) usually competes on the World Cup circuit and is in Copper Mountain this week because he loves it.
“The future of the sport — 6 year olds — are on the same mountain as the sport’s present and past,” he said. “It’s a grassroots series that everyone should be part of.”
The USASA is open to anyone. Do well in your region and you qualify for nationals.
“It’s a good time to come out and race,” he said.
In Monday’s parallel slalom, Reiter had to come from behind to beat Michael Trapp, who won the first run.
“He put down a valiant effort, but I was able to get him on the second run,” Reiter said.
Reiter competes today in the giant slalom. Boldt competes in the slalom. Vail local Steve MacCutcheon had a tough day Monday and finished fifth in the slalom. He’ll return today for the open division giant slalom.
Reiter competed in both the slalom and giant slalom in the Sochi Olympics.
The USASA format is like the Olympics. Racers compete head to head. The winner goes on and the loser goes home.
The USASA series began Nov. 11 and closes today when the national finals wrap up in Copper Mountain. On the way to the nationals, more than 4,000 athletes competed in more than 550 events, with 1,200 athletes in the national finals.
Athletes range in age from 7 to 70 and come from 30 regional series, with half of the states in the U.S. represented including Alaska and Hawaii. They compete in slalom, giant slalom and boardercross, freestyle, slopestyle, halfpipe and rail jam.
Founded in 1988, the USASA focuses on competitive grassroots snowboarding. The idea was to standardize rules of competition and help snowboarding grow as a sport.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.