Author of Story: Lindsey Sine – US Snowboard News/USSA.ORG
Lindsey Jacobellis and home mountain rider Jonathan Cheever took charge of a technical snowboardcross course Saturday, landing a pair of U.S. Championship titles today at the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Park City’s Canyons Resort.
Jacobellis, who achieved fourpeat gold medal at the X Games exactly two weeks ago, was in top form, leading the way through the women’s heats for the win, as well as the U.S. Championship title. Jacobellis’ championship crown adds to the list of her titles, the most recent of which she locked down in 2009. Now, the green jacket and the title of best in the U.S. are both back in her hands.
Both Cheever and Jacobellis were presented the ceremonial Green Jacket, a tradition that awards the annual U.S. Champion with a forest green dinner jacket that says ‘I’m the winner’ in a way befitting of the best SBX athlete in America.
“I lost the championship jacket a couple years ago, so this feels good to have it back, winning in the U.S. is really nice,” Jacobellis said.
According to Jacobellis, she hopes that the Canyons event will give others interest and a push towards competing in her sport.
“If you get interest in a younger demographic then they’ll start wanting to race in it and that just prolongs the life of our sport,” Jacobellis said. “It was really cool that Canyons Resort was hosting our national event with Sprint as our sponsor. We haven’t had one in a couple years, so it’s really nice to have another stop on the Tour and have it be in the U.S. because it’s more TV time and more exposure for all athletes.”
Jacobellis was followed on the podium by French rider Deborah Anthonioz in second, and Utah native Faye Gulini (Salt Lake City) in third. For Gulini, the podium finish was a huge push for her competitive confidence.
“I’m glad I podiumed. I’ve never podiumed at a Grand Prix before,” Gulini said. “It means a lot. The biggest thing for me was qualifying first because now I know I have the ability to beat those girls. Now it’s just getting the power to actually go for it in a race or get that pull.”
Now on to the men. In a stacked field, Cheever kept it consistent pushing his way from round to round in front of a home mountain crowd that included his parents. With a facial scrape sustained in the prior day’s qualifications, Cheever was happy to take second and, as the top U.S. athlete, the U.S. crown.
For Cheever, the win was equally as huge due to the depth of the competitors he was up against, as well as the technicality of the course.
“I’m just pumped to get the national champion title at my home mountain. My parents flew here to see me so that makes it a little sweeter. We have a lot of racing left in the season so this is a good way to carry me through the rest of the year,” Cheever said.
“It means a lot. It was a stacked podium, former World Champion, Olympic bronze medalist and an X Games silver medalist. So, to compete with those guys is great,” Cheever said. “This course is so fast so the scrub of speed is almost strategic if you go 100 percent into a feature you really risk blowing up. I knew where to dump the speed and stay on my feet so that was my strategy all day.”
The men’s podium was topped by Canadian Kevin Hill, and Austria’s own Markus Schairer was third.
Sprint will be adding a fan element to the mix. Fans at the race can send in their pictures of epic moments at Canyons Resort to www.sprintepicmoments.com and have the chance to win a free phone from Sprint.
The Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix will wrap up March 4-5 at Mammoth Mountain, CA with both a halfpipe and slopestyle.
Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Canyons Resort
Park City, UT – Feb. 12, 2011
1. Lindsey Jacobellis, Stratton Mountain, VT
2. Deborah Anthonioz, France
3. Faye Gulini, Salt Lake City
4. Chloe Banning
5. Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, Girdwood, AK
7. Jenna Feldman, Linwood, NJ
8. Kristen Harvey, Truckee, CA
1. Kevin Hill, Canada
2. Jonathan Cheever, Saugus, MA
3. Markus Schairer, Austria
4. Tony Ramoin, France
5. Jayson Hale, Sierraville, CA
6. Kevin Leahy, Yarmouth, ME
7. Mick Dierdroff, Steamboat Springs, CO
8. Graham Watanabe, Sun Valley, ID