The Tech Ski and Snowboard team left Lubbock this past Friday at 3:00 pm to compete in the USASA Angelfire, NM, Ski Cross/Boarder Cross, Southwest Freeride Series regional competition! Try saying that 5 times fast! This was the first Tech Ski and Snowboard Team competition in the history of the 4-year-old organization. As such, the fact that 3 out of 4 competitors came home with medals is absolutely fantastic!
Saturday - Competition Day 1:
Upon arriving at the mountain, we got our first view of the course. Most of us had never seen a ski cross/boarder cross course so looking up at some of the features was very intimidating. The course started off with two rollers leading into a hole shot, which thinned out the competition considerable for the rest of the course. The rest of the course consisted of a lot rollers, 4 more banked terms, a table top, and a large jump at the end. After an initial slip-through to look over the course, the practice runs began at 50% speed.
Watching people go down the course, we could see immediately what the problem spots were going to be. For the snowboarders, it was the tabletop. Many of the boarders caught and edge on top of the feature, falling down the downhill side with one, young boarder breaking his wrist before the competition even started! For the skiers, it was the 4th berm - a tight, narrow, 90 degree turn in one of the fastest sections of the course.
After the practice runs and time trials, the real fun began. In the boarding semi-finals, Gabriel Schlechte advanced to the final round while Austin Nettleton washed out on the table top, missing his shot at finals. In the final round, Gabriel came out in 4th overall. In the skiing finals, it was a very close race to the finish. Patrick Gres came in 2nd place and was closely followed by Charles Hicks.
Sunday - Competition Day 2:
During a practice run, Austin Nettleton was taken out of the competition due to a pre-race injury. Thankfully, he has fully recovered and will be competing in the February 6-7 competition in Crested Butte, CO! Gabriel Schlechte advanced to the finals after placing 3rd in his semi-final competition. During the final round, the boarders were practically neck and neck until the tabletop! At the tabletop, two of the boarders wiped out, allowing Gabriel to pull ahead and come home with a 2nd place medal! For the Ski Cross finals, the results were a repeat of yesterday with Patrick Gres coming in at 2nd place and Charles Hicks at 3rd.
Overall the the Tech Ski and Snowboard Competition Team came home with 5 medals:
During the Crested Butte competition, we will all be going for gold.