2011 U.S. Snowboardcross Team Named
Telluride, CO -The 2011 U.S. Snowboarding Snowboardcross Team was announced Thursday during the Visa U.S. Snowboardcross Cup at Telluride. Spearheading the 15 riders named to the Team are nine Olympians including two-time Olympic champion Seth Wescott, Olympic silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis and six-time snowboardcrossWinter X Games gold medalist Nate Holland.
In all, the U.S. Snowboarding SBXteam includes nine returning Olympians. Joining the crew are several up-and-coming riders with lofty goals, helping push and motivate the veterans as they head into a World Championship year with the FIS World Snowboard Championships to be held in La Molina, Spain this January.
"Over half the riders named to the 2011 U.S. Snowboarding SBX Team are Olympians," said U.S. Snowboarding Director Jeremy Forster. "The knowledge and experience of the veterans combined with the energy and excitement of the rookies will have a great impact on the continued success of our snowboardcross program."
Wescott, of Carrabassett Valley, Maine, is coming into 2011 hot, having successfully defended his 2006 Olympic gold medal, while Squaw Valley, Calif.'s Holland looks to make it six straight in SBX at the Winter X Games in Jan. 27-30 in Aspen, Colo. Vermont's Jacobellis, who clinched two World Cup wins last season, looks to continue the World Cup momentum kicking off the seasons strong in Telluride as well as adding on another "W" to her resume at the X Games.
"After 16 years on tour it turns into a grind and you have to find your own positive mental space to keep feeding the mental motivation to compete. Team members like Westminster College student Graham [Watanabe, of Sun Valley, Idaho] help me truly enjoy my time on tour," said Wescott. "Now, as I continue to gain perspective, I am embracing the role of mentoring the young guys on the team. It gives a greater sense of purpose to helping the team continue our winning ways for the future generation. It all comes full circle at some point and now that I can look towards my final Olympic cycle, it's fun to be taking the young ones under my wings."
Other returning riders include action sports legend Shaun Palmer (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.), half pipe gold medalist Ross Powers (Stratton Mountain, Vt.) and up-and-comers including World Junior runner-up Faye Gulini (Salt Lake City, Utah), 2010 NorAm powerhouse JJ Tomlinson (Park City, Utah) and Brooke Shaw (Litchfield, Conn.), who is making her comeback debut from a sidelining injury suffered in Telluride last year.
"This Team is amazing, the coaches are great and we listen pretty well, so that's why we succeed," said Shaw. "I've been off for two years. But the coaches and everyone at the Center of Excellence in Utah has been helping me train to get me back on snow and it feels amazing. I've never felt this good in my life. I forgot how much I missed it."
With the 2011 season officially underway, the Team is ahead of the curve in terms of training. While Holland was winning the World Cup opener a week ago, other Team members were at a final tune-up camp in Telluride. SBX is a tough sport, forcing the athletes to push the limits on and off the snow. They'll be looking to charge all stops on the World Cup tour especially during the Visa U.S. Snowboardcross Cup this week at Telluride – the lone World Cup on U.S. snow. The Team will be back in the USAFeb. 9-12 for the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Canyons in Park City, Utah.