Friday, December 24, 2004

Sun Valley boarders ride strong at Breckenridge Grand Prix

Team enters winter with spring performance

In a field 0f 96 riders including Olympic halfpipe gold and bronze medallists Ross Powers and JJ Thomas, Sun Valley Snowboard team riders performed "as well in this event as events last spring," says A-Team coach A.J. Grabos as he drove the team back from the Chevy Grand Prix event in Breckenridge, CO on Monday.

Jeremy Black, who finished in the middle of an incredibly high level field, had a very strong weekend in the pipe. In addition to Black, local riders who faired well included Michael Kunz, Austin Butler, and Jens Peterson.

With the Olympics only a year away, team athletes in a variety of disciplines are competing in as many events as possible. For the Sun Valley snowboard team members, the chance to compete against the best in the world provides a valuable experience.

According to Grabos, the riders' strong performance now spells future success. "It's a good base for the rest of season," he said.

In addition to professional competition in the pipe, Michael Kunz competed in an amateur rail event held by TransWorld magazine and Smith Sport Optics. A rail was set on top of the Smith limousine for athletes to ride in a free form jam event.

In early January, the boarders load up the van again for the USASA Utah Winter Games, an intermountain event in Park City, Utah.

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