DOVER -- When it comes to southern Vermont, there is no shortage of talent in snowboarding competitions.
Starting on March 30, several young snowboarders will be traveling to Colorado to compete in the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association National Championships at Copper Mountain, which will be held through April 5.
Every single snowboarder that attends the Mount Snow Academy was invited to this competition, making their coaches very proud.
"We're just really excited for these five kids and that the whole team qualified," said Mount Snow Academy Coach Tom Anderson. "We should be walking out of Nationals with a podium or two or three. They've been really focusing on putting their runs together and it seems they're ready to go."
Although all of the riders were invited, only five will be attending.
Max Lyons, who had just taken second place at the professional rail jam at the Vermont Open, is ready to compete in halfpipe, slopestyle and a rail jam. He said it felt "really good" to be standing on the podium next to first place winner Shaun Murphy.
"I feel pretty confident with the great coaching we get and I feel pretty good about how I'm riding," said Lyons. "And I feel good about how I can do at Nationals."
Although he had received second place in the halfpipe competition at the USASA National Championships last year, Lyons still felt the least confident about halfpipe.
"It's kind of ironic," said Anderson.
Ryan Gormley, another Mount Snow Academy student, told the Reformer he has been preparing for this event. This is his first year competing in halfpipe.
"I've been training hard," he said. "The coaches make us hike the pipe, which isn't exactly fun. We'll spend days walking up the pipe then riding down."
Gormley thought he probably took eighth place in the amateur division of the Vermont Open's halfpipe competition. Only the top three places were posted after the event.
"I'm definitely ready to go out there and try to land my run and see where that takes me," he said.
Ali Hsueh is going to be competing in the slopestyle and halfpipe competition. She received attention earlier this year for landing a 540 degree spin at one of the USASA Regional halfpipe competitions. Hsueh is confident in her skills.
"I'm real excited," she said. "I've been invited other years, but this is my first time going out."
Over the past year, Hsueh has competed in five slopestyle events and four halfpipe events. She thought it helped to train at Mount Snow.
"We have a great park and there's other people you can watch to push you," said Hsueh. "It's just a good environment to be in."
Anderson mentioned that Mount Snow has the best terrain park in the east and the Mount Snow Academy's small ratio of riders to coaches.
"We have a real family atmosphere," he said. "They feed off each other. It's one of the best places in the east to be, for sure."
Both Sari Richards and David McCarthy, also from the Mount Snow Academy, will be attending the National Championships as well. They will be competing in all three events -- halfpipe, slopestyle and the rail jam.
Anderson told the Reformer that throughout the years, Mount Snow Academy has had students consistently win medals at the USASA National Championships.
"The goal for all of them is to do their personal best runs at Nationals," said Anderson. "We're aiming at personal best and see where that lands them."
Lyons said the competition is "really just about winning."
Hsueh and Richards will be competing in breaker girls, which is the division made up of 12- and 13-year-olds.
Gormley will be competing in the division of youth men, which is made of 14- or 15-year-olds, while Lyons and McCarthy will be in junior men, which is 16- and 17-year-olds.
Another local snowboarder, Storm Rowe, 12, of Jamaica, is also going to compete at the USASA National Championships.
He has just been recruited by the Carinthia Park Team at Mount Snow and trains with the American Snowboard Trainer Center. They train at Mount Snow, Monday through Friday.
Two years ago, Storm and his brother Casper had won at National Championships. Storm won gold and Casper won silver for boardercross.
Last year, Storm got first place in boardercross, second place in slopestyle and second place in halfpipe.
Storm had been injured this year, so he missed a few slopestyle competitions but still finished fourth in the country.
At the USASA National Championships, Storm will be competing in the rail jam, halfpipe and slopestyle events.
"He plans on being on the podium for at least one of them," said Lynne Rowe, Storm's mother.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.