The sun shone bright on the final day of competition, here at the 2014 USASA Nationals, at Copper Mountain. With packed pow conditions and temperatures hovering near the 50 degree mark, competitors had a perfect day to throw down their best tricks. Kicking it off were the men and women of the open class in the halfpipe, followed by 9 & under and 10-12 year old groups competing in slopestyle.
Evident today: Nationals is a family affair, as shown with gusto by Grace Mauzy, who competed alone in the 19 & over class—she’s the mother of Jamie Crane-Mauzy (who recently put on a show at Nine Queens in Italy), and the women’s open halfpipe winner today, Jeanee Crane-Mauzy. Technically, they pulled off mother/daughter wins today, though, as aforementioned, Grace was the lone entrant in her class.
Maddie Bowman, who we spoke with yesterday, also stuck around to watch her brother Alec compete in halfpipe; he ended up winning the overall title, as he competed in all three disciplines: skicross, slopestyle and halfpipe. Their mother Sue Bowman was also there lending support and doing a pro job of slipping the halfpipe between rounds.
Also worth mentioning, Cody LaPlante, the winner of Sunday’s 10-12 year old halfpipe class, spun his way to 2nd place in today’s slopestyle competition. It was the Kiwi from Perth, Nico Porteous who took home the gold medal in slopestyle for 10-12 year olds. To think where these guys will be in just a few short years…
As a number of Olympians have passed through the USASA programs, it’s no surprise when Linda “Zippy” Neil, Executive Assistant for USASA says of the growth of skiing at USASA Nationals, “We’re super excited about the freeski contingent coming out to the USASA [events]. Thirty-four percent of USASA members are skiers, and we’ve had 168 more freeski participants this year compared to last.”
This year marked the 25th iteration of the USASA Nationals, which was started by the late Chuck Allen in 1990 at Snow Valley—an hour and a half from Los Angeles.
According to Neil, this was the first year the USASA Nationals were a Silver sanctioned AFP tour stop, earning skiers valuable points and finishes for the year. When I spoke to Matthew Jennings, a Gold level AFP judge and seven-year veteran of judging the skiers at the Nationals, he said that the Silver level sanctioning of the events “nearly doubled participation.” Jennings also mentioned the Olympic effect saying, “One of our age groups is 9 & under, and those kids’ parents may not have wanted them to jump on rails, but now they see it’s [a] pathway to the Olympics so they might let them hit rails and jumps now.”
USASA is even in the midst of board discussions in regards to changing its name to include ‘Freeskiing.’ The enthusiasm is genuine, as Neil notes, “We’re so excited to be able to offer a grassroots opportunity for freeskiing to these athletes where there might not be another avenue for them to compete. There’s a lot of alpine opportunities for skiers, but not a lot of freeskiing opportunities. Because we are open to athletes of all ages, we start at the grassroots level and then they progress onto bigger stages.”
Indeed, USASA is a great way for any young skier (or snowboarder) to start competing, but also to grow their community of like-minded peers, work with coaches, and learn to compete in a structured environment. The fun isn’t limited to future Olympians either, with the oldest competitor sliding into the finish at 78 years old, followed by the youngest at four years old.
Our congratulations extend to the winners of this year’s USASA Nationals, and we’d like to thank each volunteer who gives time to make each contest the best it can be for these aspiring shredders.
The results from today are as follows:
1. Broby Leeds – 92.50
2. Colby Stevenson – 86.25
3. Trevor Hattanbaugh – 81.50
1. Jeanee Crane-Mauzy – 84.75
2. Bri Bogumill – 68.00
3. Gabrielle Ward – 60.75
Boys 10-12 y/o
1. Nico Porteous – 87.60
2. Cody Laplante – 75.20
3. Jackson Hipple – 74.40
Girls 10-12 y/o
1. Amber Simonpietri – 78.80
2. Svea Irving – 73.80
3. Grace Henderson- 71.80
Boys 9 & under
1. Kai Morris – 84.20
2. Matthew LaBaugh – 82.20
3. Sawyer L. Coll – 77.20
Girls 9 & under
1. Kjersti Moritz – 71.20
2. Ava Surridge – 67.40
3. Taylor Kellar – 65.60