Hookom, six Olympians headline U.S. Snowboard Team | VailDaily.com

Hookom, six Olympians headline U.S. Snowboard Team

Daily Staff Report

PARK CITY, Utah – High-riding Gretchen Bleiler (Snowmass Village), last season’s most winning female halfpipe rider, outstanding junior Hannah Teter (Belmont, Vt.) and six Olympians – including medalist Chris Klug (Aspen) – headline the 2004 U.S. Snowboard Team.

And, the team has local flavor with Edwards’ Stacia Hookom earning a spot on the team for the 10th year. Last year, Hookom won a U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix parallel giant slalom and also had two top-10 finishes on the World Cup Circuit.

The Snowboard Team includes 11 men and nine women plus 13 riders on the development squad, Head Coach Peter Foley said.

“Both the halfpipe and alpine teams are a solid mix of veterans and new talent, which makes for a great training environment,” said Foley. “The older riders are on the top of their game and serve as a guide to the younger team members, but at the same time the young kids are constantly pushing the veterans with their fresh aggressive approach to training and competition.”

Bleiler landed on the podium of every event she entered in ’03 and posted the highest halfpipe score ever with 48.6 points out of a possible 50 at the Mount Bachelor stop of the Chevy Truck U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix. She topped the overall Grand Prix and Triple Crown series along with winning the X Games and U.S. Open.

Closely trailing Bleiler last season was Nintendo Rookie of the Year (as voted on by her peers at the U.S. Finals), Ski Racing ’03 U.S. Junior of the Year and ’02 World Junior Championships halfpipe gold medalist Hannah Teter (Belmont, Vt). After winning the first two Grand Prix events last season, she finished just behind Bleiler in every event the two competed in together.

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Entering his ninth season on the team, Olympian Tommy Czeschin (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.), returns along with World Championships bronze-medalist Steve Fisher (St. Louis Park, Minn.) and Andy Finch (Fresno, Calif.), who not only won the ’03 World Cup opener but finished the season as the men’s U.S. superpipe champion. Seth Wescott (Farmington, Maine), silver medalist at the 2003 World Championships and U.S. champion in Winter ’03, is the lone snowboard cross rider.

On the alpine side, Ski Racing U.S. Alpine Riders of the Year Pete Thorndike (Meredith, NH) and Hookom, are joined by Klug and two other two-time Olympians, Rosey Fletcher (Girdwood, Alaska) – the first U.S. rider to make the first Olympic Snowboard Team in 1998, and Lisa Kosglow (Boulder).