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Gold hoping to spin his way to U.S. Open repeat

— It’s not as if a new trick can lift Taylor Gold to a new level.

The Steamboat Springs half-pipe snowboader has already soared to the top of his sport, winning big-time events like Dew Tour and last year’s U.S. Open. He’s been to the Olympics and has competed in the X Games the last two seasons.

“The run I’ve been doing has been pretty good to me,” he said.



Indeed.

Still, he has his eyes on a new trick, one he’s been working on all season, and he’s hoping it — a switch 1260 — can help him repeat as U.S. Open champion.



The competition begins for half-pipers Thursday in Vail with the qualification round.

He’ll be joined on the men’s side by Matt Ladley. Arielle Gold will compete on the women’s side.

All three are coming off strong weekends competing at a U.S. Grand Prix event in Park City, Utah.

There, Taylor Gold was second and Matt Ladley fourth in the finals. China’s Yiwei Zhang stole the show, taking first with a huge 98.00 run. Gold had a very solid 94.75. Australia’s Kent Callister was third at 88.50 and Ladley fourth at 85.75.

Zhang “put down a pretty amazing run,” Taylor Gold said. “I would have liked to have won, but I was really stoked for him, too.”

Taylor Gold and Zhang earned a split of the season-long Grand Prix championship.

Arielle Gold had a strong day of her own, placing second behind, who else, Kelly Clark.

Clark was in at 94.50 and Gold 88.75. Xuetong Cai was third at 80.75.

“I was trying to go a little bit bigger on my second and third runs and also put a cab 9 in there, but it just didn’t end up working out,” Arielle Gold said. “I definitely need to work on going that big a little bit more, just so I’m a little more comfortable with it.”

They’re all hoping to build on the results this weekend.

For Taylor Gold, it could mean landing that switch 1260, three and a half complete rotations, all switch, or backwards.

It won’t be easy.

“It’s just a really hard landing because you’re landing switch and landing blind,” he said. “It’s really challenging.”

He’s been working on the move for about three years and said he’s only landed it about 15 times.

Practice makes perfect, however, and he’s hoping the repetitions will pay off and he can land the trick in Saturday’s half-pipe finals.

“It’s possible,” he said. “Obviously, I need to make finals first. This is one of the hardest events to make finals in because every great rider is here. Making finals is the first step.”

Baden pushed to Friday

Nik Baden was supposed to get the snowboarding started for Steamboat Springs riders Wednesday in the men’s snowboard slopestyle semi-finals. That plan was scuttled by bad weather, however. The competition was canceled.

Instead, there won’t be any qualification round. All the riders will compete Friday in the finals and get two runs instead of the planned three.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9


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