Thursday July 11, 2013
Nine year-old Ava Hamme from South Burlington had a great run at the 24th annual United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) Championships held March 31-April 4 at Cooper Mountain in Colorado. Ava posted a sixth place finish in Boarder Cross and a seventh in the Slalom competition earning top ten finishes in two of the three events in which she competed. She also finished an impressive 11th place in Giant Slalom, which was the third event for which she had qualified. Hamme participated in the Grommet age group (age 8-9). To gain a start at the USASA Nationals, competitors had to qualify for an invitation in any or all of six disciplines which are divided into two classifications – Alpine (Slalom, Giant Slalom and BoarderCross) and Freestyle (Halfpipe, Slope Style, and Rail Jam). Invitations were handed out in mid-March based on season-long point standings earned through event participation in any of 31 regions across the United States. Hamme, who participates in the Northern Vermont Region (events are held at Jay Peak, Smugglers Notch, Stowe and Sugarbush) was one of just 18 girls in her age group nation-wide to receive an invitation to the USASA Nationals.
When asked whether attending such a large competition was a nerve-wracking experience, the young competitor answered, “This was my second trip to Nationals. I went last year as well. I get nervous competing against girls I don’t know, but it’s fun to meet new people my age who snowboard.” She added that she has been snowboarding for four years, “which is about half of my life!”
The three events Ava participated in are in the Alpine discipline. She commented, “I enjoy the alpine events because I can go fast and BoarderCross is fun because I can go fast with a pack of friends.” BoarderCross is contested with up to six competitors on the course at the same time. The entire group travels down the mountain negotiating jumps, banked turns and other features.
With strong performances in just her second trip to Nationals it appears that young Ava Hamme could be headed toward earning a title herself in the very near future.