Big air, little boarders

Winter Sports Club's youngest riders post top results

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For snowboarders struggling to land jumps, don't read this. It might be upsetting.

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's youngest snowboarders are off to a great start -- winning events, landing tricks and impressing their coaches.

At the Sunday slopestyle competition at Copper Mountain, Maddy Shaffrick spun a frontside 360 over the large jump on the slopestyle course, scoring 26.1 points to win the mehehune division for 10- to 11-year-olds.

"I've never heard of an 11-year-old girl doing that trick over a jump that big," said Ashley Berger, assistant junior team coach. "It was amazing."

Austin Reed landed his first backflip in the competition to finish fourth in the breaker division, scoring 24.8 points. The breaker division is for 12- to 13-year-olds.

"The backflip is a great foundation for Austin to work on other inverted tricks," said Jo Richards, lead junior team coach.

Nik Baden, Arielle Gold, Carter Smalley, Chloe Banning and Ben Siegel were other slopestyle winners Saturday.

The weekend competition at Copper Mountain started with a halfpipe competition Saturday. Taylor Gold won the breaker boys division, throwing a frontside 720/cab 360 and frontside-to-backside 540 combos.

Baden, Arielle Gold, Smalley, Shaffrick and Banning were other halfpipe winners.

"We are so proud of the camaraderie and sportsmanship our kids show at these events," Richards said. "They rally around each other and constantly encourage each other to do their best. We get so many compliments on what great attitudes our kids have, and that is more important to us than any medal or result."

On Dec. 11, competing at Copper Mountain as part of the United States Amateur Snow--board Association's Copper Series, the junior team had great results in the giant slalom and slalom races.

Arielle Gold posted a combined slalom time of 103.11 seconds, which would have been good enough to win older divisions and beat most of her male counterparts. She also won the giant slalom event in the grommet girls division for 8- to 9-year-olds.

Skylar Weir won both events in the breaker girls division. Smalley won both events in the grommet boys division. Baden also won both of his races. Will Peddie finished second twice in the breaker boys division.

The Winter Sports Club junior team moved from Copper Mountain to Howelsen Hill for a Dec. 17 giant slalom and slalom race.

Arielle Gold and Shaffrick won both events, as did Smalley and Baden. Baden competes in the ruggie division for racers ages 7 and younger.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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