U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's national competition kicks off in Waterville Valley
WATERVILLE VALLEY — The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's Toyota Revolution Tour kicked off on Sunday at Waterville Valley Resort.
The competition has drawn out about 300 people from around the world to the Granite State and this, for the first time in five years. "It's been five years since the Rev Tour has been on the East Coast," Waterville Valley President and General Manager Tim Smith said. "It's been hard for them to get a venue that would be ready at this point in the season. We stepped up for the challenge and wanted to try it." Smith said that the athletes would need to travel to the West Coast in order to compete so it's nice to finally have the competition back on this side of the country. This year 200 competitors have come to Waterville Valley hoping to get another step closer to the Olympics.
Competitors compete in halfpipe, slopestyle, skicross and big air. The tour is designed to help athletes cross over from competing at the grassroots level to the elite level. "This is a massive competition for these skiers and snowboarders," Smith said. "This is how they earn points to get on the national teams in order to compete towards the Olympics." Top winners may be invited to competitions such as the U.S. Grand Prix, Junior Worlds, USASA Nationals and go to Project Gold Camps. "So all of the competitions that happen this week are stepping stones toward them becoming Olympic athletes," Smith said.
The series is for riders that are 14 to 19 years old.
"You have to be 14 for this competition and I just turned 14," Hunter Henderson from Madbury, NH said. "I'm pretty nervous competing against some of the big dogs out here." Smith and Waterville Valley Academy Free Ski Director Dan Shuffleton say that Henderson is a competitor to keep an eye on. Henderson has also given a TED Talk called, "What it Takes for the Olympics".
Waterville Valley is the second of four stops on the 2017 Toyota Revolution Tour.