DOVER -- Although Mount Snow Academy coach Tom Anderson says the last few weeks were rather slow, three of his students are now qualified to compete for $15,000.
On Feb. 15, they traveled to Mountain Creek, New Jersey, for Volcom Stone's Peanut Butter and Rail Jam. The snow did not let up throughout the event.
Ryan Gormley took second place in the 16 to 21 year old division. Max Lyons took third place in the open division, and Bradley Harper took fourth in 15 and under.
Now, they are qualified for this year's Peanut Butter and Rail Jam Championships at Mammoth, Calif., in late April.
This weekend, academy snowboarders are competing at Okemo for different United States of America Snowboard Association events within the Southern Vermont Series.
Anderson told the Reformer that the past few weeks were spent training.
"There was a lot of snow. We've been able to have some fun free riding and the half pipe has been open for a month," he continued. "It's super well-built and maintained. It's a shame we aren't hosting any pipe events in such a great pipe. It's the best in Vermont by far."
The students have watched former MSA athletes such as Kelly Clark, Devin Logan and Eliza Outtrim compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics. With several weeks left in the season, they are preparing for the USASA Nationals event that is in March and by invite only.
"We're coming down to the homestretch," said Anderson. "Right now, we're feeling pretty confident that all our kids are going to get invites to Nationals in the events they've chosen to participate in."
Those events include slopestyle, halfpipe and rail jams. Each USASA event is an opportunity for the students to earn points and the rankings for Nationals are constantly updated on USASA.org.
Ali Hsueh is currently at first place in the 14 to 15 year old women's slopestyle division.
"They are all pretty high," said Anderson. "After Okemo, we'll really know exactly where they stand. The consensus is that we should qualify our entire program."
On March 1, the Mount Snow Academy invites the public to attend its annual gala and benefit.
"A Hot Party On A Cold Night: Mardi Gras in Vermont" will be held at the academy or the Mount Snow Ski Club building next to the base lodge. The doors open at 7 p.m. and there is an open bar from then until 8:30 p.m. There will be silent and live auctions with live music and dancing. The proceeds benefit MSA student athlete scholarships and program enhancements.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.