Jacobs, Lawton Claim USASA Nationals Slopestyle Titles
Day two of freeski week competition at the 2019 USASA National Championships went down in a big way on Monday, with three of the four groups in action and the Open class riders taking to the pro line of Copper Mountain’s terrain park for slopestyle competition, where Riley Jacobs (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) and Emerson Lawton (Traverse City, Mich.) claimed this season’s titles in a heavy-hitting event.
Jacobs came into the women's slopestyle competition fresh off a bronze medal from Sunday’s Open class halfpipe event, and the freeski triple threat (she also placed fifth in the Open class rail jam) put down another strong performance on a Copper slopestyle course that got somewhat tricky to ride as the day went on under the hot spring sun.
Representing the Rocky Mountain Series, 15-year-old Jacobs earned her winning run score of 82.33 with a switch 540, into a flatspin 360, and then a right-side 720 safety through the jump line, before she finished things off with railslide backside 270 off, railslide, and railslide frontside 270 off through the bottom rail section.
“It was really good today, really fun,” Jacobs said, smiling after receiving her gold medal at the awards ceremony, “The speed was a little slow in the end, but we waxed my skis every run and I was just tucking into every jump to get enough speed. It was a lot of fun today and really nice to be out the with all the other girls, and it’s cool to win.”
Behind Jacobs was Marea Adams (Truckee, Calif.) of the North Tahoe Series, earning a score of 72.66 and the silver medal for her efforts, while Sunday’s Open class halfpipe champion Hanna Faulhaber (Carbondale, Colo.) switched places with Jacobs for the slopestyle contest, finishing the day with the bronze.
It was the men who started off the competition day, hitting the slopes for practice early in the morning and wrapping things up just after noon, and in that time they would have seen nearly 20 degrees in temperature change - presenting a challenge for even the most powerful riders in the field. Lucky for Lawton, he was able to get his work done quickly, stomping a dizzying array of tricks in his first of two runs.
Starting things off with a switch double cork 900, Lawton then went into a right-side double 1080, and then a massive left-side double 1260 through the jump line, followed by a switch 270 on continued 270 off, right 270 on continued 270 off, and switch right 270 to pretzel 270 out on the rails, earning himself a score of 93.33 and the gold.
“It was a real early start and a little scary and hard out there first thing in the morning,” said 18-year-old Lawton, who is representing the Rocky Mountain Series. “And then for finals, the conditions were changing and there were speed differences and all that, but I put down a run and ended up on top. It’s nice that they’re bringing out a little more prize money now to maybe push everyone a little more, but my goal is always just to make finals and then see what happens from there. Today it went well.”
Behind Lawton in second was 15-year-old Charlie Gnoza (Park City, Utah) out of the Southern Vermont Series, whose score of 89.00 would give him the silver, while the New Hampshire Series’ Brian Gardner (Jay, N.Y.) would earn bronze with a score of 87.33.
There is no doubt that the USASA National Championships is the premier grassroots season culmination event. Stay tuned as competition continues throughout the week and future Olympians continue to progress and foster their competitive spirit through competition and community.