Vail snowboard cross racers hopeful for FIS Junior World Championships
Over the weekend Ski Cooper hosted the first stop of the Hole Shot Cross Tour, a U.S. snowboard cross project which seeks to bridge the gap between grassroots and World Cup level competitors.
The event included North America Cup (NorAm) and Rev Tour races at Ski Cooper Feb. 19-23. In the men’s NorAm races, Vail local Senna Leith won on Feb. 20, and Jin Woo, of South Korea, won on Feb. 21. In the women’s NorAm races, Americans Stacy Gaskill and Anna Miller won on Feb. 20 and 21, respectively.
The Rev Tour events followed on Saturday, where younger competitors squared off.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes and brothers Kobi Dent and Declan Dent took first and second, respectively, and Connor Schlegel an Logan Hill took fifth and sixth, respectively, in the boys races. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete Montana Braden finished third for the girls.
Earlier this season Ski Cooper, located on the border of Eagle County and Lake County, hosted snowboard cross racers from around the world as the resort’s terrain, in addition to its proximity to the snowboard cross World Championships, (which were held in Solitude Utah, Feb. 1-10) made it an ideal snowboard cross world championships training center for those snowboard cross world championship athletes as they prepared for the big event. The junior version of world championships — known as the FIS Snowboard Junior World Championships — will be held in Slovenia April 1-5.
In the younger ranks, snowboard cross racers also compete in the USASA series, held separately from U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Hole Shot Cross Tour.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail competitors will return to USASA competition this week.
At an upcoming race in Crested Butte, the local team is looking to gain top positions heading into the USASA National Championships, said coach Phil Reynolds. Connor Schlegel is ranked No. 1 in the open male division and Montana Braden is ranked No. 2 in the open female division.
Following USASA competition to close out February, the team will return to the Hole Shot Cross Tour in Holiday Valley, New York, from March 14-17. In New York the Dent brothers are hoping to qualify for the FIS Snowboard Junior World Championships, where they would like to represent Australia.
Montana Braden is also in contention for a spot for the U.S. junior team; a top 8 position in New York would solidify her invitation, Reynolds said.
“The entire team is trending upwards getting better results each race,” he said.
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