ASPEN, CO (April 4) – Not even eight inches of fresh snow overnight at Aspen Highlands could slow Adam Smith (Tangent, OR) or Lisa Kosglow (Boulder, CO) from taking the U.S. Championships in slalom Friday from the U.S. Snowboard Finals Powered by Chevy Trucks. Smith’s time of 1:06.16 stood alone as second through fourth were decided by just four hundredths of a second. Hometown hero and Olympic bronze medalist Chris Klug finished third behind Canadian Philippe Berube. Finishing 1.21 seconds back of Kosglow’s time of 1.10.88 was Mount Bachelor winner Stacia Hookom (Edwards, CO) followed by Aimee Newton of Canada.
Action from the U.S. Snowboard Finals Powered by Chevy Trucks will be broadcast April 15 at 4 p.m. EST on ESPN.
Blue bird skies with beaming sun during morning qualifications broke by noon, leaving snow squalls and varying conditions for the riders to negotiate during their second runs. As clouds moved in the snow quickened and a reset of the qualifying course proved to be much faster for the second run.
“The first run was pretty smooth with the sunshine,” said Kosglow. “But when the clouds came in the consistency froze up a little bit and it got pretty chunky, plus there was a lot of flat light so from one gate to the next you could have completely different conditions, but the afternoon was definitely faster.”
With the overall alpine winner still in the balance along with a brand new Chevy S-10 ZR5, a lot depends on Saturday’s parallel giant slalom to see who will win the overall crown and drive home the truck. But for Kosglow, it’s not about the truck.
“Last year I really focused on the truck – it was one of my goals for the season and it didn’t really serve me right,” added Kosglow. “So this year I decided that focusing on the outcome wasn’t a really good way to go into things, so I decided this season to focus on the process. My goal this year was to be national champion and so I’m just trying to ride fast and hopefully that will take care of things.”
For Smith, it may have been a little motivation from head coach Nick Smith, who told him in the start gate that he had nothing to lose. In a race where second through fourth was separated by just one tenth of a second, Jewell ignored tough conditions and virtually straight lined the Thunderbowl slalom for the win.
“After the first run, I was in ninth place, two seconds behind Thorndike and pretty much all I had to do was give it all I could and hope that nothing went wrong and luckily that’s the way it went,” said Jewell. “The course was a lot straighter and faster in the afternoon and fortunately I had a clean run – I’m pretty psyched.”
As Smith explains, the national slalom title is something that the team holds as major bragging rights because there aren’t many slalom races and also because it’s not an Olympic event.
“Among the team, slalom is the coveted title,” said Smith. “I feeling pretty proud to be able to brag all next season that I hold the coveted slalom title.”
Speed events conclude Saturday with PGS beginning at 9:00 a.m. from the Aspen Highlands Thunderbowl, where the overall alpine championship will be awarded along with the Chevy truck. U.S. Snowboarding team riders will then be on hand at 3:30 p.m. at the Chevy Trucks Island Chill Out at the Buttermilk for an autograph session.
U.S. SNOWBOARD FINALS POWERED BY CHEVY TRUCKS
Aspen, CO – April 4
1. Adam Smith, Tangent, OR – 1:06.16
2. Philippe Berube, Canada – 1:06.37
3. Chris Klug, Aspen, CO – 1:06.38
4. Pete Thorndike, Meredith, NH – 106.39
5. Justin Goto, Steamboat Springs, CO – 1:06.55
1. Lisa Kosglow, Boulder, CO – 1:10.88
2. Stacia Hookom, Edwards, CO – 1:11.67
3. Aimee Newton, Canada – 1:13.07
4. Constance Boisvert, Canada – 1:13.19
5. Michelle Gorgone, Sudbury, MA – 1:13.88