Steamboat Springs' Arielle Gold lands on the podium again

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— Arielle Gold admits the past three weeks have made things different.

The 16-year-old Steamboat Springs snowboarder is amid the best stretch of her competitive snowboarding life. It continued Friday in Park City, Utah, where Gold again found herself on the podium.

This time, her first-run score of 80.25 was enough for second in the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix event.

China’s Jiayu Liu was first with an 82.

“It’s been quite a whirlwind,” Gold said from her hotel room Friday. “I had a few minutes after each comp to reflect and be excited. But before I know it, it’s on to the next contest.”

Keep them coming, because Gold is having a remarkable run.

She won the World Championship half-pipe event in mid-January. Although that didn’t feature many of the world’s top competitors, any questions about her ability in the pipe were dashed with a bronze medal in the X Games in Aspen last week.

Gold went from first alternate to podium in Aspen. She followed it up Friday with another podium.

“I have the podiums in my sights now that I’ve been on them,” she said. “Still, I’m just trying to focus on landing a run.”

Gold’s stature in the sport also is growing. In the span of three weeks, Gold said she’s getting recognized more often and meeting more people within the industry.

Case in point: Before the X Games, Gold had fewer than 300 followers on Instagram. After standing on the podium in Aspen, that number ballooned to 1,300.

“These last few contest people are starting to hear the name,” she said. “I’m not going to lie. I have a memorable last name.”

On Friday, Gold found the podium without her best run. In practice, she was working on her frontside 900 and hit her shins on the deck. In her first run she put together a frontside 540, backside 540, frontside 720 and cab 720.

Even without the frontside 900 and cab 900 that helped her win bronze in the X Games, Gold’s run Friday was good enough for silver.

She leaves Saturday for the Burton European Open in Laax, Switzerland.

“It’s been pretty exhausting going from one to the next,” Gold said. “It gets tiring. But I’ve been to so many cool places. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

On the men’s side Friday, Arielle’s brother, Taylor Gold, finished 11th in the men’s finals.

Fellow Steamboat snowboarders Matt Ladley and Maddy Schaffrick didn’t compete in the Grand Prix.

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

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