New Teams Have 2014 Sochi Olympics as Goal

With the winter sport season well under way in the northern hemisphere, the official announcement of the 2011-2012 US Snowboarding Halfpipe and Slopestyle team members has generated plenty of excitement. Adding to the excitement and competitive atmosphere is the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to include these events in the program for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The participating athletes were named by the US Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) at recently at the Sprint US Grand Prix held at Copper Mountain.

The first UD Slopestyle Snowboarding Pro Team includes some well-known names, such as Scotty Lago of Seabrook, NH, and Chas Guldemond of Reno, NV. The coach for the slopestyle 2012 team will be Bill Enos, former US Snowboarding athlete. Jeremy Forster, Director of US Snowboarding and US Freesking, was reported as saying that naming this team was a natural step in view of the event’s inclusion in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. We went on to endorse the skill of the athletes saying that they all have Olympic medal potential and are an amazing group of riders. As one of the most recent additions to the Olympic program, slopestyle snowboarding makes use of a stylized course with rails, boxes, kickers and other exciting freestyle features to be negotiated by riders.

The US Snowboarding Halfpipe Pro Team will include no less than four Olympic medalists, Greg Bretz, Kelly Clark, Gretchen Bleiler and Hannah Teter. Kelly Clark made a name for herself last season, claiming all the major titles in the sport and fans will no doubt be following her career closely as a member of the new team. The team also includes 2010 Euro X champion Kaitlyn Farrington, Matt Ladley and Olympian Elena Hight. The early opening of Copper’s 22-foot pipe gave halfpipe athletes the opportunity to get in a good amount of training ahead of the Sprint US Grand Prix opening event in Mammoth Mountain.

The Rookie Team will be led by Benji Farrow, and the women’s Rookie Team will be led by Maddy Schaffrick. Spencer Tamblyn will coach the Rookies. The US Snowboarding Snowboardcross Team is due to be named at Telluride next week, ahead of the USANA Snowboardcross Cup.