Upon their return, TSSC head snowboard coach Dylan Cooney had one word to describe the team’s overall performance at this high-level, season-ending event: “Amazing.”
“It was the best performance Telluride has ever had” at a Nationals event, Cooney said, pointing to Telluride’s flurry of medal-winning runs throughout the course of the five-day contest.
“All of these kids did a phenomenal job,” he said, noting that as a team, Telluride far out-placed the majority of other, often much-larger teams representing other resorts from around the country.
Telluride garnered some good attention from the national snowboarding community thanks in part to Telluride’s best-known snowboarding brood, the Cooneys. Molly Cooney was literally on fire all week long, claiming gold in four of five events. She swept her field of nearly 30 other women in halfpipe, slopestyle, slalom, and giant slalom, and took fifth in boardercross. She easily won the title of top woman overall in the five combined events.
Molly, who competes in the women’s Jams (age 18-22) age class, had not had a regular presence in the competitive snowboarding circuit this winter, opting instead to spend many of her weekends coaching alongside her older brother Dylan at TSSC. Yet her lack of time in starting gates this winter apparently didn’t slow this Telluride-bred boarder in the slightest, as she tackled Copper Mountain’s perfectly manicured terrain park, Olympic-sized halfpipe, and meticulously groomed racecourses with gusto.
“She was killing it in practice, and I think she really just wanted to take as much advantage of those phenomenal facilities as possible,” brother and co-coach Dylan said of her performance at the 2011 National Championships.
Youngest brother Beecher Cooney wasn’t left out of the winner’s spotlight either, blazing into second place in the ultra-competitive Junior Men’s (age 16-17) division in halfpipe. This is in spite of this young competitor having very little training time in halfpipes this winter, owing to Telluride’s lack of a halfpipe this ski season.
“His division is competitively one of the hardest-hitting age groups there is,” Dylan said. “It’s made up of all the up-and-coming guys in the industry… and Beecher was right in there with them.”
Beecher’s proficiency in the other disciplines earned him second place overall in the combined event rankings.
Other Telluride rider Lucas Foster cranked up the intensity in the Menehune (age 10-11) boys age division for the slopestyle event, launching to eighth place.
“Watching his run you could tell that all the training and fundamentals he’d learned since last year just clicked. He definitely had the best style out there,” Coach Cooney said of Foster’s slopestyle run. Foster came in 12th overall in his division’s combined rankings.
Sarah Miller (whose older sister Fern made her World Cup debut at the parallel giant slalom competition in Telluride in December) finished out a season burdened by injury with a healthy seventh place finish in GS for the Junior Women (age 16-17) division.
Grommit (aka 8-9 year old division competitor) Peter Danner showed up to his first-ever Nationals event wide-eyed, but ready to throw down: He took seventh place in slopestyle, and eighth in halfpipe.
“He was pretty overwhelmed by the whole experience… his performance was impressive, especially considering how big the park and pipe were compared to how tiny a kid his age is,” Dylan said.
Other Telluride competitors who qualified for Nationals and flew the TSSC flag last week at Copper included Noah Perkovich, Jack Clark, and Hobie Plumber. All told, the eight local riders whose season-long performances earned them spots on the Nationals start list made up the biggest team of Telluride snowboarders to qualify for Nationals that Cooney can remember. “I’m hoping this strong showing at Nationals will boost our local program even more,” Cooney said.