Steamboat's Taylor Gold, center, won first place in a U.S. Open half-pipe qualifier last weekend.

Courtesy photo

Steamboat's Taylor Gold, center, won first place in a U.S. Open half-pipe qualifier last weekend.

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboard program records more top results

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Steamboat's Kirby Kelly placed second in a U.S. Open snowboarding qualifier last weekend.

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Courtesy photo

Nik Baden placed second in a U.S. Open snowboarding half-pipe qualifier last weekend.

— The podiums just keep coming for a Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboarding program that already is in the midst of one of the best seasons of its existence.

The program picked up a number of big finishes last weekend at a U.S. Open qualifier at Seven Springs, Penn., fighting through an intense week of snow and tough conditions to earn podium finishes and qualifying spots for the U.S. Open event set to take place next month in Vail.

The top five women and top 10 men in each event qualified.

Nik Baden punched his ticket in two events. He was best in slope-style, where he finished second.

“On his last run, the course was really slow, and it was a really competitive field, but he made really smart decisions,” coach Ashley Berger said. “He killed it with a back rodeo to cab 9 to back double 10. It was pretty rad.”

Baden also was 10th in the half-pipe. There, he was joined in earning a trip to the U.S. Open by fellow Steamboat riders Paul Brichta, sixth; Alex Kondo, ninth; and Taylor Gold, who won the event with a dominating score of 94.4.

Gold continued his hot streak Tuesday by qualifying for the finals in the Euro Open snowboarding half-pipe event in Laax, Switzerland. He finished fourth in his semifinal heat. The top seven advanced.

Kirby Kelly, meanwhile, placed second for the women in half-pipe in Pennsylvania, also earning a spot in Vail.

“She had a rad run,” Berger said. “It’s a pretty big deal for our riders. We had some great results.“

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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