Eagle's Eye

Pressure is on for ski, snowboard spots heading into Nationals

Photo Courtesy Dylan Jerz

Photo Courtesy Dylan Jerz

Gabby Dodd, Editor

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Sierra Nevada College winter sport athletes are quickly approaching their biggest events of the season. With regionals happening at Mammoth Mountain Feb. 17-18, the college’s skiers and snowboarders are preparing to put down their best runs in hopes of making it to the 40th annual USCSA National Championships.

Freestyle teams can expect to compete in a slopestyle event on day one and and skier cross on day two. The top three placing schools in the combined events will be invited to nationals, being held at Lake Placid, New York March 4-10.

“It will definitely be great to watch everyone getting both creative and competitive in their runs, as not everyone on the team can come to Placid, assuming of course SNC makes the list,” freeski coach Connor Clayton said. There are ten slots available for both men and women per team for nationals. Performance at regionals is critical.

“Our biggest competition at nationals is usually CU Boulder and University of Vermont,” Clayton said. “But, this will be our third title in a row should we take home first place together as a team.”

The last two seasons have been marked with unconventional weather. Last year’s storms at Mt. Bachelor, Ore. postponed and even cancelled nationals events. Long-range forecasts show that Lake Placid should experience calmer weather, but with temperatures below zero.

“Unfortunately we’ve had four weekends of events get cancelled for freestyle ski and snowboard,” Clayton said.

These athletes will be heading into regionals with only one competition under their belt, however, SNC dominated at the recent Boreal Mountain rail jam and slopestyle event Feb. 3-4.

“The conditions were warm and beautiful,” freestyle team member Vilde Johansen said. “We had seven different features, two jumps, everyone sent it, and I am happy with how the weekend turned out.”

Racers experienced sunny weather at the recent Squaw Valley event Feb. 3, competing in slalom and giant slalom on the Motts race arena, which offers difficult terrain.

“It was a great weekend and good ending to the NorCal conference races,” Alpine coach Elias Stuerz said. “The team did very well again and we were able to sweep the podiums. (SNC) President Alan Walker also came out to support us which meant a lot to the team.”

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Pressure is on for ski, snowboard spots heading into Nationals