The U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association kicked off its five-day Collegiate National Championship Tuesday with the men’s Snowboard and Freeski Rail Jam, women’s Alpine Slalom and a 7.5k Classic Nordic race amid heavy snowfall at Mt. Bachelor.
Here's the USCSA's recap of the first day:
Mt Bachelor is serving as host for all events over the five days of exciting competition. Snowfall rates of up to 2 inches per hour made conditions challenging, but the tireless work from Mount Bachelor, the Mount Bachelor Sport Education Foundation (MBSEF), and USCSA volunteers allowed the events to run as scheduled.
A record-breaking 555 collegiate athletes representing 66 universities across six regions will compete in 24 events within a 5-day period. This championship represents the best collegiate athletes from around the country. USCSA has member schools in every geographic region of the United States.
Events include Giant Slalom, Slalom, Dual Slalom, Cross-Country Sprints, Cross-Country Relays, Cross-Country Distance, Slopestyle, Skier Cross, Snowboard Cross, Rail Jam, and Snowboard Giant Slalom.
As the events unfold over next week at Mt Bachelor, please join the USCSA athletes, families and friends in celebrating this pinnacle of collegiate competition by following athlete performance either in person or online at www.uscsa.com, where team and Individual results will be posted daily. Check in daily for live Video and Audio Feeds online at broadcast.uscsa.com.
In the men’s Rail Jam, Sierra Nevada’s freeski team took home a National Championship while Westminster College’s won the snowboard National Championship. Frederick McCarthy was the individual Snowboard Rail Jam National Champion and Rals White was the individual Freeski Rail Jam National Champion, both from Sierra Nevada College. “Even with the challenging weather conditions, the student athletes put on an exciting competition for the snowboard and freeski rail jams,” said Ben Andes, referee for the event.
On the Thunderbird trail, the women opened the Alpine events with two snow filled runs of Slalom. Rocky Mountain College won the day, with their number one seed Frida Svedberg also taking the individual title.
“First of all, I am so proud of all the girls, being able to perform under pressure and under tough conditions,” said Frida. “They all stepped up when needed and there is no better feeling winning together. I am also happy that I was able to pull off two fast runs and bring home one more Slalom victory. It was a tough day out there, but everyone worked hard to make it happen!”
Rocky Mountain College Head Coach Jerry Wolf added, “it was great to see the all the hard work this year paying off. A lot of hard work, training, traveling, racing,- emotional ups and downs. Couldn't be happier about the way my lady Bears came together as one, for the slalom victory! GO BEARS!”
Racing also began at the Nordic venue, with a 7.5k Classic race. The University of Wyoming’s men’s team finished the day in first place, with team member Mason Vincent also winning the individual National Championship. Clarkson University won the Women’s team National Championship in the event, with team member Ana Witkowski taking home the individual title.
Vice President for Nordic and head coach for the University of Wyoming said, “the day was super tough for everyone, but we had some stellar results! Everyone skied really hard and pushed through the incredible blizzard deep snow. The Clarkson women skied extremely well & and the Wyoming men crushed it. The top 10 was so mixed up with so many different teams, it was wonderful!”
USCSA is the only ski and snowboard league where colleges and universities compete and qualify for post-season competition as a team. This emphasis on team performance is a departure from the typical individual or world cup scoring format often found in skiing. Allowing entire teams to qualify for the USCSA Collegiate National Championship also allows for a greater number of competitors to attend the event, with over 230 alpine athletes, 210 freeski and snowboard athletes, and 100 nordic athletes competing this week at Mt Bachelor. Teams began their quest to qualify for the U.S. Collegiate Skiing and Snowboarding National Championship in their local conference competitions, held across 11 conferences spanning the nation, this January. Top teams from each conference attend one of 6 regional championships, which decide who ultimately qualifies to participate in events at the Collegiate National Championship. Results from all events can be found at www.uscsa.com.
“Today was one of the more challenging days to run competition, but with any snowsport events, you run the risk of inclement weather,“ said USCSA President Andy Rangen. “Our partners at Mt Bachelor and our volunteers worked tirelessly to hold our events and all events were held today. The weather will likely continue to be one of our fiercest competitors this week, but we will still crown champions and celebrate the achievements of these wonderful athletes.”
The USCSA is the sports federation for collegiate team ski racing and snowboarding in America. The USCSA believes that student-athletes of all levels and abilities should have access to quality and exciting venues of competition. USCSA athletes agree that our team orientation fosters a collaborative approach across their collegiate athletic and academic careers, and often this mentality proves indispensable in their adult lives and careers. The organization includes 138 colleges from coast to coast, fielding over 4,400 male and female, alpine, freestyle, cross-country, snowboarding and Nordic ski jumping athletes in over 300 events annually.