U.S. Snowboarding Dominates 2007
Fisher, Jacobellis and Bleiler lead the charge into next season.
PARK CITY, Utah -- U.S. Snowboarding continued to roll in 2007 as pros Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO), Steve Fisher (Breckenridge, CO), Tommy Czeschin (Mammoth Lakes, CA), Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, VT) and Nate Holland (Squaw Valley, CA) nailed podium after podium across the globe.
"Overall, it was a great year," said U.S. Snowboarding Head Coach Peter Foley, who has been at the helm since the program originated in 1994. "We're seeing consistent progress from all the groups. The world competition keeps getting stronger, but so do we."
Another banner year for Bleiler
Bleiler picked up from her Olympic halfpipe silver medal in Torino with a win at the season opening World Cup, sharing the top of the podium with fellow Team rider Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) on Thanksgiving Day in Saas Fee, Switzerland. She then went on to podium at two Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix events and took second at both the X Games and US Open. Bleiler also won the State Farm U.S. Snowboard Cup in Lake Placid, NY for the second straight year, winning both World Cup events she entered. Fisher led a men's podium sweep in Lake Placid with Czeschin and Elijah Teter (South Lake Tahoe, CA) filling the other two slots.
Earlier in the season, Fisher posted a big stamp on his riding, notching his second X Games gold medal and relegating the seemingly unbeatable Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA) to second. The win adds him to an elite group of three riders with two X Games halfpipe wins (Fisher '04/'07, White '03/'05 and Todd Richards '97/'00). He then carried the steam into the second stop of the Grand Prix to win at Mt. Bachelor, OR. But it was Czeschin, the 2002 Olympian, who stepped it up on the Grand Prix landing on every podium and winning the final event at Tamarack, ID, to take the overall title and a new Chevy Truck to boot.
It was also the year of the rookie as U.S. Snowboarding rookie team riders stepped up to the podium with Matt Ladley (Steamboat Springs, CO) riding to the Chevrolet Revolution Tour title and stomping a third at the final Grand Prix. Getting it done on the World Cup for the rookies was Dylan Bidez (Minturn, CO) with a second in only his second World Cup start as the Calgary Olympic Park built a pipe to the exact proportions of the 2010 Olympic venue in Vancouver.
For the women, Clair Bidez (also Minturn), big sister to Dylan, landed third at the Vans Cup in Lake Tahoe, CA, and Ellery Hollingsworth (Darien, CT) nailed the first backside 900 on a quarterpipe for a women at the Paul Mitchell Progression Session in Lake Placid and finished third at the New Zealand Open. Young Jordan Karlinski (Aspen, CO), who is known for her snowboardcross skills, linked a barrage of tricks to take big air silver at the FIS Snowboard Junior World Championships.
"The '07 season for the halfpipe Team saw great success for our veteran riders as well as some solid results from our rookie team," said halfpipe Head Coach Mike Jankowski. "We had a blast riding the 22-foot pipes at events like the Tamarack Grand Prix. The future looks bright for the Team from the young riders on up to the veterans, 2010 is in our sights and we are trying to stay ahead of the game on our way there."
Jacobellis repeat world champion
In SBX, Jacobellis dominated again, clinching her second consecutive World Championship victory en route to the World Cup title with back-to-back wins at the U.S. Snowboard Cup in Lake Placid. She also won silver at the X Games for her career fourth medal at X (three SBX wins from '03-'05) as Joanie Anderson (South Lake Tahoe, CA) won gold passing Jacobellis at the finish.
Also at X, Holland defended his title after taking bronze at the World Championships. He closed the season with a World Cup podium run of back-to-back second place finishes in 72 hours at Lake Placid that nearly nabbed him the World Cup title. Olympic champion Seth Wescott (Carrabassett Valley, ME) would also medal at Worlds with silver, but was sidelined for the season after suffering a broken forearm at the World Cup opener, which began a month late due to unseasonable weather in Europe.
"It was a super fun year for the SBX riders," added Foley. "We saw good results out of the top-level guys, but even more exciting was the results we saw from the new kids."
Dishing out those results were Callan Chythlook-Sifsof (Girdwood, AK) and Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, MI), who took national bragging rights with victories at the VISA U.S. Snowboardcross Championships at Tamarack, ID. Both also notched their first World Cup podiums this season with Chythlook-Sifsof finishing third at the World Cup opener in Japan while Baumgartner capped his season with a second at World Cup Finals. Additionally, 15-year-old junior Brooke Shaw (Bantam, CT) won both halfpipe and SBX titles on the Revolution Tour, then closed the season with a bronze medal finish in SBX at Junior Worlds.
Alpine digs deep
Olympic riders Michelle Gorgone (Sudbury, MA) and Tyler Jewell (also Sudbury) produced top 10s this season with Jewell posting a career best World Cup finish with a parallel giant slalom sixth on the 2006 Olympic hill in Bardonecchia, Italy. Jewell was also sixth in PGS at the World Championships in Arosa, Switzerland, where Stacia Hookom (Edwards, CO) posted her best worlds finish with fifth before retiring from competitive riding after 12 years and seven World Championships with U.S. Snowboarding. In total, U.S. riders loaded the finals 23 times with Justin Reiter (Steamboat Springs, CO) making the top-16 eight times.
In a sport where experience counts, U.S. Snowboarding piled in the start gates this season with multiple riders gaining World Cup starts including Lindsay Lloyd (Centerville, UT), who would take the PGS title at U.S. championships. Also winning U.S. titles were Gorgone, who took the parallel slalom crown and Chris Klug (Aspen, CO), who reclaimed both PGS and PAL titles from Reiter.
"It was a great season for U.S. Snowboarding. We have a strong mix of veterans and rookie riders in all our programs who are constantly pushing the level higher. We also have a super dedicated group of coaches who continue to drive the programs forward," said U.S. Snowboarding Program Director Jeremy Forster.
U.S. Snowboarding is set to be back on snow in early May for a halfpipe and SBX training camp at Oregon's Mt. Hood Meadows.