Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes prep for Telluride

Turnover, World Cup provide opportunity for young Winter Sports Club riders

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If you go

What: Race to the Cup NorAm snowboard races

When: A parallel giant slalom race is Monday, and a parallel slalom race is Tuesday. Qualifying for Monday’s race begins at 2:30 p.m.; finals are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Qualifying for Tuesday’s race begins at 10 a.m., with finals slated for 1 p.m.

Where: Howelsen Hill Ski Area, 845 Howelsen Parkway

Who: Top World Cup athletes from Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Japan and the United States will compete in races, which will help determine World Cup starting positions. Races start with qualifying runs followed by head-to-head races. Winners advance through a bracket to determine the championship heat.

— Turnover means a unique opportunity for several Steam­boat Springs athletes this week in Telluride.

Seventeen Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes are in Telluride preparing for the snowboard cross and Alpine parallel giant slalom World Cup events. The World Cup will kick off today with the snowboard cross time trials. Those athletes, including four from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, will go head-to-head in events Friday. Steamboat athletes are Chloe Banning, Roger Carver, Jenna Feldman and Celine Valentin.

“Some of the older generation of riders have retired from our team and from the U.S. Team,” said Thedo Rem­­me­­link, the club’s Alpine snowboarding coach. “The door is wide open for a new generation of riders.”

Thirteen of the Steamboat riders who will compete in the parallel giant slalom races scheduled for Thursday are in Remmelink’s Alpine race program.

Remmelink said his young riders are eager to get between the gates for a taste of World Cup competition.

The riders will include Michael Trapp, Vic Wild, Made­­line Wiencke and Lindsay Lloyd, who are coming off strong showings Friday in a World Cup start in Limone Piemonte, Italy.

But a new wave of young Steam­­boat riders, including Belle Brockhoff, Meghan Graham, Mack Joyce, Josh Banks, AJ Muss, Galen Gold­scheitter, Converse Fields, Garr­ett Sorteberg and Cass­andra Wagar, will be hoping to experience World Cup competition this week.

Remmelink said for most of the team, the World Cup starts will be a chance to gain experience. They also will be a preview of what the riders can expect the next week, when many of the same riders will compete in the Race to the Cup NorAm event at Howelsen Hill on Monday and Tuesday.

“It’s a great chance for our riders to see some of the best athletes in the world and to get to race them at home,” Rem­melink said. “These races are perfect as we head into the holidays.”

Jon Casson, snowboarding program director for the Winter Sports Club, said both events allow Steamboat athletes to step up to the next level without traveling to Europe for similar events.

Casson is coaching the snowboard cross team this week in Telluride and said he thinks his athletes will make the most of the opportunity.

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