The Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club Snowboard Team recently ended its season on a Rocky Mountain high note with an impressive performance at the 23rd annual USASA Snowboard National Championships.
The team earned its way into Nationals with a string of unprecedented successes in the Southwest Colorado Snowboard Series. Held in Crested Butte from December through March, the Southwest Series consists of three contests in each USASA event, including slalom, giant slalom, half pipe, rail jam, boardercross and slopestyle.
TSSC riders controlled the Southwest Series all season, with several riders earning first place honors in regional competition.
“We did really well,” said Dylan Cooney, TSSC Snowboard Program director and head coach. “I’m so proud of the kids, we really dominated.”
With more than 1,700 competitors representing 32 regions converging on Copper Mountain from March 31-April 5, this season’s National Championships played host to one of the largest events in the history of the USASA competition.
Despite unseasonably warm temperatures rising into the low 60s, Nationals saw the members of the TSSC Team prove their board-riding prowess on a big stage.
“It was so warm that conditions would get really slushy by the afternoon,” said Cooney. “Copper [Mountain] did a great job with the courses, but the jumps were massive. You were at a real disadvantage if you didn’t stomp your first run.”
It seems that stomping the first run presented few problems for the TSSC riders, as the team performed with precision, skill and composure.
This year’s Nationals also proved to be a family affair for the Cooneys, with Dylan coaching sister Molly Cooney to a first place in giant slalom and first place in half pipe in the Women’s Jam division. Mother Bebe Cooney rode to a fourth place finish in half pipe for the 50- to 59-year-old Kahuna Women’s division and brother Beecher Cooney earned 26th place in slalom, 17th place in giant slalom, fourth place in half pipe and 30th place in slopestyle. Beecher’s combined honors garnered him a third place finish on the overall podium in his division.
Not to be outdone, the rest of the TSSC Team faired equally well, with notable performances by Riley Doyle (ninth place in boardercross), Logan Petrie (43rd place in slopestyle and 13th place in half pipe), Jack Clark (12th place in half pipe and 21st place in boardercross), Hobie Plumber (14th place in half pipe and 47th place in slopestyle) and Lucas Foster (22nd place in slopestyle and seventh place in half pipe).
According to Coach Cooney, growing up and training in Telluride has provided the members of the team with a distinct competitive advantage.
“The park here is not up to par with others around the country, but Telluride has some of the best freeriding terrain anywhere,” said Cooney. “Riding Telluride gives the kids a really, really solid foundation for snowboarding anywhere … it forces you to be adaptable.”
As this year’s USASA season comes to a close, Cooney hopes that the team’s results at Nationals will pave the way for a future of continued success, both on and off the slopes.
“Doing so well this year definitely helps a lot of the kids out with sponsorships, which, in these economic times, is huge,” said Cooney. “I’d like to get into higher end contests next year, but I’ll be proud no matter what happens. In the end I try to focus on the fun aspects of snowboarding, and I’d like to see that carry over into the kids’ everyday lives.”