Sun Valley Snowboard Team riders Hailey Rheinschild, Chase Josey, Ryan Roemer, Cameron St. Pierre and alum Mal Prior got things off to a great start during the first stop of the USSA Revolution Tour at Copper, Colo. Dec. 14-15.
Halfpipe qualifications took place Tuesday, Dec. 14 and slopestyle Dec. 15. Highlights included Rheinschild's 14th place in the pipe (the top 8 girls advanced to the finals) and Josey just missing the pipe finals by one-tenth of a point among the boys.
SVST program director Andy Gilbert said, "This was a great first set of events for these riders and the fact everyone was finishing in the top half of some very stacked fields bodes well for the season to come. The work ethic and attitude was more like mid-season and if this continues this group will do very well this season."
Here is Gilbert's on-site report, first with the pipe and then slopestyle:
"As the girls took to the pipe it was evident that the level of women's pipe riding is improving at the junior level at a rapid pace. After only two days in pipe all season Hailey Rheinschild was back in good form and showing her signature amplitude.
"Her run included nose grab, method, frontside and indy airs followed by a 360-360 combo that landed her solidly in 14th. Considering many of the top eight qualifiers have been in Colorado all month, her season is off to a great start.
"The men's field was by far the 'heaviest' field ever at a Rev Tour with a large international presence. Newcomer Cameron St. Pierre had good amplitude on all his straight airs and his spinning combos are really taking shape. Cameron finished a 53rd out of 90 in his rookie event.
"Ryan Roemer attacked the pipe throwing big straight airs and a stylish 540 combo and a backside 900 that bested some of the top junior riders in the country landing him 35th.
"Mal Prior was showing his signature spinning combos and big straight airs all day. After the first runs Mal was sitting on the bubble to make finals. The game plan was to up the ante and go for the 900 combo to lock in the spot but came up short on the backside 900 and fell out of the running. Still, Mal is riding strong and has quickly established himself among some of the best young riders.
"Chase Josey, fresh off a week in Copper for the Grand Prix events, was looking strong all week going into the event. Chase was throwing 720 combos, an extremely tweaked 900 and an inverted 540 that had a lot of people asking who he was! When the smoke cleared Chase missed making his first Revolution Tour finals by one-tenth of a point. With this result Chase is sitting second in the qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Innsbruck Austria in 2012.
"Snow and a very slow course greeted slopestyle Wednesday. Wax was key and after some brushing and adjusting the boys were ready to go.
"Mal was up first and ran through the course with a big 540-360-540 and a solid 12th after the first run. Ryan had a stylish 360-360-straight air run putting him in 24th. Cameron sent it a little deep of the first rail but recovered nicely for a switch backside 360, Cam unfortunately lost speed before the last jump forcing him to hit the small side but still finished in the top half with a 41st.
"Chase Josey threw nice 360 combos at the top and a third hit method to land in 19th after his first run. These scores would stand as the weather got worse and the event had to be stopped for safety reasons."
Halfpipe winners were Alex Ferreira of Aspen, Colo. and Kimmy Sharp of Park City, Utah. The slopestyle winners Friday were Brendan Wall of Rockport, Mass. and Emilia Wint of Denver, Colo.
The U.S. Revolution Tour is a four-stop series featuring both halfpipe and slopestyle skiing and snowboarding. This is the first year the tour has encompassed both skiing and snowboarding. The next tour stop is Meadows, Ore. Jan. 9-14.