Burns completes strong weekend with second place in Sunday’s snowboard slalom | SteamboatToday.com

Burns completes strong weekend with second place in Sunday’s snowboard slalom

Austin Colbert

— Robbie Burns wants to make the Olympics, and he doesn't mind taking the more unconventional road to get there. At 25, he is among the oldest athletes at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, having decided to first graduate from college before pursuing his snowboarding dreams.

"If you look at the athletes who are really doing well at the World Cup level, a lot of them are older," Burns said. "So age isn't as big of a consideration in our sport as grooming a kid in ski racing. But I want to go to the Olympics. I want to do it in 2018. I want to secure a spot on the World Cup by getting first, second or third on the North American Cup this year. It's a short timeline, but I'm 100 percent dedicated to making it happen."

Originally from Mount Shasta, California, Burns is in his third season with the Winter Sports Club. And during the weekend might have been his best as a Steamboat athlete.

Burns won races Friday and Saturday before finishing the weekend off with a second-place finish Sunday in a NorAm Race to the Cup parallel slalom event at Howelsen Hill.

"This weekend has been kind of like a dream for me. I've been working toward this for three years," Burns said. "It's amazing. It's really a humbling feeling. It's true. You put the work and the effort in and baby steps and you see results."

In his standout yellow pants, Burns was on top of his game all weekend. He won the men's open division of Friday's giant slalom race, a United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association event. Then Saturday in the Race to the Cup giant slalom, he worked his way through the 16-man bracket for another first-place finish.

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Burns found himself back in Sunday's final against the same man he defeated in Saturday's final, Canada's Sebastien Beaulieu. However, Beaulieu got the best of him in the rematch, a loss that certainly didn't dampen Burns' feelings toward the weekend.

"It's my passion. It's what I love to do and what I'm going to continue to do until I reach my goals," Burns said. "Getting a first yesterday and a second today puts me right where I want to be. Now I just need to continue doing it and continue working hard for the rest of the season."

En route to Sunday's final, Burns defeated SSWSC teammate Billy Winters in the men's quarterfinals. Winters, 18, was overshadowed by his younger brother, 15-year-old Cody, on Saturday, but made up for it by taking third on Sunday, defeating fellow Steamboat snowboarder Michael Trapp in the small final.

"Yeah, I'm super happy with how it went. It was better than yesterday," Winters said. "Robbie is a super nice guy and it's fun to race him. Unfortunately, I crashed up at the top both times. But it's always good to race your good friends."

In the women's parallel slalom Sunday, Canada's Emma Van Groningen defeated fellow Canadian Katrina Gerenscer in the finals. Taking third was Japan's Aoi Ishinaka and fourth was Park City's Abby Champagne.

The next NorAm Race to the Cup event will take place in late February in Holiday Valley, New York. Until then, some snowboarders, including Burns, plans to get overseas to compete in the Europa Cup circuit.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

NorAm Race to the Cup results

Sunday’s Parallel Slalom

Men

Place, racer

  1. Sebastien Beaulieu
  2. Robbie Burns
  3. Billy Winters
  4. Michael Trapp

Women

  1. Emma Van Groningen
  2. Katrina Gerencser
  3. Aoi Ishinaka
  4. Abby Champagne

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