WEST DOVER -- Last week, Mount Snow Academy snowboarders returned from their biggest competition of the year, the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association’s National Championships.

"Overall, it was awesome. We had three silvers and a couple of first year competitors cracking top 15," said coach Tom Anderson.

The year-end event was held at Copper Mountain in Colorado, where riders must receive invitations in order to compete.

Max Lyons, who graduated from MSA as well as Brattleboro Union High School this year, won silver in the rail jam for the open men’s division. David McCarthy won silver in halfpipe and slopestyle for the junior division, made up of men ages 16 and 17.

Halfpipe performances from Alex Atno and Bradley Harper were among the biggest surprises for coaches. It was both riders’ first year riding the halfpipe as well as competing in the field.

USASA Southern Vermont Series Director Scott Palmer was assisting organizers at Nationals, where thousands of competitors gather. Some believe that it is the biggest snowboard event in the world in terms of how many participants there are.

The competition provided academy riders with their first time on a 22-foot halfpipe.

"It was enormous and perfect," said Anderson. "The kids really took to it. We had some kids who were there for their first year riding halfpipe and put together their personal best runs of their lives at Nationals."

He told the Reformer that some riders experienced difficulties on the slopestyle course.

There were issues with riders having enough speed to hit the jumps. The weather and snow tends to negatively affect the course. It had happened at Copper in years past.

"You had a dozen to 20 coaches trying to figure out what kind of wax to put on riders’ boards. In some cases it worked, in others, there was nothing that worked," said Anderson. "There were three rails and two jumps, which made it less of an acrobatic fest and more about snowboarding technical prowess."

The features on the rail jam course were technical enough, he explained. It made riders "really show that they could execute maneuvers the right way."

When there was free time, academy riders were able to get out and enjoy some of Colorado’s fresh snow. There were delays for some of the events, which gave them more opportunities to free ride.

The Mount Snow Academy program is now finished for the season. Its riders are back at their home schools across the northeast. They were all invited to join the annual Mount Hood camp that takes place during June and early July. Coaches expect to return to Mount Snow with the same amount or more students next year.

Overall, Anderson believed this season was one of the best ones that the academy’s snowboarding program has ever had. Although, there were difficulties with staffing as one coach was out for a portion of the season.

"The group of kids we had and their character, attitude and approach made it so it was really not too difficult to deal with the adversity we had," said Anderson. "They achieved what was expected of them, if not more."

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.