PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Opinion

California rambling: Local Olympians

By From page A4 | February 03, 2014

Credit: Sierra at Tahoe Resort

JAMIE ANDERSON

El Dorado County has a lot to cheer about this month, as three local women will be competing for the United States at the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. All three represent the Sierra at Tahoe Resort.

Hannah Teter is the most renowned of the South Lake Tahoe trio of two snowboarders and a freestyle skier, having medaled in major competitions 16 times in her 27 years. At Sochi, she will compete in her third Olympics, having won gold in women’s snowboard halfpipe at Torino, Italy, in 2006 and silver at Vancouver, B.C., in 2010.

Teter began riding at age 8 near her hometown of Belmont, Vt.  She became the quintessential snowboarder, becoming World Junior Halfpipe Champion at 15 and riding on the FIS Snowboard World Cup circuit where she won six gold, one silver and one bronze medal. Teter was an X Games bronze medalist in 2012 and a gold medalist in 2004 both held in Aspen, Colo. She won silver at the 2011 U.S. Open, gold at the 2009 U.S. Grand Prix, gold at the 2009 Australian Open and bronze at the 2005 World Championships.

She rides again on Feb. 12 in Sochi at the Rosa Khutor Resort where she will be competing in what is likely to be her final Winter Olympic Games. Yet, she remains a heavy favorite to win a medal, despite competing in a “stacked” women’s halfpipe field.

Off the slopes, Teter makes her own maple syrup (fellow Vermonters Ben and Jerry created the ice cream flavor “Maple Blonde” in her honor), loves the beach, volunteers for Boarding for Breast Cancer and is described by Fanshare.com — an online personality site — as effervescent, attractive and “just what a company needs in an endorser.”

Teter never capitalized on her success outside the snowboarding community, though Fanshare.com reports that, “now as a more mature business individual she understands how success at the Winter Olympics could place her in the ideal position to make the transition to the next phase of her professional life,” perhaps as a spokes/model associated with sports apparel, cosmetics or an active youth-oriented automobile brand.

Debuting at the XXII Olympic Winter Games are two new sports, each with representatives of El Dorado County: Ladies’ Snowboard Slopestyle and Ladies’ Ski Halfpipe. Slopestyle involves snowboarding down a slope while performing a variety of difficult tricks off its terrain features.

Jamie Anderson describes herself as being “blessed” to have grown up at Lake Tahoe. One of eight children in her family, Anderson with her five sisters and two brothers were home schooled and she said, “were on the mountain almost every day!” She began snowboarding at age 9.

Inspired by the sport, Anderson began competing in U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association events, working her way up through Nationals, Junior Worlds and Vans Triple Crowns to the X Games in which she qualified to compete in at age 13, becoming one of the youngest athlete to compete in the Winter X Games.

Her career achievements include being a gold medalist at world slopestyle competitions, 13 times. She won gold at seven Dew Tour events and was season champion in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Anderson won the U.S. Grand Prix gold medal three times, the 2013 World Cup gold medal, the 2012 Canadian Open gold medal and the 2011 New Zealand Open gold medal, in addition to being ranked first in the Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour in 2011.

Anderson’s first professional win was at 15 years old. That year, she signed her first contract with Billabong.  Oakley, Monster, Widsix and Sierra now also sponsor her, though she singles out Sierra at Tahoe as “supporting her from day one.” At 15, she qualified for X Games slopestyle and won bronze, becoming the youngest X Games athlete to medal. She competes in Slopestyle on Feb. 9.

Among those debuting women’s ski halfpipe will be South Lake Tahoe’s Maddie Bowman. She clinched her spot on the first-ever U.S. Freestyle Team with four podium finishes, including three victories during qualifying rounds.

After U.S. bronze medals in 2010 and 2011, Bowman had a breakout season in 2012, medaling in three World Cup events ( gold in the NorCam Cup championship, gold in the Dew Tour at Killington, Vt. and bronze in the Dew Tour at Snowbasin, Utah). Her freeskiing success continued in 2013 with gold and bronze medals at the X Games and victories at both stops of the VISA U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix.

Bowman comes from a family of athletes. Her father was on the professional ski racing circuit and her mother raced in the USSA’s Far West Division, before coaching. Bowman started skiing at Sierra at Tahoe and after participating in every ski racing program there, became a free skier. An outdoors girl, Bowman rides mountain bikes, hikes, wakeboards and backpacks. She was a member of South Lake Tahoe’s state championship-winning soccer team and now studies at Westminster College. She competes in Ladies’ Ski Halfpipe on Feb. 20.

Other Reno/Tahoe Olympians for whom to root include: fourth-time Olympian Julia Mancuso, Squaw Valley (Downhill, Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super G and Super Combined); Travis Ganong, Squaw Valley (Downhill and Super G); Karly Shorr, Truckee (Snowboard Slopestyle); Nate Holland, Truckee (Snowboardcross); Danny Davis, Truckee (Snowboard Halfpipe); Tim Jitloff, Reno (Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super Combined); Chas Guldemond, Reno (Snowboard Slopestyle); and David Wise, Reno (Freeskiing Halfpipe).

They’ll be riding and sliding to glory in Sochi as we cheer them on to victory at the XXII Olympic Winter Games.  For more about the U.S. Team, visit teamusa.org.

John Poimiroo of El Dorado Hills is a travel writer who specializes in California destinations.

John Poimiroo

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