A culmination of winter free ski and snowboarding events takes place this weekend at the USA Snowboard and Freeski Association 2021 Pacific Northwest Regional Championship at Mt. Hood Meadows.
A series of eight competitions were held this winter at Mt. Hood. A typical competition hosts between 50-70 athletes, age 7-18. The top three in each age group from each discipline and each series qualified for regionals.
Leslee (Olson) Schader, former professional snowboarder, is the co-director of the USASA Mt. Hood Series. She said instead of a national competition this year (because of COVID) the top USASA ski and snowboard talent from the Northwest will gather at Mt. Hood Meadows. She said athletes are expected to come from Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Included in the field are some of the top nationally ranked skiers and snowboarders, competing for the regional title.
Entrants include local teams such as the Cooper Spur Freeride Team and the Mt. Hood Meadows Freeride Team. Schader said on Thursday, Sean Fitzsimons, US Snowboard Team member and Hood River resident, is scheduled to be at the competition.
The USASA events often are springboards for local skiers and boarders to national competition. Schader started out competing in USASA at age 11 and went on to win an event in X-Games 2000.
This weekend’s schedule starts with the boarder/skier cross competition on Thursday, followed by slopestyle competition Friday, halfpipe competition Saturday and Sunday’s rail jam.
Among the Gorge area competitors expected to compete are Emmett Durow of The Dalles, ranked No. 1 in 7-10 boys rail jam; Emily Durow of The Dalles, ranked No. 2 in 7-10 girls rail jam; and Seth Ingersoll of Hood River, ranked No. 2 in 7-10 boys rail jam.