Steamboat Springs It was a big weekend for Steamboat Springs snowboarders, as riders from every age and discipline landed on competition podiums across the continent.
Certain riders' gutsy performances left Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboard program director Jon Casson searching for the right words Tuesday.
"Insane-o," was the one-word conclusion that Casson finally made of Madeline Schaffrick's accomplishment, which highlighted the broad weekend of wins.
Schaffrick, 13, and fellow Winter Sports Club teammate Chloe Banning, 15, decided to step up from their age classes to the top "open" class for the first time at USASA Copper Series slopestyle and halfpipe events, Saturday and Sunday at Copper Mountain.
Schaffrick won both events outright. She and Banning then both qualified for the special Burton AM Series event, which followed the USASA competition and included its top riders.
In the Burton AM slopestyle competition, Schaffrick took second and Banning took third. Then Schaffrick nailed the frontside 720 of her second halfpipe run to win the competition, securing a "wildcard" berth to the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships, March 17 to 23 in Stratton, Vt. Casson said Schaffrick is the youngest member of the Winter Sports Club to ever qualify for the event.
"I just hoped I'd survive against them," Schaffrick said of the competition she beat, which included a U.S. Snowboarding team member and junior world championship medalist. "In my first run, I played it safe and in the second, I went all out, and I guess I did it well."
Now, Schaffrick is preparing for another first, her debut at the next Chevrolet Revolution Tour, Jan. 20 to 22 in Copper Mountain. She doesn't need to look far for an example of how to succeed at her sport's next competitive level.
At this weekend's Revolution Tour event in Spirit Mountain, Minn., Winter Sports Club rider Valerie Reynolds made the halfpipe finals and then went on to take second place in both the slopestyle and the rail jam events.
"I landed both my runs," Reynolds, 16, said of her technical slopestyle runs which helped earn her an invitation to the elite Honda Session competition, February 8 to 10 in Vail. "I just had three to four energy drinks before and got rid of my nerves."
Steamboat's Tyler Anderson also had a tremendous slopestyle run in which he stuck a 1080, but could not win the judges over and earned fourth. Spencer Tamblyn, SSWSC pro-am freestyle coach, also mentioned the solid halfpipe riding from Ariel Tredway, who just missed the finals cut and took ninth.
Perhaps the most impressive local performance at the Revolution Tour was at the boardercross course, where four of the top eight riders represented the Winter Sports Club.
"The top eight was stacked competition," Mick Dierdorff said. "It was neck-and-neck the whole way down between the top three with all the juniors going for junior worlds spots."
Dierdorff finished third, followed by Will Peddie, competing in his first-ever Revolution Tour event, in fourth. SSWSC rider Cleve Johnson finished in fifth and Conor Meyer took eighth.
The Club's Alpine riders also dominated the top finishing spots of a weekend NorAm Cup event in Le Relais, Quebec. SSWSC rider Vic Wild won Saturday's parallel giant slalom followed by teammates Ben Fairchild (2nd), Josh Wylie (3rd), Michael Trapp (4th), Eric Haskins (6th) and Darren Ratcliffe (10th). In Sunday's parallel slalom, Wylie took top honors, followed by Wild in second, Fairchild (5th), Trapp (6th), Kristin d'Eon (7th) and Ratcliffe (8th). On the women's side, Steamboat's Madeline Wiencke took 10th in the PGS and finished third in the PSL.
Rounding out Steamboat's recent international finishes, Tyler Jewell led all U.S. riders Jan. 9 at a parallel slalom World Cup event in Bad Gastein, Austria, in which he took sixth. Steamboat's Erica Mueller led all U.S. women with a 20th-place finish.