Steamboat Springs snowboarder Maddy Schaffrick impressive in return to competition | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs snowboarder Maddy Schaffrick impressive in return to competition

Luke Graham

— The nerves were rushing through Steamboat Springs snowboarder Maddy Schaffrick's veins.

On the eve of her first competition in 10 months, Schaffrick went to bed at 10 p.m. Thursday in anticipation of the Dew Tour Women's Snowboard Superpipe semifinal. By 2:30 a.m., Schaffrick still was awake.

"I was so nervous," she said. "But I woke up this morning, and all the nerves were gone. I was like, 'I know how to snowboard.'"

Schaffrick certainly was impressive Friday in Breckenridge, qualifying fourth with a second-run score of 79.

The top six women qualify for Saturday’s finals. Fellow Steamboat snowboarder Arielle Gold just missed the cut, finishing seventh Friday.

For Schaffrick, Friday's event had been a long time coming. She was having her best professional year last season before tearing the meniscus in her right knee prior to the start of the Winter X Games.

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She previously had torn the ACL, MCL and meniscus in the same knee in August 2010.

"It's been hard," Schaffrick said. "This last year was a lot easier than the previous surgery. I started seeing myself without snowboarding more easily."

Schaffrick moved to Salt Lake City in January and was able to strengthen the knee every day at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's Center of Excellence in Park City.

In October, she got back on her snowboard and trained in New Zealand.

She said the knee is better but described it as "old."

"I started calling it ‘Benjamin Button,’" she said. "Hopefully it gets younger as time rolls on."

After falling on her first run Friday, Schaffrick stomped her second run. She said she is not rushing back and looks at her season one competition at a time.

The finals begin at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Schaffrick said she has no grand ambitions of winning, just that she hopes to land another run.

She finished fourth at the event last season.

"It feels so good," she said. "It's great to be riding with my friends again and be in the competitive atmosphere. It's a hyped atmosphere here."

On the men's side, Steamboat snowboarders Matt Ladley and Benji Farrow failed Thursday to qualify for the finals.

Hughes finishes well at World Cup in Telluride

Steamboat Springs Winter Sport Club snowboard cross competitor Jarryd Hughes was the only local competitor to make the finals Friday at a World Cup in Telluride, eventually finishing 23rd.

Hughes, who burst onto the scene last season, ran into a tough initial heat that included X Games gold medalist Nate Holland and two Italian riders with World Cup wins.

"This sport gets harder and harder every year," Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboard director Jon Casson said.

Belle Brockhoff took a hard fall in training and couldn't make it out of the prelims. Jenna Feldman, in her first race of the season, was 22nd.

The team has several weeks off before the Jan. 25 and 26 World Championships.

5 with Steamboat ties named to US moguls team

Five skiers with ties to Steamboat were named to the U.S. Freestyle moguls team Friday.

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club members Pat Deneen, Jeremy Cota and Eliza Outtrim all were named to the A Team.

Brittany Loweree was named to the B Team while Ryan Dyer was named to the C Team. The first World Cup is Saturday in Ruka, Finland.

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