Vail youth snowboarders shine at nationals
As an indicator of future park and pipe talent in the world of snowboarding, few events are as telling as the USASA National Championships.
The United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association has long served as a pipeline into the upper echelons of the sport, and the association’s season ending event wrapped up on Thursday.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail program director Chris Laske said in looking at the club’s results, the prospect of Vail continuing to graduate snowboarders into the professional realms of the sport continues to look strong.
“Our age groups that are really strong, I would say, are Menehune (age 10-11), all the way through Youth, and now we’re getting some headway in the Open Division,” said Laske.
Lauren Derminio, 21, took third in slopestyle Open Division.
“This girl crushes it,” Laske said. “She’s only been riding for like three years, but she’s competing against all the top-level Open Division girls. She could have won the whole thing but had just one little bobble so she got docked. She’s in her first year with the club, but she’s doing all our camps this summer, and we’re hoping to get her to the pro level real quick.”
Derminio also took second in rail jam.
‘Run of his life’
Brooklyn DePriest, 13, won slopestyle and took second in the Breaker Division halfpipe, topped only by a visiting Japanese rider, making DePriest the American finisher in his division at the nationals.
Brooklyn’s younger brother, Beckett DePriest, won the halfpipe in the 8-9 year-old division.
“It was the run of his life, too,” said coach Ronnie Barr. “Really fun to watch.”
The DePriests are Northstar, California, natives who moved to Vail with their family two years ago to join Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.
“Brooklyn is definitely one of the stars on our team,” Laske said. “He’s been traveling for the last month and just learned his first set of doubles, so he’s got a couple different doubles he’s throwing. Through nationals, the kid was flawless in slopestyle, upped his run every time and never fell once. Same thing in pipe. He put down the best pipe run of his life. He was sending it.”
Olivia Lisle took second in pipe, fourth in slopestyle in the Menehune Division.
“She’s made a huge jump this year in her progression working with Ronnie,” said Laske. “She’s been on a tear in both events.”
Other standouts include Brian Rice, who finished third overall in the youth men division, and Cain Copeland who finished fifth in the 8-9 year-old division in both halfpipe and rails.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.