Local ‘boarders fall just short
Steamboat Springs — Eleven members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s snowboarding team took a shot at qualifying for the World Cup this week in Copper Mountain.
The early season points race, hosted by U.S. Snowboarding, was a chance for three men and three women riders to qualify for the World Cup. Three spots had already been decided based on the current points list, but three other riders had a shot at making the World Cup team with a top finish.
Steamboat’s Adam Casanova, Justin Goto, Darren Ratcliffe, Michael Bates, Jason Jameson, Brad Dumas, Garrett Sorterburg, Ryan Miller, Sarah Hamor, Erica Mueller and Becky Bassett all competed in the giant slalom, which was held on Sunday.
Bassett, Hamor, Michelle Gorgonne and Goto also competed in the parallel giant slalom events that were held on Monday.
“We only had 12 days on snow, but I think we were as prepared as most of the riders there,” said Mike Mallon, Winter Sports Club snowboarding coach.
Top finishes came from Sarah Hamor, who just missed qualifying for the World Cup after missing the finals of the parallel giant slalom by three-tenths of a second.
“It was a good showing and I’m really happy with my results,” Hamor said.
She opened the competition with an eighth-place finish (third-best time among riders not already qualified for the World Cup) in the giant slalom.
But Hamor placed ninth in the qualifying run for the parallel giant slalom. The top eight qualifying times advanced to finals and Hamor needed to make the cut to earn a World Cup berth.
“I was kind of bummed that I didn’t qualify, but this is my first year with Mike (Mallon) and I would really like to develop my skills before I make that step,” she said.
Hamor came to Steamboat Springs from the Mission Ridge Club in Wenatchee, Wash. She is originally from New Hampshire.
“I’ve been on the tour the last two years, but these events were by far my best finishes. It was a big breakthrough and I realized that I can snowboard,” she added.
On the men’s side, another new Winter Sports Club member Casanova was also in the hunt for a World Cup berth.
He placed 10th in the giant slalom but crashed in the qualifying run of the parallel giant slalom and missed the cut.
“He would have made it if he didn’t crash,” Mallon said. “He’s riding really well right now.”
Casanova used to ride with the U.S. Pro Team but came to the club this fall to dial in his riding. Sunday’s result was his best ever.
The only local athlete to make the parallel giant slalom cut was Bassett. She advanced to the knockout round, where she placed fourth.
“She rode a smart race,” Mallon said. “She made one little mistake but competed well enough to make it to the finals.”
In the first round, Bassett faced and defeated U.S. Team member Lisa Odynski. But in the second round, another American team rider, Sondra Van Ert, was able to edge Bassett out in two runs.
Bassett advanced to the consolation finals, but was beaten by U.S. Team rider Lynn Ott.
“I am stoked, but I know I can ride better,” Bassett said after the race.
After the event, Mallon was pleased with the performance of all the local riders.
“Everyone rode really well. We gave ourselves the best chance to be successful given the short amount of time on snow.”
Mallon said the men’s field at the event was so deep that a single mistake was the difference between success and failure.
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