With winter quickly fading in the Yampa Valley, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboarders have been busy.
The team posted top finishes at the U.S. Open in Vermont last week and at the Western Regional Championships in Jackson Hole, Wyo., earlier this month.
The club also will send 35 members to one of the biggest events of the 2005 season -- the United States Amateur Snowboarding Association's National Championships -- in April.
"It's a huge deal," said Jon Casson, the Winter Sports Club's snowboard program director. "It's more grass-roots than some of the other pro-level events, but it's a big deal for our riders who want to make it to the next level."
The club's top riders will join 1,200 of the top snowboarders in the country at the national championships, which are slated to begin April 2 in Copper Mountain.
Athletes will compete in slalom, giant slalom, halfpipe, slopestyle and boardercross events that run through April 8. Organizers have scheduled a weather day for April 9.
The competitors at the championships are divided into groups, and the groups rotate among events each day.
The nationals come on the heels of the snowboard program's top showing at the U.S. Open and Western Regional Championships, which is now called the Evolution Tour.
At the U.S. Open in Vermont, Steamboat's Matt Ladley picked up a title in the junior division, which was reserved for riders 13 and younger.
Ladley led a group of Steamboat riders including Drew Dummit, who was ninth, Grant Murray, who was 17th and Mick Dierdorff, who was 19th.
The U.S. Open is one of snowboarding's premiere events and draws the top riders in the country every year.
Chad Oliver and Nathan Rothe compete in the open division of the halfpipe event. The riders failed to qualify for the finals, but Casson said it was an outstanding effort by both riders.
In Jackson Hole, Steamboat's Quinn Orb topped the men's boardercross results March 11 at the Evolution Tour. The event featured up-and-coming riders who are trying to move up to the NorAm and World Cup levels.
In the final round, Orb raced past Robert Minghini from the Far West, Adam Johnson from the East and Jonathan Park of the Rocky Mountain Division to pocket the title.
Other Steamboat finishers include John Sweetser in 41st, Paul Innes in 42nd, Steven Reed in 43rd and Samuel Houston in 44th.
In the women's boardercross, it was part-time Winter Sports Club rider Callan Chythlook-Sifsof taking the title.
Chythlook-Sifsof lives in Alaska but travels to Steamboat from time to time to train with the club.
She cruised past Central's Mackenzie Matters, Rocky's Jordan Karlinski and Inter--mountain rider Erin Mortenson in the finals to earn her title. Other top Steamboat finishers included Johanna Shaw in fifth, Lindsay Lloyd in seventh, Emily Robinson in eighth, and Jazmin Winsor in 15th.
Chythlook-Sifsof also earned an invitation to Junior Worlds for her first-place effort.
Eastern division rider Jack Mitrani and Matters topped the halfpipe results March 12.
The top Steamboat rider in the men's event was Charlie Peddie in 16th. Steamboat's Teddy Heid was 21st, Ladley was 26th, Blake Eddington placed 28th, and Daniel Buller was 36th.
Emily Robinson was the top Steamboat finisher in the girls event, placing 11th. Ariel Tredway was 17th, and Winsor placed 21st.
Intermountain rider Bobby Flanigan and Far West rider Allyson Carroll took home the slopestyle honors March 13. Top Steamboat finishers included Heid in 32nd and Houston in 34th on the men's side. Robsinson was ninth, Winsor was 14th, and Tredway was 16th in the women's event.