North Tahoe Series opens with rail jam at Boreal
The opening round of the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association North Tahoe Series went off at Boreal Mountain Resort on Saturday, bringing dozens of athletes to the slopes for the year’s first rail jam.
Skiers and riders took on a handful of features near the bottom of the mountain, taking advantage of the setup in place from Boreal’s Expression Session the night before.
Each age group of competitors were given 30 minutes to get in as many tricks as possible, hiking back to the top of the section of features after each run in a bid to rack up the most points.
Incline Village skier Jaret Cross took first place in the boys’ freeski 14-and-over division, landing some of the day’s best tricks, including a couple of massive flairs off the wall ride feature at the bottom of the course.
“Also the diversity I had on the rails,” said Cross on what won him the competition. “That definitely put me a little higher up on the rankings.”
Cross finished his heat with 1,070 points, topping Northstar teammates Anders Norman, of Truckee, who finished with 960 points, and Noah Rodarte, of Truckee, who scored 850 points for third place. Cross also took third place at Boreal’s Expression Session the night before.
In the freeski open class, Truckee’s Zachary Poulin, 17, took first place with 1,020 points behind some of the day’s best work on the rails.
“The trick I was most hyped on was, I got on top of the wall ride feature, stalled, did a 180, and then I did a 360 back in,” said Poulin, who skis for Olympic Valley Freestyle and Freeride Team, otherwise known as Squaw Free. “That was my finisher.”
Poulin, who is a longtime competitor on the North Tahoe Series, enters the season coming off an injury he credits with changing his approach to the sport.
“I broke my jaw in the Revolution Tour in New Hampshire last season,” he said. “It kind of changed my outlook on skiing. I’m more doing it for fun and my mental game is better. When I was younger — and I can see it in my team members — they’re all about, I wanna get first, and I’ve strayed away from that and gone more toward skiing for fun … just pushing myself and not caring what other people do.”
As someone who’s been on Squaw Free since he was 10 years old, Poulin said he is trying to instill some of what he’s learned in the up-and-comers on the team.
“I’m the oldest park kid on the team now,” he said. “There wasn’t really a mid-generation, and now there’s just a lot of 10- and 12-year-olds, so I’m just out there skiing with them. It’s fun because I’m helping them, and inspiring them in a way, which is cool.”
The team also picked up a first place in the deepest field of skiers of the day, the boys’ 10-13 age group. Mack Winterberger, of Truckee, defeated 13 other skiers to claim first place with a score of 1,140 points. The Squaw Free skier won the rail jam overall title in the boy’s 9-and-under age group last year. Truckee’s Charlie Keith was second with 1,030 points, followed by Mitchell Keeffe, of Danville, with 920 points.
Will Hasselman, of Los Altos, was the lone competitor in the boys’ 9-and-under competition, taking home first place with 1,010 points.
On the girls’ side, defending rail jam champion Elisa Paquier, of Saratoga, took first place in the 10-13 age group with 1,010 points. In the 9-and-under competition, Truckee’s Abby Winterberger took an uncontested victory with 1,010 points. Truckee’s Marea Adams was also the lone competitor in her division, taking the win the open class with 1,010 points.
In snowboarding, Adam Laboda, of Chester, took first place in the deepest field of riders, the boys’ 10-13 age group, scoring 1,130 points. South Lake Tahoe’s Luke Leal was second with 1,020 points, followed by Bradley Morse, of Hillsborough, with 910 points.
On the girls’ side, Veda Hallen, of South Lake Tahoe, took the win in the 10-13 age group, scoring 1,070 points. Viviana Oram, of Berkeley, was second with 960 points, followed by Stockton’s Nadia Harper-Herbold with 850 points.
In the boys’ 14-and-over division, defending rail jam champion Cole Sorensen, of Reno, took first place with 1,050 points. Joseph Senner, of Pleasanton, was second with 940 points, followed by Jake Small, of Granite Bay, with 830 points.
Last year’s overall rail jam winner out of the girls’ 10-13 age group, Ella Sorensen, of Reno, opened her first event in the 14-and-over division with a first-place finish, scoring 1,020 points. Truckee’s Hannah Norman was second with 910 points.
In the boys’ 9-and-under division, Mathew Laboda, of Chester, took first place with 1,060 points, followed by Truckee’s Tristan Bumann with 950 points, and Sky Turrentine, of San Francisco, with 840 points. Kori Hong, of Palo Alto, was the lone girl in the age group, taking first place with 1,010 points.
The North Tahoe Series’ Friday night slalom and giant slalom races at Boreal this week have been canceled.
“We must announce that we are delaying our GS and Slalom event set for later this week,” organizers posted to the series’ Facebook page on Christmas Day. “We had hoped this storm would come in a little bigger and fill in the holes on the (Auburn Ski Club) race hill, but we don’t quite have the width we need yet. Stay tuned for the new date to be released soon!”
The second rail jam event will be held on Jan. 13. For more information, visit NorthTahoeSeries.com.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at email@example.com.