First Class to First Tracks
First Ever US Olympic Snowboard Team Named
Women's Team (l to r) Dunn, Taggart and Christy
Monday, February 2, 1998

After years of bureaucratic red tape and a lawsuit that only Friday was dropped, the first US Snowboard Team has been chosen. The format, of three races on US turf, prevailed and, following the Mammoth Grand Prix this weekend, the Americans — eight women and six men, who will unveil the fastest growing sport ever, have received their tickets to Nagano, Japan.

In the men's halfpipe: Ron Chiodi, 24, Stratton Mountain, VT.; Ross Powers, 18, S. Londonderry, VT.; and, Todd Richards, 28, Breckenridge, CO.

In the women's halfpipe: Cara-Beth Burnside, 29, Orange, CA.; Shannon Dunn, 25, Steamboat Springs, CO.; Michele Taggart, 26, Salem, OR.; and, Barrett Christy, 27, Vail, CO.

In the men's giant slalom: Adam Hostetter, 24, Tahoe City, CA.; Mike Jacoby, 28, Hood River, OR.; and Chris Klug, 25, Aspen, CO.

In the women's giant slalom: Rosey Fletcher, 22, Girdwood, AL.; Lisa Kosglow, 24, Boise, Idaho; Betsy Shaw, 32, E. Dorset, VT.; and, Sondra Van Ert, 32, Ketchum, Idaho.

"Now it's official," said Peter Foley, head coach for the team.

Rosey Fletcher became the first Snowboard Olympian when she took first in the GS at Sugarloaf and was second in the GS at Mt. Bachelor .

Riders were chosen based on their two best results in the Grand Prix. The top three riders, according to points, in each event, filled 12 spots. The last two places were chosen by the coaches, with final approval by a five-member selection panel, information provided by the US Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) said. The US is the only country that was able to earn the maximum of 14 spots and is sending its full quota.

On Friday, the lawsuit, pending in a Utah court, which charged the USSA with breach of contract in reneging on its promise to uphold the "18 Point of Agreement," was dropped. According to Snowsports Industries of America (SIA) spokesperson Ali Zaccaroli, a resolution was reached with the USSA. The point that lingers still, though, is the formation of the US Snowboard Team (in non-Olympic years).

SIA and snowboard industry insiders are "really pushing for the individualization of the team," Zaccaroli said. While the USSA believes in the train-together-live-together format employed by the US Ski team, SIA and the industry contends snowboarding and snowboarders don't fit this mold.

"We've agreed to disagree," Zaccaroli said. Meanwhile Dennis Jensen, director of corporate development for Burton Snowboards and Brad Stewart, founder of Bonfire Snowboards (now Salomon/Bonfire), have agreed to work with the USSA to resolve the remaining issues of the Team and its selection. The Grand Prix format will continued to be the selection process in Olympic years.

Zaccaroli said the USSA has agreed to increase its number snowboard specific employees.

The suit was filed July 25 by SIA president, David Ingemie and the rest of a "snowboard task force:" including the Professional Snowboard Association (PSA); manufacturers, Burton; Sims; K2; Morrow; Rossignol; and, Hot & Hammer. The suit charged the USSA (formerly US Ski) of reneging on the "18 Points of Agreement," part of which determined the three-event US Grand Prix would be the only tour necessary to qualify for the Olympic team.

This process was chosen to insure spots on the Olympic team would be open to all riders, regardless of affiliation or current International Ski Federation (FIS) "ranking." Nearly four months after the agreement was signed, the USSA said it would further require athletes to compete in FIS World Cup events in order to gain the FIS points needed to qualify.

This decision to add FIS World Cup events to the selection process, though not the only contention, led to the suit charging "breach of contract." An agreement was subsequently made by the USSA to uphold its agreement concerning the Grand Prix format. — Sarah Love, Mountain Zone Staff

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