Vail’s Gulini takes second at Junior Worlds
CARDRONA, New Zealand – Faye Gulini, of the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy, took second at the FIS Junior Worlds in New Zealand on Sunday.
Gulini had an exciting run, moving into first after the first roller. However, she gained more speed than anticipated resulting in clearing a step-up-step-down feature and doubling a set of rollers that she had been pumping, heading even faster into the last turn.
Unfortunately, Gulini skidded out and was passed, moving into second. She held off third place Switzerland’s Emilie Aubry with a few bumps and a surge of speed.
“I know speaking for the whole team we all did really well,” said Gulini. “I know all the girls made it to semifinals and a majority of the guys did as well. We had a successful event as a team.”
The USA representation was fierce at the event. All U.S. riders made it through the qualifications round into the finals with three podiums, Roger Carver (Placerville, Calif.) and Alex Tuttle (Stratton, Maine) in second and third and Gulini (Salt Lake City) in third for the women. Russia’s Nikolay Olyunin and Czech Republic’s Eva Samkova took home gold.
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The USA crew was charging the course Sunday, with all U.S. riders advancing to the finals. Despite troubling visibility conditions, the U.S. grabbed half of the podiums, with two men and one woman taking two seconds and a third.
“The course was running really fast this morning, and then in rolled the fog,” said Tuttle. “It kind of threw a kink in everything, making it a lot tougher to race and the course kind of got chewed up. Visibility was a real factor, but you have to battle through it.”
The guys did just that – battle through it. Carver was looking for his chances the whole way down, coming out of the gate in third, making his move on second place at the first feature. Carver was passed moving back to third before making another move, taking second. Tuttle finished right behind Carver in third, after chasing from the back. Tuttle found his chance, when a rider went down in front of him. He got around and made it through all the way to the podium.
“It was great, it was almost like a World Cup with younger riders, the up-and-coming riders that are just now getting into the World Cup,” said Carver. “It was really fun everybody was rooting for each other. It was a really good atmosphere.”
Adding to the success of the Team was U.S. Snowboardcross A Team riders Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott (Sugarloaf, Maine) and Olympians Nate Holland (Squaw Valley, Calif.), Graham Watanabe (Sun Valley, Idaho) and Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, Mich.), who are in New Zealand for a camp. The crew helped out the young stars throughout the training days, qualification heats and finals.
Head Snowboardcross Coach Peter Foley tweeted @peterfoleyusa, “Awesome having our A Team guys helping coach the JR Worlds SBX team this week. 2nd, 2nd, and 3rd today here at Cardrona, NZ. Sweet!”
The 2010 FIS Snowboard Junior World Championships will pick back up on Tuesday at Cardrona with halfpipe.