Boarders rev it up at Spirit Mountain |

Boarders rev it up at Spirit Mountain

Ian CroppVail, CO Colorado
Daily file photoSki & Snowboard Club Vail's Ellen Feldman, seen during a Revolution Tour event in Copper last season, took first in the opening Revolution Tour halfpipe Saturday at Spirit Mountian.

DULUTH, Minn. For most high school students, Homecoming is a fall event.Ski & Snowboard Club Vails Brennen Swanson had to wait until last weekend, but it was well worth it. Swanson, who is from Stillwater, Minn., and moved here to attend the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy this year, played the part of Homecoming King at a Revolution Tour halfpipe at Spirit Mountain.I used to ride there on the weekends, Swanson said. It was pretty cool a lot of my family and friends and girlfriend were there.Swanson put on a show for his audience, taking first place.I had a run planned, and depending on how the other riders were doing, I also had a backup, Swanson said. I went with the backup.In the finals, Swanson kicked things off with a crippler (an inverted 540) on the first hit, went to a backside 900, then threw an crippler 720 and finished with a switch straight air (one hit must be a straight air).The halfpipe was a de facto SSCV jam session, with U.S. Rookie Rider Broc Waring in third and Bryan Daino in fourth. Max Esmail Coombs was 10th.Bryan got totally ripped off, said Ben Boyd, the snowboarding program director for SSCV. He should have been second even Broc said that.On the womens side, Ellen Feldman bridged her Revolution Tour success from last year with a halfpipe win Saturday.I was kind of nervous because I qualified last into the finals, and I didnt know what to expect, Feldman said. It wasnt the best halfpipe, so it was really hard to spin a lot.In her finals run, Feldman went with a pair of straight airs into a frontside 540, backside 540, frontside 360 and finished with a cab 540 to beat out U.S. Rookie Rider Kait Farrington.SSCVs Rose Raevsky took third, while Faye Gulini was seventh.Vail pretty much dominated, Feldman said.On Sunday, Gulini had the podium honors with a third-place finish in slopestyle. Raevsky was right behind Gulini in fourth; Feldman took eighth.Faye has never done an FIS event before shes only 15, Boyd said. Gulini started the competition off taking sixth a boarder cross that former SSCV rider Kim Krahulec won. SSCVs Amanda Taylor qualified for the finals and placed 10th.In mens slopestyle, four SSCV riders crashed the top 10, with Swanson leading the way in fifth, Connor Leach in sixth, Waring in eighth and Daino in 10th.For halfpipe and slopestyle, we had one-third of the kids in the finals, which is pretty outstanding, Boyd said. We were pretty much expecting to do really well, but they had outstanding performances. The conditions werent ideal, but they were riding like they were the best conditions in the world.The Revolution Tour continues this weekend in Copper.

KEYSTONE Keep combustibles away from Greta Byrne.Byrne, the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail ski racer, has been burning up the competition for two weeks straight.After Byrne became one of three American girls to secure a spot at the famed Topolino Games two weeks ago, there was no slowing her down this past weekend in a pair of Smartwool downhill races at Keystone.Byrne, a J3, won back-to-back races by more than a second, besting a field full of older J2s and J1s. In Thursdays downhill, Byrne led a SSCV podium sweep, beating teammate Jocelyn Irwin by more than a second. Abby Ghent was third. She won by 1.41 seconds, which is a mile in downhill, said SSCV coach J.J. Jensen. Shes just aggressive and goes for it. Shes at the top of her game right now, which is great because shes going to Topolino in a month to race. Jocelyn and Abby are two good speed skiers. This is big especially in a Smartwool downhill. I dont remember this ever happening.She beat all the J3 boys and would have been in 11th place for the men. Shes ripping it.On Friday, Byrne led a strong SSCV showing, with Irwin again right behind. Kaytlyn Samuelson, a J3, was fifth, while Ghent was one spot behind Samuelson. Jessica Delacenserie, a J3, was eighth and Mary Sackbauer was 10th.For a pair of super-G races at Keystone, Ghent took control of the reins, placing first and second. In Saturdays race, Ghent had the best time for a J2 racer, while SSCVs Julia Keeler was eighth and Samuelson took 16th. Ghent won the second race by more than a half-second, with Byrne in third, landing her third podium in four races. Irwin took fourth, while three other SSCV racers cracked the top 30: Haley Zaik-Hodgkins, 23rd; Delacenserie, 24th; Celine Guilmineau, 29th.(Abby) put it all together, SSCV coach Gladys Weidt said of Ghents win. She was focused all morning.The Keystone course had some flats that required good technical skills, Weidt said.Abby is not big there are tons of girls who outweigh her but it proved that you dont have to be super huge. You have to be strong and smart and a technical skier, she said.

KEYSTONE A downhill race can be a great warmup for a super-G. Ski & Snowboard Club Vails Will Gregorak, however, apparently doesnt need to warm up too much.Gregorak came into town and swept a pair of super-G races in Keystone last weekend. In Saturdays super-G, Gregorak bested the competition by close to a half-second, while teammates Rett Smith and John Kemp were fourth and fifth, respectively. SSCVs Wyatt McKibben was seventh while Iced Outs Kieffer Christianson was eighth and teammate Cooper Cartmill was 16th.On Sunday, Gregorak set the pace again, while Kemp and Smith flipped positions from the previous day. Iced Outs Hunter Schleper was eighth and Cartmill was 11th. Rounding out the top 25 were SSCVs Cody Unicume in 19th, Christianson in 20th, Iced Outs David Graebel in 24th and McKibben in 25th.McKibben led all local finishers in a downhill on Friday, taking second, one spot ahead of Cartmill, who was top among J2s. In Thursdays downhill, Christianson and Cartmill were fifth and sixth, while SSCVs Sean McCormick, was 28th, good for fourth among J3s.

FLAINE, France Vails Chris DelBosco took sixth in a World Cup ski cross race Wednesday. Tomas Kraus of the Czech Republic won his second straight World Cup race.DelBosco, who races for the Canadian Olympic Ski Cross Team, was the top North American finisher. Errol Kerr was the top American in 28th.In the opening World Cup on Saturday in Les Contamines, France, Snowmasss Casey Puckett took second with Friscos Jake Fiala in ninth. Kraus won the event, while Czech teammate Stanley Hayer was third. DelBosco took 17th out of a field of 90 competitors.The next World Cup race is Sunday in Kreishberg, Austria.

VAL ST. COME, Quebec It really wasnt beginners luck.After their first North American Cup freestyle event earlier this month, a trio of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes placed well in the second NorAm of the year earlier this week.Kelsey Teran placed seventh in dual moguls Tuesday in Val St. Come, Quebec. K.C. Oakley and Heidi Kloser also qualified for finals and placed 11th and 16th, respectively. In Mondays singles, Oakley took eighth.The next NorAm will take place in Penticton, British Columbia in mid-February, while the finals will be the following weekend in Winter Park.

KITZBUHLE, Austria On Wednesday, for the second day in a row, two racers went down with serious injuries during a training run at the famed Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuhle, Austria.On Tuesday, Austrian forerunner Patrick Hinterseer broke his sixth and seventh thoracic vertebra, while Czech Ondrej Bank, who was third at the Birds of Prey super-combined, broke his right leg. On Wednesday, Austrian Andreas Buder broke his right leg while forerunner Franz Brandt bruised his pelvis. American Marco Sullivan also crashed Wednesday, but was OK.Thursdays downhill training run was canceled due to warm weather. A super-G is schedule for Friday with the downhill on Saturday and slalom on Sunday.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or

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