When Sunday's snowy weather at Copper Mountain, Colo. got Ali Appleton down, the 17-year-old Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Snowboard Team competitor "stepped it up," in her words.
Ketchum rider Appleton went out and won the national championship in the Junior Women's ages 16-17 halfpipe event on the second day of the 22nd annual United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) national snowboard championships.
With new snow slowing the pipe, Appleton went out "and had fun with it," she said, to the tune of an 87.3-point score and first place in the 15-rider class over 17-year-old Sydney Moses of Anchorage, Ak. (79.3).
Head SVSEF Shred Andy Gilbert said, "Ali landed a smooth run that included a stylish stalefish, into a frontside 360 to cab 360 combo putting her in first halfway through the first runs. She was even cleaner on her second run and had the two highest scores of the day—giving her an automatic invite to next year's event and on to bigger things."
Other early results for the SVSEF riders at Copper Mountain included a fifth-place halfpipe finish for 10-year-old Clara Jenner in Menehune Girls 10-11, and a ninth place for Hailey Rheinschild, 17, in Junior Women's 16-17 halfpipe.
Also, in a blizzard, fifth-place by Ryan Roemer, 15, in Youth Men's 14-15 giant slalom. Roemer made a good start in his quest to win the overall five-event championship. Roemer added a fourth in halfpipe.
In slopestyle, Jenner placed 13th and Appleton 16th. Rex Kelly was eighth in Junior 16-17 halfpipe and Cameron St. Pierre 29th in Youth 14-15 HP.
Over 1,600 competitors from swarmed the Copper Mountain base village this week. This is the first year USASA has divided competitions for skiers and snowboarders.