Breaking down the North Tahoe snowboard series
The North Tahoe Snowboard series is just one of 34 series that make up the heavy event schedule of the USASA (United States of America Snowboard Association). Throughout the winter season, thousands of snowboarders venture into the mountainous regions all across America to compete for bronze, silver and gold plus a coveted place in the National Championships in Maine at the end of March.
The 2002/03 season’s event schedule started in mid December for the North Tahoe riders with slalom events in Boreal ski resort followed by freestyle events at the same venue in early January. But it wasn’t until last weekend that the series really began heating up with riders traveling from all over the region to compete in the sunshine and snow of Donner Ski Ranch.
The event director Freddog Mertl once again pulled his team together to provide a challenging course for all 90 plus contestants. Slalom was on the Saturday and Giant Slalom on the Sunday. Snowboarders of all ages turned up to compete, from 8 year old Summer Fenton of San Francisco to 60 year old Gary Hurst from Washoe City, Nevada who both took gold in their respective age categories.
The North Tahoe series also boasts some of the finest up and coming talent with a strong group of riders possessing the ability to turn professional. Young Danny Witty from Scotts Valley is only 9 years old but already he is consistently taking gold in his Grommet Boys category but he is also beating many riders twice his age. 11 year old Eric Brede of Sonoma is way out in front in the Menehune boys category, whilst 12 year old Ross Baker from Reno beat every other rider on the weekend except for 17 year old national team rider Jayson Hale of Sierraville.
The girls of the North Tahoe series also rank high in the national standings with the fiercest competition being in the Youth Women 14-15 age group. Reno rider Aurel Baker and Truckee’s own Allyson Carrol consistently battle for the
top spot while Andrea Russell, also of Truckee, is just outside in third. In the older 18-22 women’s age group the undisputed queen of the hill so far is 18-year old Allie Owens from Tahoe City.
Truckee riders going fast and taking gold in their categories on the weekend were Randy Mertl in the Men’s Jams and Jonathon Penfield and Michael Morrow in the Youth Men. In Sunday’s Giant Slalom Master Men 30-39 group, British riders Ian Felton, aka Brit Boy, and Rory Hewitt challenged and beat Saturday’s slalom gold winner Ernest Alvarado to take gold and silver, while everybody’s hero Fred Freddog Mertl took gold both days in the Legend Men 40 to 49 age group.
The Series takes a weekend off and is back in Boreal Ski Resort
on Jan. 25th and 26th for the Boardercross events. It then carries on
through February with more Giant Slalom contests as well as Halfpipe and Slope Style events at Diamond Peak, Northstar and Sugar Bowl.
The National championships are at Sunday River in Maine at the end of March.
For full listings visit http://www.usasa.org and click on North Tahoe Series or
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Team Palisades Tahoe skier Travis Ganong had a career day on Friday, competing on the iconic Birds of Prey course in Beaver Creek, Colorado.