At seasons end, Vail racers hit peak |

At seasons end, Vail racers hit peak

Ian CroppVail, CO Colorado
Susan Morning/Mammoth TimesSki & Snowboard Club Vail's Erika Ghent took second in a pair of super-G races this weekend in Mammoth Mountain, Calif., among a group of U.S. Team racers.

MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, Calif. Snow fatigue isnt limited to recreational skiers.But much like Eagle County skiers got to play in powder until the very end of the season, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail racers are riding some hot streaks though their final race series.SSCVs Erika Ghent followed up solid results at U.S Nationals in late March and some good technical finishes this past weekend with pair of second-place finishes in super-G races in Mammoth Mountain, Calif. Ghent was only 0.11 seconds off the pace of Keely Kellerher on Saturday.I was relaxed, having fun and going for it, said Ghent, who beat several U.S. Ski Team members in both races. The results are going to help my points go down to about 24 or 23, which would help my ranking.Kirsten Cooper, who lives in Eagle and is on the U.S. Development Team, won Sundays super-G, 0.09 seconds ahead of Ghent, and took third in Saturdays. Ghent, who is in her final year as a junior racer, took third in Wednesdays downhill and wont mind calling it a season after todays downhill.Im ready to go home, said Ghent, who is hoping her results in Mammoth will help increase her chances of being named to the U.S. Team. Im going to hang out for a while, and well see what happens when the U.S. Team meets in May.Much like Ghent, SSCVs Will Gregorak is making the most of mid-April racing. After a stellar showing in technical races at U.S. Nationals, Gregorak kept it going by beating out plenty of U.S. Ski Team and collegiate racers in slalom and giant slalom competitions in Breckenridge, Vail and Mammoth. But Gregorak wasnt done just yet; after taking 15th in Saturdays super-G, he dropped into the top 10 on Sunday with an eighth-place finish in the super-G and then placed sixth in Wednesdays downhill.Super-G has been my worst event this year, so it was nice to score points, said Gregorak, who has improved his world rankings in all four disciplines this month. Ive been working on my all-around race profile.Still, Gregorak is ready to stay off the snow for a while.You definitely want to race when you are on a hot streak, but I have to quit while Im ahead on a good note, Gregorak said. Ive accomplished all my goals for the season.Gregorak already had done what he set out to do meet the criteria for the U.S Development Team before the final race series of the season.Now, Im going to come home and make up some schoolwork, he said.SSCVs Delainey Ackerman, a J2 racer, placed second in the girls downhill Wednesday and was 18th and 19th in the super-G races this weekend. On the mens side, SSCVs Nathan Asoian was 13th in Wednesdays downhill, while teammate John Kemp was 20th. Asoian was 18th in Sundays super-G.

VAIL, Colorado Everyone in the snowboarding world knows him as Boydy, but now they can call him by a different name.Ski & Snowboard Club Vails snowboard program director Ben Boyd recently was named the domestic coach of the year by the U.S. Ski and Snowboarding Association.It was just a thrill to be nominated, Boyd said. To get the word that I won was great. Its nice to be next to those guys who have won it before, because they are good coaches and friends of mine.Boyd, who was approached by SSCV Executive Director Aldo Radamus six years ago to start a snowboarding program in what was then Ski Club Vail, has turned the snowboarding side into one of the most formidable in the country.Its been a long road and a fun road, and weve had a lot of support from the club and Aldo in particular, Boyd said. Its always great to be the person to get the award, but its a reflection of the fact that we are a really good club with a good bunch of kids that function well together, and weve had some of the best results in the country. Im pretty happy to put our program up against anyones in the country.Boyd, a Australian who began coaching in 1997, also credits his staff for the programs success.Ive been lucky, he said. I started the program six years ago, and weve had the same staff ever since.Jason Rutherford, who has coached at SSCV for five years, knows how far Boyd has brought the program.When we started, we were just doing (United States of America Snowboard Association) events, and now we are doing the biggest events out there, and that has put our club on the map and gained respect from our peers, Rutherford said. Hes not just an on-hill coach. Hes someone the kids can talk to and get good references for sponsorship. He bends over backwards for the kids who give 100 percent.Boyd, who was also named the SSCV coach of the year, said his wife, Amanda, has been a big part of his career.Theres not a chance on Gods green earth I could have done any of this without her, he said. Being a coachs wife is one of the hardest jobs out there. I thank her every day for the support she gives me.SSCV rider Bryan Daino has had Boyd as a coach for six years and wasnt surprised to hear of the news.Hes worked so hard for that, Daino said. Thats the reason all the kids are here so they can ride with him.Hes always pushing you. I would be learning a trick, like a frontside 900 or 720, and then all of sudden hed say, Go for a front 1080, and youd do it once and say its easy and do it again until you landed it.Daino, meanwhile, won the Craig Kelly Memorial Scholarship, given to the snowboard athlete who demonstrates the best combination of athletics, citizenship and academic excellence.It means a lot, said Daino, whose parents wont let him snowboard if he doesnt keep his GPA above 3.0. Its nice that people recognize what I love to do.SSCV riders Broc Waring and Faye Gulini were recently named to the USASA Pacsun national team. Waring, who is a U.S. Team rookie rider, was named to the halfpipe team while Gulini was named to the boardercross and slopestyle teams.

PARK CITY, Utah Noted Vail orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Steadman, who has headed the USSAs volunteer physicians program for longer than 30 years, was honored Saturday as the first recipient of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Associations Dr. J. Leland Sosman Award. The award was presented by the USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt during the teams spring medical summit meeting in Park City, Utah.The USSAs newly developed J. Leland Sosman Award is presented to a member of the USSA physicians pool who has made great contributions as a volunteer medical provider. The award is named in honor of Dr. Sosman for his endless commitment as a volunteer for the USSA. Sosman passed away April 3 at the age of 87.For a story on Dr. Steadmans contribution to the U.S. Ski Team, check out Fridays Vail Daily.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or The U.S. Ski Team contributed to this report.

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