Vail snowboard cross racers participate in Supergirl Snow Pro at Big Bear | VailDaily.com

Vail snowboard cross racers participate in Supergirl Snow Pro at Big Bear

Event is hosted by Lindsey Jacobellis in effort to inspire more female snowboard cross racing in the US

Vail snowboarder Montana Braden at the Supergirl Snow Pro in Big Bear, California, over the weekend. Braden recently qualified to participate in the snowboard cross junior world championships, which start March 30 in Slovenia.

Montana Braden can now measure her success by how far from Lindsey Jacobellis she is finishing.

A strong contingent of local snowboard cross racers visited Big Bear Mountain Resort over the weekend to spread the love of snowboarding to the next generation of female riders.

With snowboard cross racing and big air competitions on the docket, the weekend was action packed in southern California mountain town, which had plenty of snow this season to provide for a perfect snowboard cross course.

Local racer Montana Braden, 18, got a chance to race against the most dominant athlete in the history of the sport, Lindsey Jacobellis, four years ago at an exhibition. On Saturday, the two lined up against each other once again at Supergirl Snow Pro.

“I lost by a far larger margin when I raced her when I was younger,” Braden said with a laugh. “So that was nice to see.”

Days before heading out to California, Braden received word that she had qualified for the FIS Snowboarding Junior World Championships in Slovenia March 30 to April 6.

“It’s been a big week, for sure,” she said.

Her coach at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, Phil Reynolds, said watching Braden’s performance this season has been a rewarding experience.

“With her focus and work ethic, I believe Monty can achieve all of her goals,” he said.

On Sunday, Braden checked a small goal off the list by being a part of the winning group in the snowboard cross relay team event at the Supergirl Snow Pro.

“There’s huge crowds, it’s a big event, so much fun to be at,” Braden said.

INSPIRING YOUNG RIDERS

Showing the fun atmosphere of snowboarding to younger generation of girls is the purpose of the Supergirl Snow Pro, Jacobellis said.

“The concept behind the event was to help build a great environment for the younger ladies in the sport and build that female camaraderie within the different age groups across the U.S.,” Jacobellis said. “A lot of these girls will see each other at (other events), and we’re hoping to just give them another venue to interact with girls that are older than them and even taking it up a notch, being with the pros and seeing what they can aspire to, and being able to interact with the pros.”

Meghan Tierney, of Eagle, also took part in the Supergirl Snow Pro, racing in the pro division. Tierney, who competed in the Olympics in 2018 and the World Championships in 2019, says Jacobellis inspired her to take up snowboard cross racing when she was younger.

“It’s such a cool event to encourage up and coming riders just like Lindsey did for me,” Tierney said.

Jacobellis, 33, is still by far the most dominant athlete in the history of snowboard cross racing.

After winning a World Cup race in Germany on Feb. 9, and placing third in the next race on the World Cup circuit in Spain on March 2, Jacobellis returned to the U.S. just in time to help organize and host the Supergirl Snow Pro. Seven time X Games snowboard cross gold medalist Nate Holland hosted the live cast while Jacobellis raced.

Jacobellis said having a recognizable name like Holland analyzing the races on the livecast was helpful to the overall goal of the Supergirl Snow Pro.

“We’re hoping to get more media presence to the sport itself, because we know that will help grow over time and pique more interest,” Jacobellis said. “Unfortunately we don’t have too many (snowboard cross) events in the states right now and I’m hoping to change that, so if we’re getting more interest and more sponsor money into these events then we can get more USASA events, as well as World Cups.”

As soon as the event ended, Jacobellis, Tierney and the rest of the World Cup racers who took part in the Supergirl Snow Pro were preparing to return to the World Cup circuit.

“On Monday, we go right back to Switzerland,” Jacobellis said.

Jacobellis is currently first in the World Cup rankings for 2018-19.