Olympians Past and Present
US Olympic Ski Team Alumnus David Currier congratulates his son Lyman as he secures his place on the 2014 USA Freeski Team bound for Sochi WINTER 2014
Welcome to the inaugural edition of the USASA e-magazine! In this Winter Olympic year, we wish the athletes and coaching staff of Team USA the best of luck for success in Sochi! As you will read in the following pages of this publication, many of those competing, officiating or coaching athletes from the USA have deeply rooted ties to the USASA. Whether it’s slopestyle, halfpipe, alpine snowboard racing, cross events (on snowboard or skis), the USASA has been the starting point for almost every athlete competing in these disciplines at the twenty-second Winter Olympic games. Good-luck to our USASA alumni competing in Russia! Closer to home, this year the Copper Mountain resort will host the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first USASA National Championships. Event site preparations at Copper Mountain are well underway for the many events that will be presented there in late March and early April: Slopestyle, Boardercross®, Halfpipe, Skiercross, Alpine Snowboard, Nightly Rail Jams and new this year: Banked Slalom, will all be featured events for over one thousand athletes competing at the 25th USASA National Championships. It is an exciting time for the world’s oldest and largest snowboard and freeski organization and we thank-you for taking the time to learn more about the USASA from the articles you’ll find in our new e-magazine publication! Please be sure to visit our website: www.usasa.org
Cover Photo Sarah Brunson
Pete Davis, USASA Executive Director
The Road to Gold Begins Here
Ty Walker, age 16, is one of the youngest members of the first US Olympic Womenâ€™s Slopestyle Team heading to compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Ty began her road to gold with USASA in 2005 /2006. Her first USASA National Championship was at NorthStar in Lake Tahoe.Ty has competed every year since leading up to her Olympic debut. She is the current USASA Open Class Women Slopestyle National Champion. Photo/Ty Walker competing at the 2013 USASA National Championship, Copper Mountain, CO. photograph by Jennifer Langille
01. WELCOME 05. LYMAN CURRIER 11. SOCHI ROLL CALL 15. USASA BOUND for SOCHI
21. MIAH WHEELER 27. FUELING UP FOR SUCCESS 29. USASA ALUMNI SPOTLITE 33
39. USASA HISTORY 43. USASA SERIES DIRECTORY 03
Virtually every member of the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team started their competitive career in the USASA. “I grew up riding the green mountain series in Southern Vermont, it gave me great experience that led me to where I am today.” ~ Kelly Clark, X Games Champion, Olympic Gold Medal “I went to the first USASA nationals and several after that. It was my first big snowboard trip/ event and a place I got to test my riding against the best in my age group from all over the country.” ~ Ross Powers, Olympic Gold & Bronze Medal, 4x X Games Medalist Media Guide | 2014
2012 Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain Halfpipe Finals
Flying High and Bound for Sochi by Pete Davis & Kate Gaier photographs by Sarah Brunson
2014 USASA Team member and US Freeskiing Team athlete, Lyman Currier 19, is heading to Sochi next week to com-
pete in men’s halfpipe competition. According to the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) overall world ranking list that came out yesterday, Lyman is ranked #2 in the world. Lyman follows in his father’s footsteps, former alpine racer David Currier, 61, who competed in the 1972 Winter Games in Sapporo also at the age of 19. David adopted the mantra “pressure is privilege” during his time competing in Sapporo and now Lyman is carrying the legacy of his father’s words as he embarks on his trip to Russia.
Overcoming injury is always a challenge,
for even the most gifted athletes. Emotionally and physically an athlete has to learn to be patient and commit to months of painful rehabilitation. It’s not an easy road. To overcome injury and rise to the top of one’s chosen sport is nothing short of inspiring. Lyman Currier generates that kind of inspiration. Broken ribs, torn ACL and meniscus and corrective eye surgery are just a few of the many challenges he faced on his way to earning his spot on the US Freeski team competing in the twenty second Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Currier, who won the 2013 USASA National Halfpipe Championship title, underwent corrective eye surgery following his win at Copper Mountain. Prior to the laser procedure (pictured below,) he was literally flying blind on his rightside hits as he couldn’t spot his take offs or landings.
landings like never before, AND I have stereoscopic vision, which is really incredible for flat light especially.” Lyman wasted no time following eye surgery (pictured below) and was back to a rigorous training schedule with rejuvenated commitment and 20-20 vision. “After my eye healed, it was off to Park City for a week of hard morning/evening water ramp session and COE workouts in between. Then it was a week of just gym, and on to Whistler for 2½ weeks of putting new pipe and slope tricks to snow. I went back to Boulder to work on strength, agility, and balance for 3 weeks before leaving for the New Zealand comps in early August.”
“In June after Team camp at Mammoth, I had PRK laser surgery on my right eye. I’ve been pretty blind in that eye since birth with an extreme focal length difference from my left, but hardly anyone knew about it, and I was used to it. But now I can see better to hit switch right takeoffs and all my unnatural
His return to competition in New Zealand showed real promise for the upcoming season with a convincing win at the New Zealand Open Halfpipe. Back in his native Colorado, Currier worked on perfecting his new trick the switch dub 10, and
“Lyman has no doubt that he wouldn’t be where he is today without USASA providing a real development comp series close to home, with a National Championships (also in his backyard every year!) that allowed him to compete in an Open division at a very early age.” ~ David Currier
Halfpipe Qualifiers at Cardrona, New Zealand
adding additional maneuvers to his already impressive arsenal. With newfound confidence, higher amplitude and the option of throwing new moves, Currier was in prime form, just in time for the Dew Tour and Grand Prix Olympic qualifying events.
father-son skiers from the United States to have competed in the Winter Olympic Games (Bob (’72) and Jimmy (’06 & ’10) Cochran)
His hard work and dedication immediately paid off with podium finishes at three of the five Olympic Halfpipe qualifiers. He showed amazing resolve and courage, throwing down new tricks at the final Olympic qualifier. When other athletes may have opted to ski a more conservative “safety” run in such an important contest, Currier skied with precision, huge amplitude and abandon, winning the final Olympic qualifier and securing his ticket to Sochi. Following his win, Lyman was exuberant.
Both David and Lyman (pictured below) made their first Olympic Team at the exact same age, 19, in similar fashion. David earned his spot by scoring two top ten finishes at Kitzbuhel, Austria in his very first attempts at “The Streif” (the final stop on the World Cup before Sapporo and generally recognized as the most demanding on the circuit). Lyman secured his spot with 2 podiums (3rd and 1st) in the final Olympic Halfpipe Qualifiers at the Visa Grand Prix in Park City, Utah. David was one of three Mt. Washington Valley, NH skiers (the other two were brothers Tyler and Terry Palmer) to be part of the 8-man Sapporo Alpine squad. Lyman is one of three Colorado men, out of four going to Sochi, to make the Halfpipe Team (along with Torin YaterWallace and Aaron Blunck).
Sochi-bound in just a few days, Currier is working on perfecting new tricks in the XGAMES halfpipe this week, focusing on right dub 12’s and other dubs with his fellow Colorado USASA Aspen Series halfpipe skier Torin Yater-Wallace. Aspen is providing the two athletes with sled service and access to the post X-GAMES Halfpipe so that Currier will be dialed in for his Olympic debut. At age 19, Lyman is heading to his first Winter Olympic Games at the same age that his father did in 1972. David Currier, who competed in Downhill and Giant Slalom in the Winter Olymics in Sapporo, Japan was a stand out on the US Ski Team before racing professionally on the Peugeot Grand Prix Tour in the early 1980’s. Both Currier men have had similar roads to their Olympic nominations. David and Lyman Currier are one of only two
photo provided by Currier Family
“I can’t believe I landed on top! I went to the top and the only thing I could do was focus. It’s so surreal. I can’t even believe that this is going on right now. I think the Olympic fans will love this sport. We do crazy stuff and they will love it.”
Some other interesting parallels between the two Curriers include:
Both Currier men were/are the same height, same weight, same build, same intensity when entering the Games. David is a longtime employee of Smith Optics, still heavily entrenched in the snow sports industry. Lyman, naturally, is a Smith ski team sponsored athlete (along with Quiksilver, SickTrix, K2 Skis, Marker, Dalbello, and GoPro). Ironically, even though Freesking Slopestyle and Halfpipe weren’t even around when David qualified for Sapporo in Downhill and Giant Slalom, Lyman has inherited the same competitiveness, strong mental and physical capabilities, and a sensibility about danger and risk. While Downhill emphasizes precision and speeds approaching 90MPH (now 100MPH!) over extremely difficult terrain; modern-day halfpipe demands precision and speed for ever increasing amplitude. Requires certainly with all that is going on, especially much of the time taking off or landing backwards (or ‘switch’). So, what can we expect to see in Sochi? Here’s a sampling of what Lyman’s been throwing down on his way to Russia:
pipe and has a window about 3 feet wide to hit. Miss in either direction and the penalties are severe. Too much outside and he’ll land on the deck, as he did in a warm-up event in Copper before the 3rd at Dew Tour Olympic Qualifier, shattering his tailbone and separating 2 ribs, just 5 days before the Dew Tour Olympic Qualifier. Too much inside and well, let’s not go there. Commenting on the role that the USASA has played in Lyman’s road to Sochi, David Currier stated: “Lyman is certainly indebted to the Rocky Mountain Series, and has no doubt that he wouldn’t be where he is today without USASA providing a real development comp series close to home, with a National Championships (also in his backyard every year!) that allowed him to compete in an Open division at a very early age. Without USASA, it would have been really hit or miss for him to travel long distances to try to break into the pro ranks.”
Lyman’s signature opening trick, a switch double corked 1080, involves dropping into the pipe backwards, going up and taking off the opposing wall backwards with enough speed to elevate for 3-4 seconds, 20+ feet above the pipe deck (and, since the pipe walls are 22’ high, 42+ feet about the flatbottom of the pipe). All the while flipping backwards twice down the pipe, off-axis (the ‘corked’ part), and spinning 3 full rotaions. All the while holding an elaborate ‘grab’ of his ski! This maneuver is mostly done blind, in Lyman’s mind’s eye, as he sees the pipe only briefly during the backwards flips, and again just prior to landing as near to top of the deck as possible (more speed and easy amplitude for the next trick). In that 3-4 seconds, 20 feet above the deck, he’ll travel about 80-90 feet down the 2014 Visa Freeskiing Grand Prix in Park City, UT
OLYMPIC Roll Call When the US Olympic Team takes center stage in Sochi, keep an eye out for these athletes all of whom began their road to gold with USASA! Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe
Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe
Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle
Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle
Greg Brett, Unbound Series * Danny Davis, Middle Earth, Southern VT Series Taylor Gold, Rocky Mountain Series Shaun White, So Cal Series * Chas Guldemond, New Hampshire Series Sage Kotsenburg, USASA Ryan Stassel, Big Alaska Series Shaun White, So Cal Series
Alex Deibold, Southern VT Series Trevor Jacob, Unbound Series
Kelly Clark, Southern VT Series* Kaitlyn Farrington, ID Intermountain Series Arielle Gold, Rocky Mountain Series Hannah Teter , Rocky Mountain Series *
Jamie Anderson, South Lake Tahoe Series Jessika Jensen, USASA Karly Shorr, Middle Earth Series Ty Walker, Northern VT Series
Faye Gulini, Rocky Mountain Series * Jackie Hernandez, Rocky Mountain Series Lindsey Jacobellis, Southern VT Series *
Justin Reiter, Rocky Mountain Series
Men’s Skier Halfpipe
Aaron Blunck, Rocky Mountain Series Lyman Currier, Rocky Mountain Series David Wise, USASA Torin Yater-Wallace, Aspen Series
Men’s Skier Slopestyle
Bobby Brown, Rocky Mountain Series Gus Kenworthy, Rocky Mountain Series
Women’s Skier Halfpipe
Maddie Bowman, South Tahoe Series Annalisa Drew, Southwest Colorado
Women’s Skier Slopestyle
Keri Herman, Rocky Mountain Series Julia Krass, New Hampshire Series Devin Logan, USASA Maggie Voisin, Inland Northwest Series
* Member of past Olympic Team Current Team USASA Members Parents = Past/present Series Directors
The Road t o Gold Begin s Here...
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Aaron “AJ” Muss
I started snowboarding when I was 8 years old and right away I loved
it. That winter I jumped right into the competitions just for fun and to see a different side of the snowboarding community. At the time I was trying out every discipline within the USASA competitive series (slalom, giant slalom, boarder cross, half pipe, and slope style.) Those weekends were some of the most exciting times I’ve had as a third grader. The years went by, and I have continued to love and compete within the USASA competition series, forming true bonds with not only the other competitors but also the staff and volunteers. Now I have really set my sights on one discipline: half pipe. The USASA series have always been the start for most professional snowboarders’ careers, preparing them for the world cups and grand prixs. It has not only prepared me for larger events, but has put the idea in my head of possibly going to the Olympics in the future. It is hard to put my feelings into words on what going to the Olympics would actually mean to me, but I can say that it would be an experience that I would never forget. It would be such an honor to be able to say that I was part of such an elite group of athletes that made it to the Olympics. To be able to say I competed in the same competition that legends such as Ross Powers, Danny Kass, Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter once medaled in would be incredible. The Olympics have always been something that have been in the back of my mind, but this past season I started to realize that one day it could be more than just a thought. It could become a reality. In the upcoming season I am hoping not only to progress in competitions and in skills, but also just to have fun! Can’t wait to see what the future will bring. ~ Hannah Merson, Youngest member of the 2013-14” USASA Snowboard Team
Notable USASA Alumni
Shaun White Kelly Clark Hannah Teter Danny Davis Kimmy Fasani Ross Powers Danny Kass Louie Vito Andy Finch Arielle Gold Gretchen Bleiler Keir Dillon â€Ś. and many, many more!
SOCHI2014 by Pete Davis photographs by Bill VanGilder
When the XXII Winter Olympic Games take place in Sochi Russia, USASA will be there in full force. While snowboard fans will be focused on the stunning performances of former USASA athletes including Shaun White, Kelly Clarke, Hannah Teter and Danny Davis, a completely different roster from the USASA will be on hand to manage logistics and judging duties in Sochi. Here are a few of the key players who will be in Sochi, all of whom have direct ties to the USASA.
As a former USASA National Champion in Alpine Snowboard racing, Bill VanGilder (BVG) certainly has a special appreciation for what it takes to succeed at the highest levels of the sport. His longtime association with the USASA includes terms as the President of the Executive Board, Series Director of the Mid-Atlantic Series, National Championships Head Technical Supervisor and Event Director. With that kind of resume it was no surprise that the FIS recruited Bill to serve as the Technical Delegate for Snowboard Halfpipe, Snowboard Slopestyle, Freeski Halfpipe and Freeski Slopestyle for both the Men and Women in Russia. When asked what event management experiences led to being named as the TS in Sochi, Bill replied, â€œThe USASA Nationals has to be the best experience I received to prepare for the Sochi Olympics. When you have the honor of being the Nationals Event Director for a few years, you are bound to gain experience. USASA Nationals is the Largest
BVG, Technical Supervisor Slopestyle
Snowboarding Event on Earth, even bigger than the Olympics.” Having served the many roles that he has within the USASA, Bill is the perfect candidate to manage the venues in Russia. He credits developing many of the skills he will need in Sochi from serving as a USASA Series Director and working at his familyowned restaurant, where multi-tasking is all part of the big picture. “At the local level of USASA, you can’t substitute the experience you get from being a “jack of all trades” and having to do it all. The number of hats that may be worn at a single event are usually too many to count.” As a USASA Level 4 Technical Supervisor, FIS Level A Technical Delegate for Snowboard and Freeski in Halfpipe, Slopestyle and Cross Disciplines, Technical Supervisor and Technical Delegate for the USSA (United States Ski and Snowboard Association), Bill certainly has an impressive number of “hats” to choose from when he arrives in Sochi. Officiating on the world’s biggest stage is compounded by cultural and language differences, a multitude of personalities and international politics and can certainly be demanding. “Dealing with the public on a daily basis, employees and all their many different personalities and work ethics can be challenging. You really learn how to get messages across to people, and motivate your workforce. Over the years, in any given season of snowboarding or freeskiing, you could be faced with 6-12 different teams of individuals that are there to help you manage a competition. You need to quickly identify strength and leadership among the group handed to you and execute a quality event. This is all before weather comes involved of course.”
The less than perfect snow conditions in both locations is also possible in Sochi as it was at the Sochi World Cup this past season.” Ensuring that the athletes competing in Sochi have a great experience, VanGilder once again taps into his experience and long time involvement with the USASA. “As stated in USASA’s Mission Statement, “Facilitating fun and fair events”, this is what I strive to accomplish at all events I am associated with. It is no different here at the Olympics. We all know there are rules to follow, procedures to adhere to and a program to produce. In the spirit of USASA, I will help ensure that we run a fun and fair event for all those involved. The USASA is an amazing organization that the world holds in high regards. Let’s not try and reinvent the wheel, but offer opportunities and leadership to our youth. It’s more than a sport, it’s a way of life that we all have chosen to be close to our hearts. “ Bill, his wife Rebecca and 23 month old daughter, Harper, live in his hometown of Pocono Pines, Pennsylvania, where he will be opening a new Wahoo’s Fish Taco restaurant in the Spring of 2014.
Bill points out that of the many factors that nobody can control, weather and climate may pose the biggest hurdles faced by organizers. “We will need to pay close attention to forecasts and current conditions to prepare the snow for the athletes properly. “ Referring to challenges posed by Mother Nature at previous Winter Olympic Games, “The weather in both locations (Vancouver in 2010 and the Torino Olympic trials in 2006) was a challenge; having to focus on the preparation of the snow took center stage.
As an Olympic Bronze medalist gymnast, Phoebe Mills is intimately aware of the nuances of a judged Olympic event. Widely acknowledged by her snowboard judging peers as one of the best in the business, Phoebe holds certifications as an FIS A Licensed and IJC/TTR Pro Judge and will be in Sochi judging Snowboard Half Pipe and Slope Style events. Her ability to discern the subtle differences between each athlete in a judged competition comes from years of officiating at a variety of snowboard competitions around the world. “Judging at USASA Nationals and the USASA Southern Vermont Series was some of my best preparation and experience due to the variety in levels of riding and the number of competitors. Those events taught me to how to stay focused no matter the temperature, the weather, my frozen fingers and toes, or anything else. Other helpful events have been the US Open, the Grand Prix events and various FIS World Championships and World Cups.” Her three B’s? “Be on time, be prepared, and be professional!” Phoebe has deep roots with the USASA and currently serves as an officer of the USASA Foundation: “The USASA Foundation’s mission is to create grant programs that will benefit talented athletes, officials, coaches and series directors to further enhance the sports of
Phoebe Mills, Judge Halfpipe
snowboarding and freeski in accordance with USASA core values.” An attorney by trade, she is currently, the Program Manager at Woodward Tahoe. Over the past decade, Phoebe has served the USASA in a variety of roles including Executive Board member and Vice President from 2005 to 2011. She has also been instrumental developing judge education clinics and coordinating National Championship judge scheduling. Olympic competition is a tradition in the Mills family. Phoebe’s oldest brother, Nathaniel, competed in three Winter Olympic Games (’88, ’92, and ’94) in speed skating and her husband Rick Shimpeno, has coached elite level snowboarders, some of whom will be competing in Sochi. Although she never competed in snowboarding, Phoebe coached the sport, working with some of the world’s best riders, at the Okemo Mountain School in Ludlow, Vermont, the alma mater of Olympic Gold Medalist, Hannah Teter. Phoebe also was a coach for the USASA’s Junior National Team. Commenting on her deep involvement with the elite level athletes and the Olympics, Phoebe states, “Being an Olympic athlete in gymnastics helps me understand what the actual event is like and the gravity and specialness of being a part of it. All the best US riders have come through the USASA… all young snowboarders and freeskiers should experience USASA Nationals as a rite of passage in their careers.” As she balances her career at Woodward, her new role as mother to her one-year old daughter Esmé and exciting opportunities to judge half pipe and slope style events at Sochi, Phoebe reflects on what it takes for athletes, judges and officials to make it to the pinnacle of their chosen sport. “Work hard and persevere toward your goals.” One of the perks she’s looking forward to is “having the best view of the most amazing snowboarding” when the action takes center stage in Russia this February.
The 2014 USASA National Championships Competition Director is well versed in living internationally. Raised in the United Kingdom and Australia, Ritchie Date grew up skiing from the young age of two in Chamonix, France. It was during these family trips to the French Alps that Ritchie fell in love with snow sports. His passion for skiing has led him to the Winter Olympics in Sochi where he will serve as the Technical Supervisor (TS) for SkierCross events. While in Russia, Mr. Date will be working with the Race Director and Technical Delegate (TD) to ensure the venue is built to standard, and offers safe and fair competition to all athletes. He will also be assisting with Snowboard Cross, and the Slopestyle competitions as these three events share the same arena. As a past employee of the Competition Department at the Copper Mountain Resort, Ritchie worked to ensure high quality
Ritchi Date, Techincal Supervisor SkierCross
presentations at a number of USASA National Championship events. He credits his experience with the USASA as a key factor in developing skills that he hopes to put to use in Russia. “I think running USASA Nationals at Copper for so long has taught me that no matter what the challenge, or how bad the weather and conditions, that there is always a solution and that everything will work out. I am definitely looking forward to working with the ‘best of the best’ in the industry from around the world! I am always looking to learn new things and develop my skills….and what better place than the winter Olympics!” Ritchie runs his own, private contracting company in Summit County, focusing on re-modeling and renovations, a job that provides him with the flexibility to globetrot during winter months. His winter duties officiating and coaching take him across the nation and comments “National USASA events, Masters racing and town series, NorAms, IPC events all the way to acting as FIS Race Director for World Cup events; these different events have all given me a wide variety of experience that will hopefully help me in Sochi!”
Wheels up for Sochi Miah WHEELER
As Head Coach of the US Paralympic Boardercross Snowboard Team that will compete at the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Miah Wheeler will be leading his athletes into the highest level of competition in their sport. For over a decade, he has dedicated his life to working with athletes as a snowboard coach. For the past two years, he has focused his attention on training an elite group of adaptive athletes. Working with the US Paralympians, he frequently finds his role expand to one of an advocate, inventive equipment customizer and logistics expert. As the sport has evolved, Miah has been on the cutting edge of equipment refinements to ensure that boots, boards and other snowboard equipment are modified to suit the specific, very individual needs of the adaptive athletes he mentors. Sometimes, adjustments require on-hill
photographs provided by Miah Wheeler
by Pete Davis
THE A2 COLLECTION —
Taking integration to a new level, the A2 collection is the culmination of the industry’s most elite goggles and helmets. Utilizing only high-end styles, A2 combinations have been paired together for optimal style, ﬁt, and airﬂow.
Rider: Jason Robinson
IT’S beeN SaId If They’Re Safe, They’ll have fUN, aNd If They have fUN, They’ll leaRN SoMeThINg. a Riglet Park couldn’t be described any simpler. It’s all about the kids, without the distraction of other resort guests zooming around. The parks are designed kid-size and funfriendly to ensure hot cocoa requests are an afterthought. The Riglet Park has revolutionized our but the Riglet Reel attached to burton 80, 90, and 100 cm boards to help the kids navigate the terrain means they’ll at least earn the cup when it’s time.
approach to teaching kids to shred. Kids are able to attain their goals while having fun, leaving the hill feeling like they have accomplished something rather than just participating. –Mike Chait Snowboard Manager, Smugglers’ Notch Resort Snow Sports University
modifications (a la McGyver at his finest). In addition to making sure that his athletes have the right tools and equipment they need to succeed, he acknowledges the importance for a coach to always be open to new ideas. “Get critically intimate with coaching technique, philosophy, and tactics. Always look for advantages and better ways to interact with your athletes to help them succeed.”
photographs provided by Miah Wheeler
A founding member of the Coaches Snowboard Education Program, Miah has been intimately involved with the USASA for the past two decades, first as a Slopestyle and Alpine competitor, then as an official (Level II Technical Supervisor), Executive Board member and coach. Following his successful stint as a competitor in the USASA, Miah was the Series Director in his hometown of Aspen, Colorado, where he developed one of the top event series in the country. He served as the USASA Team Manager for six years, developing riders, some of who will be competing in the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. In addition to serving on the USASA Executive board for four years, in 2013 Miah stepped up to serve as the Slope Style Technical Supervisor at the USASA National Championships at Copper Mountain. Sanctioned as an elite, Level 300 coach, Miah’s sterling record as a coach is complemented by the materials he developed to improve the quality of coaching, nationwide. This past summer, working with the USASA, USSA, AASI and the USSCEP, he re-designed Level 100 and 200 Coaches Clinic Materials and created new “Endorsement” clinics for specific disciplines within competitive snowboarding. Concurrently, he developed new clinician “how to run
effective coaching clinics” materials to assist coaches leading clinics and ensure consistent, professional presentations at coach clinics, nationwide. While creating these materials, his focus expanded to include riders just entering the sport as he developed the USASA / Burton Experience Clinics with the marketing team at the worlds largest snowboard company. The clinics are designed to provide a cultural overview of snowboarding while introducing riders to “terrain-based-learning” skills over the course of a very fun, but intense, one-day educational seminar. According to Wheeler, understanding the rules of your sport is one of the most important elements to develop in order to become a successful coach. “Understanding the rules helps coaches understand how to guide their athletes. Knowing all the major organization’s rules and formats is critical to success. A lot of coaching is just mileage and hanging around other coaches you respect. Know the rules and the spirit in which they were formed. That goes a long way in talking with officials and
As he prepares to bring the US Paralympic Boardercross Snowboard Team to Sochi this winter, he’s already looking forward to the overall experience of visiting Russia, especially at such a unique time in the country’s history. Asked what he was most looking forward to, Miah, always the “mountain man” replied, “Amazing powder days on a mountain that not many people will ever get the chance to ride! Watching my athletes achieve their dreams, that’s pretty special to be a part of. I am honored to be a part of the Paralympics and represent my country.”
(from left to right) Mike Shea, Miah Wheeler, Evan Strong (in back,) and Amy Purdy (also pictured below/Photo provided Patrick Quinn).
US Paralympic Team Member Amy Purdy shares, “With The Sochi 2014 Paralympics just weeks away I wouldn’t be where I am today without my support team which includes our US team Coach Miah Wheeler. He not only coaches us on our riding skills but he is very strategic with how we go about training, competition and our mental state. Miah always says, “There are things we know, there are things we don’t know and there are things we don’t know yet that we don’t know.” This idea has helped me multiple times including this past weekend when I wanted to change boards before a race. I entered the “ things we don’t know” space and after listening to his advice I stuck with the board I knew and walked away with a silver medal up from a bronze the day before. I am so grateful to have Miah as our coach, I certainly would not be where I am today without his expertise and dedication to the team.”
photographs provided by Miah Wheeler
advocating for your athletes. The politics can take some getting used to as well!”
Fueling up for Success on the Road
photograph by Jennifer Langille
Will your diet affect performance on snow?
Yes! You will feel stronger and more focused at your event when you eat well on the days before your big event, as well as the morning and day of your competition and on the days following your competition.
What are the best foods to eat? A well balanced diet is the key to success. Aim to include a variety of foods from all food groups. Include low fat dairy products, such as cheese, milk and yogurt, as well as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources.
What are some good lean protein sources? You might include eggs at breakfast or waffles topped with yogurt and fruit. Chili is a great pick for meals or snacks. Turkey burgers, bison burgers or turkey sandwiches are all great choices. You can often find these foods in the resort lodges and in restaurants when travelling to and from events. Chicken, fish and seafood are all great protein picks. Stick to grilled, roasted or baked options, rather than breaded and fried varieties, for optimal nutrition.
It’s easy to ignore thirst signals. When we “under” drink, we often experience headaches, fatigue and poor performance. Drink water and other healthy beverages throughout the day. Do not wait until you are thirsty. By the time you are thirsty, you are already partially dehydrated and performing under your potential.
What are some other good tips? Keep healthy snacks, such as bananas, apples, energy bars and peanut butter sandwiches on hand. Replenish your nutrient stores right after exercise. This will help you recover and stay energized for events later in the day and the following day. Keep a water bottle with you and drink up throughout the day. Plan for healthy meals on the road. Check on-line for menu selections at local restaurants. Parents can also help plan for healthy meal and snack options at events by organizing a food table for their local competitors.
Often when travelling, we have found healthy meals in local supermarkets. Many stores have sushi displays and salad bar/soup bars. Some markets make great homemade chili and breads. Add some fresh fruit and you have a great, quick, healthy and tasty meal to go.
What about beverages? Hydrating yourself with healthy beverages is an important part of a well balanced diet. This will help maintain your energy level throughout the day. It’s especially important when exercising at altitude, when an even greater amount of body fluids are lost.
Caryn Davis, RD, MS Nutrition & Excercise Physiology, Columbia University with her hiking partner Brady
“I snuck into a bar where some of the older competitors from USASA worked to watch the 1998 Olympics. I was in awe of the entire thing. It was at that moment that I confirmed in my head and my heart that snowboarding would be the guiding force in my life. “ Do you remember the tipping point of when you knew the road to Olympics was for you? When snowboarding was first admitted to the games I knew at that moment that I wanted to be an Olympian. I snuck into a bar where some of the older competitors from USASA worked to watch the 1998 Olympics. I was in awe of the entire thing. It was at that moment that I confirmed in my head and my heart that snowboarding would be the guiding force in my life. Did you ever have a moment when you thought about doing something else? Snowboarding can be tough. Despite all of the awesome days of riding with friends and having fun it is also very demanding. You have to sacrifice a lot in order to be a professional snowboarder. Because of the stress involved I
catch myself thinking about what is next. But I don’t think about doing something else YET because I truly love what I do. It is a gift. What was your earliest USASA Competition memory? My first contest! I remember it vividly. It was a Slalom and I went around all of the gates backwards. I got disqualified or DQ’d. I had no idea what that meant. I learned quick that finishes should have numbers not letters. It was one of the most fun days I have ever had on a snowboard. No expectations, no goals, just the thrill of going fast and riding with friends. Do you still keep in touch with your friends from early USASA days? Yes, a ton of them, one of my best friends Darren
photographs by Sarah Brunson
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Ratcliffe and I grew up racing together and are great friends and still ride together. I grew up in a really strong series with so many talents that are stlll in the industry. It’s crazy to look back on old results sheets and see the names of what I would call legends. AND everyone competed in everything. Going for the overall was really impressive back then. What is your favorite part of being involved with USASA? The constant reminder of how fun snowboarding is. From the little rippers to the granddads of shred and everyone in between USASA has a wonderful ability focus on the fun and the joy of the ride. What is the best advise or quote that someone has shared with you, that kept you pushing forward in hard times on this journey for the Olympics. I was very lucky to have great coaches while growing up. They all enhanced my life and grew my riding. But each of them put fun in front of results and hard work in front of rewards. IT
gave me my work ethic drive and passion. What is the best thing anyone ever said to you after a bad day at the races? I had an older competitor tell me after a really hard day that he “believed in me”. I was so flattered at his statement that I really began to think about it and realized that I wasn’t believing in myself. I decide that I needed to focus on that, I won the GS the next day. The advice “BELIEVE in YOURSELF” it still continues to help me now. The best thing anyone ever said to you after a great day? “I told you so” What’s in your suitcase when you leave the country for a competition? Anything unique or special? I travel with Lavender Oil. That way when I move into a stinky hotel room I can make it smell nice. Aside from training, what else do you feel is vital to your preparation for Sochi?
I would like to keep my head in a good space. To stay away from the hype and just focus on riding. I started snowboarding because it was fun and the ride was incredible. I don’t want to lose sight of that because all of a sudden there is a big race. Who’s your biggest fan? MOM What would be your advise to our current 9 year old members starting out in USASA/ GS or Slalom? Go out there and compete in all the events. It will make you a better rider. Then as you get older choose what you love the most and go after it 100%. When you win a race invite both of the other guys on the podium to the top step with you for pictures. Shake their hands, look them in the eyes an say congratulations. When you lose a race make sure you shake their hands, look them in the eyes and say congratulations. Focus on the fun and you will never have a bad day. What would be your advice to their parents? Let the kids have fun. Support them but don’t
coach them. When your kid wins shake the parents hands and say congratulations, when your kid loses do the same. Don’t cheer too loud and keep in mind it is not about winning. Far greater lessons are learned from our temporary failures than our victories For parents and kids just starting out in GS/Slalom, where should they begin? Is there an article, book, website, etc, that you feel is the best starting point? How would you advise them on gear, etc.? SG Snowboards makes great boards for kids and young riders. Getting on the right gear can really help. Parents often think that hard boots are the difference maker in winning races. When I started I rode a race board with steep angles and soft boots/ bidings. This helped to develop my feel so that when I did transition to hardboots it was much easier. The best course you’ve races on to-date? I love the national hill at Copper Mountain, its a super fun run. I also love Howelson Hill in Steamboat Springs.
In his youth Justin Reiter went by Justin Goto.
An Interview with Snow Park Technologies
While SPT works with the some of the world’s best, and builds the highest level of courses - what would be ‘words of wisdom’ to our younger riders who aspire to that level?
A: It is easy to forget that all of
the pro athletes got their start in snowboarding/skiing by going out and just having fun with their friends and families at their local resorts. At the end of the day, we really all got into these sports because they are fun, so never forgetting that is the key to progressing and developing as a rider.
should athletes and their coaches be looking for, or expecting from their local terrain parks?
As everyone knows, terrain parks vary a lot from resort to resort, and depending on where you live and ride, there are a lot of natural variances between regions simply based on the local geography and climate, and that is all before factoring in a resort’s positioning goals and financial situation. That being the case, not all resorts
can practically or reasonably offer a 22’ halfpipe and four different terrain parks. However, resorts are embracing terrain parks more and more these days, and you can always have fun and progress on your board, regardless of if your local resort has one flat box or three dedicated jib gardens.
Q: How many tons of snow does SPT 33
move on average in a season?
e Mountains photographs provided by SPT
A: That is a great question, and one
that we wish we had an answer for. The easy response is: a lot! We work with 14 of the top resorts in the US, as well as numerous events, from the X Games to the Burton US Open to the Dew Tour, special athlete projects, and end of season photo/film shoots. Depending on how each year is snow-wise, and the type of projects that our partners are
looking for, the total amount of snow that we push in a given season can range from “a lot” to “way more than a lot.”
Q: How much snow does an X-Games/ Olympic level half pipe require? A: In order to construct a 22’, 6-hit
superpipe, similar to the one at X Games Aspen 2013, without any dirt work, you would need approximately 100,000
PH: JEFF NASS
JACOB ‘CUB’ CAREY PH: RYAN BREGANTE
cubic feet of snow. However, this number varies greatly between pipes, depending on whether or not the resort has invested in earthwork projects to created a smooth grade and dirt sub-structure for the pipe, which significantly reduces the amount of snow needed.
Q: Is there a course over the last
16 years that SPT is particularly proud of and why?
A: As a rule of thumb, we go into
A: We approach everyday by filling up
on a full tank of diesel, a few strong cups of coffee, and then whatever is open at the unusual times that our crew heads out to start the day. In order to complete a lot of our builds, we usually run roundthe-clock operations, so start times for our guys can range from the pre-dawn hours to late into the night.
Q: After completing a large project,
how does the SPT crew recoup and recover before the next job?
A: Our winter schedule doesn’t really
every project that we work on with the goal of making the best courses possible. While it is hard to choose just one build as the “best,” some of the standouts include the Red Bull Cubed Pipe for Simon Dumont at Squaw Valley, the Burton Big B feature at Northstar California, the private pipe that we built for Shaun White in the backcountry of Silverton with Red Bull, and the Star Wars Burton Riglet Park at Sierra-at-Tahoe. But the list keeps on going from there.
allow for much rest between jobs, but our crew normally heads back to our offices in Reno/Tahoe following each project for a few days with their families and up on the slopes, before they head off to the next job. Everyone at SPT is a snowboarder, skier, snowmobiler, or some combination of the three, so when we aren’t working in the winter, we are probably out at one of our local SPT Partner Resorts or hitting our favorite secret powder stashes.
before tackling the day?
For more information on SPT: Website – www.SnowParkTech.com
Q: What is the ideal SPT breakfast
A unique opportunity for current members of the USASA is being offered this year. A nationwide video and editing contest, hosted by Reel Theory Productions, is taking place across the country this winter. GoPro is providing two, GoPro Hero 3 + video cameras to each of the 30 USASA series, nationwide. Series Directors will loan the GoPro cameras to their members to film and edit videos supporting the theme, “Why my USASA Series is the best!”
Founder of Reel Theory Productions, Andrew Mutty provides the following advice for aspiring videographers: “My #1 recommendation is to have FUN with this event. Get crea- tive with the story line and attempt as much unique filming as possible. The overall goal here is to prove to the world “WHY your series is the BEST!” Take the time to let us know what makes your crew different and interesting. It’s your time to shine!” With 30 contests running concurrently, video content of USASA series will be robust. Mr. Mutty, a professional competitive snowboarder prior to starting Reel Theory Productions, provided additional direction to videographers, editors and athletes, stating; “Form your team. Most series already know who the best filmmakers are from their regional area. Kids are making edits all the time, so try to link up and identify who those kids are first. They will lead you down the right path of forming a team. Each series is dedicated to have one team per series. This team films for one video. This is your chance to showcase how your series is so awesome by using a collaborative effort in making your videos. A team can be anywhere from 5-20 kids. The more kids you
Andrew Mutty, Owner/Operator Reel Theory Productions Video Games Events
have filming, the better your material will be so we encourage you to embrace your whole regional area. USE THE SHOT LIST. This shot list is designed to help you get the most out of your team. For example: Film this interview, film these tricks, film etc. We have set the ground work and now your crew can do the rest. What to film? Film anything you want or can; film events, have kids film street rails, film park material, or film backcountry, but make it true to your regional series.” Camp Woodward is providing weeklong sessions for their digital media camp as well as sessions for general ski / snowboard participants as part of the prize packages that will be awarded to the top videographers and featured athletes. A film night and awards presentation will take place at Woodward at Copper, during the 2014 USASA National Championships in April. Rules, format, instructions, judging, prizes and registration information may be found at: http://www.videogamesevent.com/usasa-go-pro/
Our StOry 1988 -
Former amateur surf coach Chuck Allen incorporates the United States Amateur Snowboarding Association (USASA) in July with a $500 donation from Transworld SNOWboarding Magazine. USASA is the first governing body exclusively for competitive grassroots snowboarding. The organizers believed that by forming a national association for snowboard competitors, rules of competition could be standardized, an annual national championship event could be established, and the recreation and fun of this rapidly growing sport could be preserved and flourish.
Each year has seen an increase in the number of competitors
participating within the USASA. Top riders from each series
qualify to compete in the annual national championships. Regional series host a wide
variety of events including snowboard slalom and GS, halfpipe, rail jam, boardercross速, skiercross, slopestyle and new this year: banked slalom.
Craig Kelly and Kerri Hannon accept positions
to serve on the USASA Pro Advisory Board, enabling them to have direct input into the affairs of the USASA, especially in the area of formulating rules for the amateurs.
The USASA holds their premiere national championships in February, at Snow Valley, California. The worst snowstorm of the decade hits just before the event and closes all roads to Big Bear. Amateur snowboarders from all over the country are left stranded. A rescue caravan of locals led by USASA founder Chuck Allen sneaks the competitors past the police barricades and gets them to the contest on time.
dent Don Sather hosts Nationals at Mt. Hood Oregon. The event is sponsored by Mountain Dew, Lib Technologies, Black Diamond, and Checkered Pig.
Gordon Robbins hosts Nationals at Stratton Mountain, Vermont. Don Sather is reelected President.
- In an effort to work with US Skiing and Snowboard organization (USSA) the Two organizations agreed on a combined National Championships at VAIL, CO. Don Bostick is elected President, Tom Collins is elected Secretary/Treasurer.
Don Bostick and Tom Collins are welcome with open arms to new resort Sierra at Tahoe (formerly Sierra Ski Ranch). Nationals is expanded to a four day event with the addition of SlopeStyle. Four weeks prior to the event Don Bostick has a cliff accident and breaks his back. Tom Collins picks up the over-
all supervision of the event. Both Don and Tom are re-elected.
and LXD. Gary Pehrson and Jay Erickson are re-elected.
tion (ISF) choses Telluride for the Junior World Championships and USASA decides to pool resources and stays at Telluride for an additional year. BoarderCross is added as a fifth event. Jason Toutolmin is brought onboard to tabulate.
Jay Erickson of the Upper Mid-West Series negotiates to have Nationals held in the middle of the country at Giants Ridge, MI and BoarderCross is added as a Trial event. Giants Ridge was the first year for the format that we use today. Four events going everyday with the age groups put into larger groups and rotated around to the venues.
Moving the event back to the center of the country, Telluride, Colorado opened their doors to welcome the USASA. Tom Collins elected President, office moves from Minnesota to Truckee, CA
Don Bostick and Tom Collins are re-elected.
USASA National Championships features over 1,000 athletes for the first time. Schalorship monies were added to the Nationals budget. Nationals check list was developed.
A concerned parent convinces the organization to create an executive board and hire an Executive Director. Over the course of several months, the Board chooses Tom Collins to become the first Executive Director.
For the first time Nationals repeat at a resort. The International Snowboard Federa-
This was the year adaptive athletes were invited and encouraged to compete in USASA
The book, â€œExtreme Snowboardingâ€? by Pat Ryan is published with editorial content provided by Don Sather, Exec. Dir., USASA.
Shaun White wins the Grommet Age Group G.S. and Halfpipe at Nationals. Danny Kass takes Menehune title in Slopestyle at the same contest. Both riders would later go on to become double medalists in consecutive Winter Olympic Games ( White = 2 x gold, Kass = 2 x silver,)
USASA National Championships Waterville Valley, NH with 891 athletes in attendance. It rained before Nationals and stopped raining just long enough to complete the events.
- In an effort to save the Nationals because of schedule and resort commitment issues the event is moved back to the West Coast southern California. ESPN sponsors the event through the efforts of Jim Beau Andrews, Austin Hearst
The 1990 National USASA Team
- The Nationals are moved back to the East Coast, Mt. Snow/Haystack. Gary Pehrson is elected President, and Jay Erickson is named National Event Director
Our StOry 2010 - USASA Alumni
events. Capstone Press publishes “Big Air Snowboarding” by Anne T. McKenna with content consultation provided by USASA.
make headlines at Vancouver Winter Olympics bringing home five medals from the Halfpipe venue.
2001 - Mammoth Moun-
- USASA Mission and Vision statements established.
tain hosts USASA National Championships. The new Executive Board elects Peter Green as the new President. Large amounts of snow inundate the event with 985 athletes in attendance.
Rail Jam becomes an official competitive discipline at USASA regional events.
- Rail Jam featured at USASA National Championships for the first time.
- For the second time Nationals repeats at a resort. After 9/11/01 and a weak economy the overall sucess of the 2001 event prompts the organization to have Mammoth Mountain host again. There were 1,139 athletes in attendance.
2003 - USASA Nationals
hosted by Sunday River, Maine. The opening event also marked the start of the Iraq war. 1,025 athletes made it to Sunday River that year.
2004 - Nationals move to
Southwestern USA (Angel Fire, New Mexico.) The event is held with very little snow fall that year in the central rockies. 1,118 competitors in attendance.
2005 - Keeping the Na-
tionals in the center of the country the winning bidder for the event is Copper Colorado. 1,363
Pete Davis hired as USASA Executive Director. athletes in attendance.
2006 - USASA Nationals held
at Northstar, Tahoe because of the course building capabilities provided by SnowTech Technologies. 1,447 athletes attended
2007 - In the third repeat of
a resort hosting Nationals Northstar at Tahoe again hosts the National championship. Jason Toutolmin is elected as the new Executive Director of the organization. 1,500 athletes in attendance.
- USASA Nationals return to Copper Mountain and remain there for following consecutive six years. The event expands to six days and over 1,600 athletes competed.
The USSA honors the USASA with the Russel Wilder Award for oustanding contribution to youth. “Without USASA, the USA would not be able to dominate in the sport of snowboarding as we do today.” ~ USSA Snowboard Sports Committee
2013 - ADK Series Direc-
tor Mike Kirchner named Comp Director for 2013 USASA National Championships, second year.
- “9 and Under Free” program, Banked Slalom and Nationwide Video Contest introduced.
USASA Members Cover FIVE Regions Across the Country. Making up 30 Competitive Series. ROCKIES Aspen Snowmass Big Mountain West/Intermountain Rocky Mountain Southwest Colorado Southwest Freeride
Big Alaska Central Oregon - Enter The Dragon Mt. Hood Idaho Mountain Inland North West North Tahoe South Tahoe Southern California The Unbound
“The USASA Foundation and its support for the young children of America are the biggest reason I had a chance to win an Olympic medal. If not for the USASA, I would never have had a chance to compete at the junior level. It gave me the tools and experiences I would need for my entire career as a professional snowboarder. I came from the MASS (Mid Atlantic Snowboard Series) and will forever be thankful to everyone who volunteered and helped keep our young snowboarder’s dreams alive.” Danny Kass, 2-time Olympic Silver Medalist
“Those weekend events, turned into national events, into international events, into a professional snowboarding career. It’s been such a blast watching my friends progress, and share the dream! We all started in the USASA. I have so many amazing memories with the USASA and have made lifelong friends.” Chanelle Sladics, X Games Medalist, Dew Tour Champion
Holding Contests in twenty-three states. With 5,500 + Members CENTRAL New England
Huck Finn Mid-West Best Middle Earth Raging Buffalo Upper Midwest ALT
Maine Mountain Massachusetts New Hampshire Northern Vermont Southern Vermont
Adirondack Appalachian Catskilll Mountain Mid-Atlantic Western New York SnowOhio
“If it were not for the USASA I would have never broke out of Fresno. USASA has the competition ladder to get you to the top. Their events have pulled so much talent together from many places where kids otherwise would never had a chance.” Andy Finch, US Olympic Team, 2003/2004 Grand Prix Champion
“USASA was the first contest series I competed in. It allowed me to go to nationals and ride with the best riders my age from all over the country. Not only did that push my riding and get my snowboarding career started but I also now have a lot of friends to this day I met through USASA.” Louie Vito, US Olympic Team, X Games Champion
The Road to Go USASA Member Zander Parson (11 yrs) with USASA Certified coach Sam Lukens
old Begins Here photograph by Jennifer Langille
USASA Olympians Past and Present