Olympic hopefuls on Breckenridge team | VailDaily.com

Olympic hopefuls on Breckenridge team

Bryce Evans
Breckenridge, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Mark FoxSteve Fisher competes in the superpipe competition at the Dew Tour on Peak 8 in Breckenridge last December. The two-time X Games champ will once again ride for the Breckenridge Freeride Team this winter with hopes of qualifying for the 2010 Winter Olympics

BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado –Highlighted by Olympic hopefuls Steve Fisher, J.J. Thomas and Zack Black, Breckenridge Ski Resort announced its 2009-10 Breckenridge Freeride Team on Tuesday.

In all 24 snowboarders and skiers will represent the resort this winter in competitions around the world. And with the Vancouver Games just around the turn of the new year, this winter has some special emphasis for a few of its athletes.

Along with the three previously mentioned U.S. Team riders, Chanelle Sladics, Mike Casanova, Ryan Thompson, Josh Sherman, Leslie Glenn, Jake Black, Madison Ellsworth, Brett Esser and Eric Willett are all on the Breck Freeride snowboard squad.

Local skier Colby West headlines the Breck group of freeskiers this winter. West had podium finishes in both the X Games and Dew Tour pipe competitions in the past.

Another notable among the skiers is Summit High grad Bobby Brown, who at 17 has already made a name for himself by winning gold in last year’s Dew Tour stop at Breck in slopestyle. Recently, Brown won both the slopestyle and big air competitions in the New Zealand Open.

Other freeskiers on the team are Tanner Rainville, Keri Herman, Duncan Adams, Anna Segal, Nick Martini, J.P. Solberg, Adam Delorme, Grant Savidge, Athena Brownson and Chris Hawks.

Fisher is seemingly among the favorites to snag a U.S. Olympic Team spot. An elder statesmanof the U.S. Snowboarding Team at only 26, Fisher is one of the most accomplished riders in the country. The longtime Breck resident has captured two X Games Superpipe gold medals (2004 and a€˜07) and has won three U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix titles in his career. Last season, he wound up winning the overall Grand Prix title and finished second to Shawn White in the Dew Tour standings.

After first being named to the U.S. Snowboarding Team’s rookie squad last winter, Summit County’s own Zack Black also has a chance to compete for a spot in the upcoming Olympics. Known for his extremely difficult and technical tricks a€” which often go unnoticed by casual observers a€” the 19-year-old Summit High grad earned multiple top-10 finishes in premier events last season.

In addition to its Freeride team members, Breck also has a JV team for athletes under 16. Many athletes, such as Brett Esser, have graduated from the JV squad onto the top team.

Many of Breck’s riders and skiers will get the chance to compete on their home mountain when the second annual Winter Dew Tour comes to Breck Dec. 17-20. Last year, the event brought in the sport’s top names for competitions in both pipe and slopestyle.

Bryce Evans can be reached at (970) 668-4634 or at bevans@summitdaily.com.

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