Riders take on superpipe

SOS snowboarding series continues today in the park

Emily Robinson snowboards seven days a week. She goes to Steamboat Springs High School an hour early every day so she can get out at 11:45 a.m. to ride the rest of the day. And it never gets old, she says.

"I feel like I've gotten better in the last couple of months, and I just want to keep getting better," she said.

The 15-year-old freshman represented Steamboat Springs in the SOS Snowboard Outreach Series, awing crowds with grab tricks and 360-degree spins in the Mavericks Superpipe at the Steamboat Ski Area.

Like many riders in the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Robinson competed in boardercross events at Copper Mountain on Friday and came back to Steamboat for the halfpipe competition Saturday. Today, the riders will be competing in SOS slopestyle competition in the SoBe Terrain Park.

Several will do it all over again next weekend in Vail, said Winter Sports Club snowboard coach Kevin "Cactus" Nemec.

Nemec said the Winter Sports Club's training program -- coupled with the home-pipe advantage -- gave Steamboat riders an edge over the competition, which came from Denver, Boulder, Vail, Copper Mountain and other parts of the West.

"I wish I had something like this when I was a kid," Nemec said about the Winter Sports Club. "No other club in the country has a program like this with a big mountain for riding during the day and after-dark training in the lights at Howelsen. We are very fortunate."

Charlie Peddie has trained with the Winter Sports Club five of the seven years he has been riding, and now he competes in about 20 events per year. The 14-year-old said he knew most of the riders in Saturday's competition and knew what to expect.

"I'm just now getting back to where I was last year with tricks, but I'm also learning new things," Peddie said.

The SOS Snowboard Outreach Series event, which was the first halfpipe event in the competition series, is a fund-raiser for the SOS Snowboard Outreach Series, SOS coordinator Andy Poole said.

"The event went really well," Poole said, noting 76 people participated in Saturday's halfpipe competition. "When you have 6- and 7-year-olds getting to the top of 17- to 18-feet walls, it's pretty impressive."

The 15-event SOS series is the largest amateur series in the United States and acts as one of the main outlets for competitive snowboarders between the ages of 6 and 50 in the Rocky Mountain Region. The series has hosted six Alpine events this winter, but Saturday's event was the first halfpipe of the year.

In the series, riders can compete in slalom, giant slalom, halfpipe, slopestyle and boardercross events. Top finishers can earn berths in the U.S. Amateur Snowboarding Association Nationals, which will be held in Angel Fire, N.M., from March 21 to 27.

Several riders said the competition series helps them prepare for the national competition.

Registration for today's events is from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., and competition begins at 11 a.m.

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