Steamboat snowboarders prep for Junior Worlds

Steamboat riders prep for Junior Worlds

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— The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboarding teams registered several top finishes this month leading up to the 2011 FIS Junior World Snowboard Championships in Valmalenco, Italy.

Taylor and Arielle Gold led the Steamboat charge, each making the finals of a halfpipe Grand Prix event at Mammoth Mountain, Calif.

Taylor finished 13th and Arielle finished sixth. The finish also earned Arielle a spot in the Youth Olympic Games next year in Austria.

Other top finishers included Natalie Geer in 18th, and Benji Farrow, who finished 10th in halfpipe and 16th in slopestyle.

The team then went to the U.S. Open in Stratton, Vt., and faced some of the worst conditions of the year. Under rain and sleet, Taylor finished 26th and Arielle finished 21st.

In the U.S. Open Junior Jam, Nick Baden and Maddie Mastro each finished second.

The Winter Sports Club now prepares to take a large contingent to the Junior World Snowboard Championships.

In Alpine snowboarding, Steamboat will be represented by Christian Allen, Rosina Mancari, AJ Muss and Cassie Wagar.

In the halfpipe, Arielle and Taylor Gold will be joined by Kirby Kelly. Arielle, 14, will be the youngest competitor in the field.

In snowboard cross, Chloe Banning and Mick Dierdorff will represent the Winter Sports Club. Banning, with a NorAm win, and Dierdorff, who has been competing on the World Cup, are expected to perform well.

Winter Sports Club coaches Ashley Berger and Jon Casson will attend the competition, as will former Winter Sports Club coach and current U.S. Snowboard Development coach Spencer Tamblyn.

“For a lot of these kids it will be their first international competition,” Berger said. “I just want them to ride to the best of their ability. Once you move toward this international field that’s where you really measure your skills.”

The Junior World Championships begin March 29 and continue through April 3.

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