Chloe Banning, left, races teammate Jenna Feldman during a United States of American Snowboard Association snowboard cross event in Steamboat Springs. Banning wrapped up a banner year by solidifying her spot on the 2012 World Cup circuit.

Photo by John F. Russell

Chloe Banning, left, races teammate Jenna Feldman during a United States of American Snowboard Association snowboard cross event in Steamboat Springs. Banning wrapped up a banner year by solidifying her spot on the 2012 World Cup circuit.

Steamboat snowboarder Chloe Banning has banner year

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— It was tough for 2010 Lowell Whiteman School graduate Chloe Banning to talk about her latest and best snowboard cross season Tuesday.

Banning, a member of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, just wanted to be outside enjoying the sun. Unfortunately, a block of the biology of vertebrates and an all-day lab stood in the way for the 18-year-old Colorado College student.

But that might have been the worst news for Banning, who is coming off a second consecutive banner year in snowboard cross and has nudged herself into the conversation as one of the brightest riders in the country.

“I mean, going into the season with boarder cross you never know what is going to happen,” she said. “I was super stoked with the way I performed at the World Cup. I had to step it up a level pretty quickly.”

On the FIS Snowboard NorAm Cup, she registered seven top-seven finishes, including a win. She was the NorAm season champ for the second straight year and secured her spot on next season’s World Cup tour.

Banning was fourth in the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix and finished in the top 20 on the World Cup five times.

Maybe her biggest accomplishment was a third-place finish at the FIS Junior World Championships in Valmalenco, Italy.

“She’s technically and fundamentally one of the better riders I’ve worked with,” coach Jon Casson said. “She’s very calculating and goes for it. She’s competitive. When she gets on course with other people, she’s good at looking for spots where to pass. She doesn’t like anyone in front of her.”

Banning will spend her summer in Colorado Springs taking classes and working out on her own.

She isn’t sure what she will study, but said she plans to be back in Steamboat in fall to fully get ready for the season.

The goal will be to advance past the first rounds in the World Cup and hopefully be one of the final eight riders left at competitions.

Should Banning do that, Casson said she can make what she wants of her future.

“She just has to crack those barriers,” he said. “It’s get past that first round, then past the second round, then into finals, then you’re on the podium. If she can get top eight at a couple events, she’s put herself in the conversation for the 2014 Olympic team.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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