Top snowboarders headed back to Seven Springs

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The Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Qualifiers and the U.S. Revolution Tour will return next winter for the third consecutive time to Seven Springs, the only Pennsylvania resort to host national competitions.

The qualifiers feature 150 of “the best amateur snowboarders from North America, Europe and Japan,” said Eric Mauck, chief executive officer of Seven Springs and Hidden Valley. The first three women and top six men in halfpipe and slopestyle advanced to the U.S. Open in Vail, Colo.

Taylor Gold, who won the men’s halfpipe last year at Seven Springs, made his Olympic debut last month at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He just won the men’s U.S. Open halfpipe competition in Vail.

Mauck said Seven Springs “has become a leader in the snow sports industry by hosting these two national competitions, developing and innovating freestyle and snowboarding and by creating the only Olympic-size halfpipe on the East Coast.”

After noting that Gold’s route to the Olympics “passed through Seven Springs,” Mauck said this year’s qualifiers at the resort “could have been the starting ground for our country’s next Winter Olympians.”

The U.S. Revolution Tour, which immediately followed the qualifiers, featured the best junior freestyle skiers and snowboarders in halfpipe and slopestyle.

“[It] serves as a steppingstone for athletes making the transition from competing at the grassroots level to the elite level,” Mauck said.

The top winners are invited to compete at the U.S. Grand Prix, Junior Worlds, the U.S. Open and USASA Nationals and to participate in Project Gold camps.

Both the qualifiers and the tour competitions were held at The Spot, the resort’s four-acre terrain park and the site of its Olympic-size halfpipe.

The venue is one of the resort’s seven terrain parks, the smallest of which, the Burton Pirates Riglet Park, is designed for children ages 4 to 8.

Also returning next winter to Hidden Valley will be the annual Special Olympics Pennsylvania Winter Games. Approximately 175 skiers from Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia competed this year in giant slalom time trials, giant slalom and super-G.

“It was a tremendous honor to welcome the Special Olympians to Hidden Valley,” Mauck said.

“[We] look forward to continuing that tradition and doing everything we can to support this event, the athletes and the overall mission of Special Olympics Pennsylvania.”

For the third consecutive year, members of the Wounded Warrior Patrol were the special guests of the Nutting family last month at Seven Springs. Twelve soldiers and their families were treated to a resort getaway that included skiing, snowboarding, lessons, spa treatments and celebratory dinners.

“Our partnership with the Wounded Warrior Patrol gives us an opportunity to honor our country’s soldiers and their families for their service and sacrifice,” Mauck said. “We take great pride in our partnership with the Wounded Warrior Patrol and are humbled by the incredible support they offer to the warriors, spouses, caregivers and children.

“Each family is a special guest of the resort and it is important to us that they leave with a wonderful new memory of the time they spent together at Seven Springs.”

Splish, splash season pass

The costumed winners of the 12th annual Pond Skim competition last Saturday at Seven Springs, each of whom won a 2014-15 season pass, were:

Best Skim: Chris Cservak, attired as a lumberin’ lumberjack; Best Splash: Bryan Zimmerman as Batman; Best Costume: Mike Ambrocik as Mr. Bear.

Runners-up in those respective categories, and winners of a 2014-15 midweek season pass, were Nicholas Eremic as Uncle Sam; Steven Raffa as Patrick Swayze; and Brian Mazzariello as Ron Burgundy.

Congratulations to all.

Larry Walsh writes about recreational snow sports for the Post-Gazette.

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