Although this past weekend felt like the start of summer, there's still good riding to be had in Colorado -- and this week is also a prime opportunity to catch some of the country's best amateur snowboarders in action: The 23rd annual United States Snowboard Association's USASA National Championships got going yesterday at Copper Mountain and run through April 5, followed by the USASA Freeskiing Nationals April 7 through April 11.
"I am impressed with how well all the venues are riding," reports Travis Mclain, a coach from Aspen, via USASA.org. "It's cool that USASA builds custom courses especially for this event."
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The Nationals are, as they say, kind of a big deal -- the event is being billed as "the largest snowboard and free skiing event on earth" -- and it's also a big deal that Copper has the contract to keep them the contest for at least another four years: There are 1,705 registered competitors on the mountain this week, and the resort has rolled out the white carpet with venues for Halfpipe, Slopestyle, BoarderCross, Slalom and Giant Slalom events. And, believe it or not, the snow is still in pretty good shape. Ride groomers in the morning, strip down to your T-shirt and throw some slush around in the afternoon, then hit Woodward at Copper to work out over the trampolines and foam pits if you still have anything left in you.
The Nationals are held in the spirit of the USASA mission: "To facilitate fun and fair events for all ages across the country, to attract snowboarders and freeskiers, promote their development, provide member education, and influence the future of our sports." And speaking of the future of snowboarding, one of our favorite events is set for 1 p.m. today: The Lil' Rascals Rail Jam, for groms 9 and under.
For the full schedule of events this week, visit USASA.org.