Vail Valley snowboarders aim for new heights
Special to the Daily
Vail, CO Colorado
COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colorado – Copper Mountain is currently home to North America’s only 22-foot pipe, so it was a fitting location to announce this year’s U.S. Snowboard Halfpipe Team on Tuesday.
Among those representing their country are Minturn natives Clair Bidez and her younger brother Dylan Bidez, as well as Broc Waring from Edwards.
Dylan will be sitting this season out after a full ACL replacement over the summer, but for Clair and Broc, the recently opened halfpipe provided for a mellow day of early-season training under the sun.
Clair Bidez is battling some injuries of her own. She tore some cartilage and sustained a bone bruise in her ankle at a Grand Prix competition in January, which required surgery and cut her season short. But she said it’s feeling pretty good after a long summer of rehab.
“Staying healthy is definitely one of my priorities this season. Also, I want to ride powder a bit more between my halfpipe contests,” Bidez said. “Training for the Olympic qualifiers last year was so intense; we didn’t have much time to focus on other things beside halfpipe.”
Head Halfpipe Coach for the U.S. Snowboard Team Mike Jankowski said Clair Bidez is a huge part of the team, and he’s looking forward to seeing more good results from the 23-year-old this season.
“For Clair, it’s a mix of perfecting what she has – making it bigger and better – and, of course, looking for that next big trick, the next piece of the progression that will move her forward,” Jankowski said.
That next big trick for Bidez is a backside 900, which is something only a few women in world are currently pulling off. She already has the frontside pretty well dialed in. The next step is linking it up on back-to-back hits – something Coach Jankowski says is imminent.
Going to the Olympics is still the ultimate long-term goal for Bidez, but for now, she’s happy to just live in the moment and enjoy every day, she said.
2011 could be the year for Edwards native Broc Waring to master the double cork 1080, which would place him among elite company in the sport.
“I had a super fun training camp down in New Zealand, learned some new tricks, and I feel really confident on my board right now,” Waring said.
The 18-year-old is coming off a solid season with two top-10 finishes on the Grand Prix circuit. Waring also made it to the finals at the majority of the Dew Tour events last season, all the while fighting a nagging shoulder injury.
Although he fell in both halfpipe runs at the New Zealand Open over the summer, Waring took 12th in the slopestyle, an event that was recently added to the Grand Prix circuit and is being considered by the International Olympic Committee for the 2014 games.
“I think slopestyle should get just as much coverage as the halfpipe, if not more,” he said. “I prefer competing in the halfpipe, but both events are big aspects of snowboarding.”
In the pipe this season, Waring is hoping to nail down his double cork 1080 – a trick that was unheard of a few years ago but that now separates the top-five riders from the rest of the world. With an extended Grand Prix schedule and three Dew Tour stops featuring 22-foot pipes this season, Waring will have plenty of opportunities to stomp the trick.
Like all the young riders on the team, he can’t help but keep 2014 in the back of his mind.
“I definitely want to make the Olympics when that time comes. That’s a goal, but it’s not my only goal,” Waring said. “I feel like I’m preparing for it every time I get on my snowboard.”
Having major knee surgery over the summer might keep Dylan Bidez off the hill this year, but it won’t keep him off the U.S. Snowboard Team.
Bidez received a brand new ACL at the Steadman Clinic this summer. The injury was ongoing for most of last season, but crashing off a Cab 1080 at the New Zealand Open has sidelined him for about 9 months.
“I’ve done that contest about three or four times, and I’ve never really done too well at it,” Bidez said. “This year, I was actually feeling really good. I hit my run in practice. But then in the finals, I got launched into the flat bottom, and it didn’t end up well.”
Bidez has about three months of hard rehab to go. He has the option of competing this spring, but said he’s going to play it safe and just ride powder when he gets back out there.
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